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Agog at Goethe

Stephen Brown in Berlin celebrates 20 hours of peerless Peter Stein

By Stephen Brown   June 2001

upon hearing the first few lines of Goethe’s Faust, I was disappointed to realise that I could not understand what was being said. This was a cruel blow at the start of a theatrical marathon that was to last some 20 hours over two days. (At over 13 hours of performance time, it is nearly 50 per cent longer than Peter Hall’s Tantalus.) Peter Stein, Germany’s most revered director, had chosen to stage Goethe’s awkward masterpiece uncut. We had some 12,111 lines ahead of us (the longest text of Hamlet is 3,800 lines).

I had always known that my rusty…

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