Ophelia's death in the river is the prefiguration of the downfall of an entire family. In the Bochum staging of Hamlet by Johan Simons, Gina Haller does not go into the water in tears because her father has been murdered and she has been cast out by her lover. She tries to get the melancholy prince, who is played by a woman in the Bochum production, to entertain lighter thoughts, and it is only after her attempts to lure him to run away with her prove futile that she leaves for the river banks. At times Sandra Hüller's Hamlet has a brother in Ophelia: with a shaven head and a white dress worn over her black suit trousers - two actresses playing a modern couple. Mentally, Ophelia is more stable than Hamlet and Gina Haller reacts to his exhortation 'Get thee to a nunnery ...' with concern for Hamlet. We do not see the transformation of the kitsch icon from beholden maiden to madwoman; instead, we see a grown woman who employs empathy and humour an equal footing with Hamlet, Laertes and Polonius, partly reciting the lines of Horatio, who doesn't exist in this performance. The death of Ophelia, dragged under the water by the weight of her clothing, a consequence of gravity, is more an accident than suicide. A banal coincidence as today's cause of death. She herself conveys the news of her death. lt is reason that turns Ophelia into a spectator of what befalls her.

In another Bochum production by Johan Simons, Gina Haller plays the role of Sasha in Anton Chekhov's Ivanov. Together with Jens Harzer as Ivanov, we experience Chek­hov's torn love affair. Ivanov, the self-confident user of emotion with the diminished social appetite of a man dec­ades older, meets the daughter from the neighbouring estate, who has only just outgrown childhood. With reada­ble clarity, Gina Haller captures the energy of transforma­tion and breaking free embodied by this amour fou. She loves with a view to the future, against the current state of the world. The more she understands how to overwhelm her object, the more passionate her love becomes. Thus she is already a widow an the day of her wedding, when lvanov shoots himself before her very eyes. 

Gina Haller's Sasha rejects all profane expectations of suffering and, in the female sense of self-awareness as an example for future role models, points to female figures by Vladimir Nabokov and Isaac Singer: Love as yearning for departure.

For the jury: Johannes Schütz

< back