Ancient art meets modern

SOMMERBAU: Event construction and culture

Germany’s largest temporary open-air logentheater on the city border between Offenbach and Frankfurt

Into the spotlight: Dionysus City by Christopher Rüping

The audience’s gaze is directed skyward as the giant LED cube hovers above the SOMMERBAU. Slowly, the crane driver lowers it. With combined forces, the cube is brought into position with ropes while the play continues without a break.

The 3.5-ton cube lifts off the ground several times during the “Dionysus City” performance. For the safety of the actors and audience, the technicians from satis&fy step out of the shadows into the spotlight and become part of the production. They pick up the cube on the ground, connect the power supply and the network connection to transmit the video signals.

In the second part of the production, the technicians additionally step into action and support the actors in smashing the city map of Troy.

Ten Hours of Antiquity: Prometheus, Troy, Achilles, Cassandra, Electra and Odysseus

The play “Dionysus City” by Christopher Rüping will be shown in a Frankfurt version as part of the “Great Frankfurt Dionysia in Offenbach”. In the 10-hour play, Rüping recreates the tradition of ancient theater as a gathering and folk festival. Very fitting, then, that the SOMMERBAU, with its polygonal, open form, is reminiscent of ancient amphitheaters in Greece or a coliseum.

Temporary open-air stage in the Kaiserlei district

The open-air theater in scaffolding is a joint project of the Künstlerhaus Mousonturm and the Frankfurt LAB. The design of the hexagonal SOMMERBAU comes from the Berlin architects’ collective raumlaborberlin.

There is room for two people in each of the approximately 100 visitor boxes. Semicircular, on three floors they enclose the stage. This creates a sensational view of the stage and also of the other audience members. This creates a feeling of togetherness, despite the distance.

The view from the stalls is also special: the sky above, the black-clad boxes with red triangular sails all around.

At the heart of the open-air theater is the arena, 25 meters in diameter. Depending on requirements, the arena is used as a playing area and/or as an auditorium, so that up to 350 people can be seated in the building.

satis&fy at work

For SOMMERBAU, satis&fy brought ancient stories to life with modern technology. The cube consisting of 90 LED modules was drawn, constructed and implemented in-house.

During the performance, technicians from the satis&fy crew became part of the production. Following the play “Dionysus City”, the material will be rebuilt on site as a smaller LED wall for subsequent performances.

In addition to the video department, the Scenic crew from satis&fy was also involved in the preparation and implementation of the project.

They provided the wooden cladding for the framework constructions at the entrance, the bar and the boxes and realized more than 50 m² of digital printing for route signage as well as signage for the boxes. In addition, a bright red 3D logo was mounted above the box office.

The design of the outdoor areas was also realized by satis&fy. For this purpose, two large tents were set up to provide shade for the visitors during the break and more than 30 m³ of flooring were distributed on the grounds.

“I don’t remember satis&fy ever implementing a project like this before,” reflects Lars Ulrich, “It’s something completely different and I’m very proud to be part of the team!”

Copyright photos: Jörg Baumann