Our partner association in Germany, DThG, gives the Weltenbauer Awards every two years. These awards honor the best in technology on stage from across Europe. As part of the awards ceremony in Germany, a Laudatio, or speech in honor of the nominees, is given prior to the award presentation. Leslie Malton, a well-known German television and stage actor, who happens to be American and also the current Chair of the German Actors Guild, offered her Laudatio below. We at USITT often speak of teamwork. It is great to hear the same from the performer’s point of view.
What a magical word: Weltenbauer / World carpenter.
And I so enjoy being a part of building new worlds. Aren´t we all part of the Weltenbauer team?
The stage- and costume designers, the technicians, actors and yes, even the directors?!
“All the world´s a stage,” or as we say in German, “Die Bretter, die die Welt bedeuten“ = The boards that mean the world. The stage is the performers safe haven. But it can only be such when the set is built with expertise and is well constructed.
While the technicians battle with scene designs and set models, so do we actors battle with our theatre and film manuscripts – and later on also with doors and costumes. And sometimes even with flying-machines, if it be that flying underscores the craft and truth and that, which services the play. Even when flying up near the flyloft it is helpful to be well grounded.
Whilst struggling with a directors direction or an author’s authority, the same security represented by a safety belt or latch, has been bestowed upon me more than once by a clear and precise comment made by a stage technician, who has been silently watching from the sides.
If our audience is the observer from the front, then the stage technicians are the participating observers from the wings and back-stage. What is so important for those who create a new world night after night is to have a common language upon which we can build a common trust. That´s what it´s all about. That´s team-work.
Where would we actors be without a stage manager, a master carpenter or those who set the lights? Every performance we travel the same road together. Which has naturally been previously thought through, created and crafted by the director, the scene designer, the costume designer, light and sound technicians.
What we have just seen from the „youngsters“ gives me great hope that we have found just that: the common language – and that we will continue to speak it in the future.