The Dog, The Night and The Knife at M2 Gallery
A Man, M, is alone on a street. Lost. He doesn’t know where he is. Someone approaches him and tries to devour him. So begins a terrifying night for M. No matter where he runs, he encounters the same faces trying to eat him. This will be brought to life by new indie theatre company, the Other Theatre. Rosie spoke with actor Samantha Lambert about playwright Marius von Mayenburg and the experience of taking on multiple characters over the course of this provocative story. Read the full interview below:
The Dog, The Night and The Knife is written by Marius von Mayenburg, one of Germany’s most widely produced playwrights. Why do you think Mayenburg’s work is so popular, and how does his unique voice present itself in this particular play?
I believe Von Mayenburg is widely produced because his works are bold. He does not write naturalistic pieces, instead he writes poetic, shocking and cold plays. The Village Voice compares Von Mayenburg’s writing to the “…elegant postmodernism of Caryl Churchill and the brutal poetry of Sarah Kane”, and this is captured in The Dog, The Night and The Knife through emotionally detached characters.
The Dog, The Night and The Knife is one of Marius von Mayenburg’s lesser known plays. Why do you think this story has been brought to Sydney, and for those unfamiliar with his work, what can they expect from this production?
Our wonderful director, Eugene, came across this script online, hoping to read something ‘very different’. And I think that’s why it’s in Sydney – it’s so different to the kind of theatre usually performed in Sydney. For those unfamiliar with Marius’ work, you can expect this show to be dark, very strange, and spontaneously funny.
Each of Mayenburg’s plays has been translated from German to English in order to reach a wider audience across the world. How do you think the uniquely German jokes and way of speaking will translate to an English-speaking audience? Have you faced any challenges working with this translation?
Luckily, we haven’t had any challenges with the translation; it translates well. If anything, I would say that the translation presents a different perspective on the English language and how it is interpreted in other languages. The humor in this play is certainly universal.
The Dog, The Night and The Knife is a provocative exploration of a struggle for power expressed through the lens of Mayenburg’s classic existentialist theater. Why is this concept relevant to a 2019 audience, and why is the existentialist lens a beneficial way to explore this concept?
I think an existentialist lens perfectly captures how people feel about current power struggle. Without being too political, there are several authorities making questionable decisions. This links into Von Mayenburg’s voice as he portrays authority figures as foreign to humanity and juxtaposes this with human beings, represented by the outsider, M.
You’re part of an ensemble of three actors who play over 10 roles. What has your process been like in developing each of these characters separately, and how does having only three actors play all the characters serve the play?
Thomas Burt and I play a variety of strangers in this violent world and developing each character has certainly been a welcome challenge! I developed some of the characters through text exploration, some through physical and vocal exercises and some through their connection with M (Tom Crotty). As Tom B and I play all strangers in M’s surreal journey, the concept of strangers with familiar faces further displaces the human within an inhumane world.
RAPID FIRE QUESTIONS:
Favourite production you have ever seen?
Pinocchio (Little Eggs Collective)
You’re getting on a plane tomorrow and you can go anywhere in the world, where do you go?
Dream show/role to perform?
Plays or musicals?
Plays… for now.
A hobby you have beyond the theatre?
What’s next for you after this show?
The Tempest (Fingerless Theatre)
The Dog, The Night and The Knife opens at the M2 Gallery in Surry Hills on March 28 2019. You can get your tickets here.