Fake blood and potato salad. When the two meet, you quickly end up by name on the theatrical stage. Frank Castorf, the former boss of Berliner Volksbühne, will be 70 today, Saturday. He deeply marked the history of the theater. But what makes it so fascinating? And why the hell are the Castorfs …

Fake blood and potato salad. When the two meet, you quickly end up by name on the theatrical stage. Frank Castorf, the former boss of Berliner Volksbühne, will be 70 today, Saturday. He deeply marked the history of the theater. But what makes it so fascinating? And why on earth are Castorf’s performances always so long?

The New York Times just described his style. As a theater guest you know what to expect in Castorf. Castorf dismantles classics and mixes them with other texts, making his actors roar from immense passages in the auditorium. The “Stückezerrümmerer” offers a performance the length of a marathon. The productions can last a good five or six hours. Or longer.

Castorf was born in East Berlin in 1951. After studying theater, he worked for example in Senftenberg and Anklam. Later he also performed in West Germany. In 1992 he was appointed artistic director of the Berliner Volksbühne and shortly after his house was named Theater of the Year.

He was one of the first to work with video cameras. Quite a sensation at the time. Video technology has been able to take viewers to hidden corners of the stage. Castorf still does this today, it creates another closeness to the audience, he says.

Castorf led the Volksbühne for 25 years. When his successor was chosen for the famous theater at Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, part of the audience protested.

Castorf has let off steam in other houses. For example, he played at the Berliner Ensemble. It was only recently that the premiere of “Fabian or the Dog Walk” was celebrated by Erich Kästner. The scene screams, spits and the piano is played. And a woman’s hand ends up in the meat grinder. Many of Castorf’s trademarks can be found in production, the “New York Times” found. But they felt “like old hat”. So does provocation no longer provoke? Do you know Castorf now?

The director of the Berliner Ensemble, Oliver Reese, opposes it with a different point of view. After the premiere, he spoke to viewers who hadn’t seen so many Castorf productions in their lives. “The result was very different from the soap opera’s occasional debate over whether the old master – from his 70th birthday deserved that honorary title, and there isn’t so much anymore – hadn’t long since been knocked off the pedestal by the younger generation. “

An extremely vital and very musical dramatic theater has been described, which, especially after the survival of the epidemic waves, makes tangible all the power of the live performance – “and simply overwhelms it with the use of the most glorious boulevard and the storm Knotty SMS “. “So Frank Castorf turns 70?” Reese writes. “With Bob Dylan, that means ‘Endless Ride’ … Congratulations!” Dpa