Peter Stein on rehearsals for “The Birthday Party” at the Almada Festival 2023

Peter Stein (l) with Festival artistic director Rodrigo Francisco during a talk
about The Birthday Party. Photo credit: Axel Hörhager.


DR Could you describe the rehearsal process for “The Birthday Party”?

PS I have a property in Umbria, 170 hectares; I purchased it in 1996 and later on, in the forest, I built a large rehearsal space with guest rooms so that actors can live there. During the preparation for The Birthday Party, we stayed for six weeks. Ahead of time, we carefully controlled the translation so as to get as close as possible to what Pinter intends to say with his script– especially to render the jokes and humour as authentically Italian. During the six weeks, we were already using the costumes and set. Then we had two public performances right there in my rehearsal space. After that, we toured Italy for six months – Rome, Venice, Trieste, Torino, Bologna, everywhere.

DR Is this your final production in Italy as has been reported?

PS Next year, with the very same cast, we will be doing Chekhov one-act plays.

Translated from German.