Listen to “Sebald’s Apocalyptic Vision”
As I recently wrote, on June 8 BBC broadcast a short program on Katie Mitchell’s theater production of Sebald’s The Rings of Saturn called “Sebald’s Apocalyptic Vision.” Until June 15 (9:32 to be precise), you can listen to the program in the BBC iPlayer. The segment available on iPlayer is 46 minutes long, but the Sebald portion ends about 31 minutes into the recording. Here is a excerpt from the program information:
Last year, the acclaimed theatre director Katie Mitchell put The Rings of Saturn or Die Ringe des Saturn on stage – not in England but in Cologne, Germany.This programme follows her as she takes her German actors to East Anglia to experience at first-hand the landscape in which Sebald was writing and walking. They explore a coastline, which – as Sebald was acutely aware – looks out towards Germany, across what used to be known until the late 19th century as “the German Ocean”.
The trip along the coast precipitates the actors’ personal reflections and memories of their grandparents’ generation during the Second World War and the way the history of that time has been handed down to them.
The programme introduces The Rings of Saturn through beautiful readings by the actor Stephen Dillane, interspersed with music by composer Paul Clark, and sounds recorded on the Suffolk coastline; but it also shows Sebald’s contemporary importance in a world in which the significance of history, time and place can so easily be dismissed.
The program is well-done. Sebald devotees won’t learn much, but there are a few points of interest. Stephen Dillane (from Game of Thrones) turns out to be a very nice reader of Sebald’s prose. The radio piece also includes the unannounced appearance of Sebald’s friend Rüdiger Gorner, editor of The Anatomist of Melancholy: Essays in Memory of W.G. Sebald (which I wrote about previously).