When are things not things?

Can you create a theater piece without people? That is the question from prolific German composer and director Heiner Goebbels and his longtime collaborating designer, Klaus Grünberg. Their answer, Stifter’s Dinge, was born in the works of a 19th-century landscape painter and novelist.

"...Magician that he is, Goebbels manipulates everything (even the “peopled” elements) to become Stifter’s “dinge,” those non-human protagonists with a visceral life. He plays with time, expectations and perception, and through forced observation and personal response, the audience experiences philosophy made tangible.

Though Stifter’s Dinge is filled with apparatus and technical wizardry, this evening is also strangely un-mechanized and anthropomorphic. Because the hand of the creator is so evident at every point, in some ways it’s as far from mechanical as you can get. And as the show progresses, part of you wants it to come to some visual and dramatic conclusion. But part of you wants to stay in Goebbels’s mysterious world without end...."

Gail Obenreder
BroadStreetReview.com (US), 8 September 2018