When a film is about a long journey, it’s mostly a so called roadmovie – with takes from endless streets and different settings. The documentary „Orient Express – Theater in einem Zug“ from Steffen Düvel and Martin Andersson for ZDF-Theaterkanal, is nevertheless about a long journey of a train, also with shots from different settings but on the other hand with endless rails instead of streets – a railmovie, so to speak.
But this train is a particular theatre-train, driving along the old route of the famous Orient-Express, performing six different plays on several stations, which have been written exclusively for that journey, performed from six different ensembles of the respective countries. For that case one wagon has been reconstructed as a “stage-wagon”, which allows the actors to rehearse and perform their plays, by turning down a wall of the wagon, now acting as a stage. And so the train starts its journey in Ankara and stops in Istanbul, Bucharest, Craiova, Temesvar, Novi Sad, Zagreb, Ljubljana, Nava Gorica, Freiburg to finally reach after 80 days and 3.900 km its destination Stuttgart, where a theatre-festival takes place for ten days. On that long way the ensembles of the corresponding countries got on board and performed their plays in different rail stations in fascinating scenery.
The project was an idea of the Schauspiel of Staatstheater Stuttgart in cooperation with Craiova National Theatre, Serbian National Theatre, Zagreb Theatre of the Youth and Slovenian National Theatre under the patronage of European Theater Convention (ETC) and makes its own, cultural contribution to a better understanding among peoples.