The world is a stage
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More light and color for the Nibelungs

© Bernward Bertram

The Nibelungenfestspiele (Nibelung festival) delights an audience of several thousand enthusiasts every year at the historical location in front of the Worms Cathedral. PLEXIGLAS® is almost always part of the stage setting of the different productions.

2003 it was the horse, for example: the horse of Brunhild, queen of Iceland. Brunhild’s empire consists of ice and snow, so the staging by Dieter Wedel “Die Nibelungen” (the Nibelungs) featured her larger than life horse made of a material that was as transparent as possible: original PLEXIGLAS®.

“The Nibelungs”

In 2003, PLEXIGLAS® made for a truly impressive element of the stage design – the horse of the Icelandic queen Brunhild was made entirely of PLEXIGLAS®.

© Rudolf Uhrig

“The Nibelungs”

The horse was glistening white like ice and snow or lit in different colors to provide a mystic atmosphere.

© Bernward Bertram

The four-meter-high and over three-meter-long animal, which was manufactured by Röhm from branded acrylic glass, had an internal frame with original PLEXIGLAS® sheets in different sizes glued on. Embedded spotlights provided a mystic atmosphere and the horse could blow steam from its nostrils. It had an overall weight of three tons and was the incontestable star of the show.

Durable and illuminable

But this is not the only way to use this versatile material for the stage: In 2015, the branded acrylic glass served as the basis for a large table, where the final banquet of Etzel, king of the Huns, took place. This initiates a huge bloodbath in the Nibelung saga and leads to the downfall of the Nibelungs in a sea of flames and blood. The table, apparently made of wood, started glowing red during the course of events – because the furniture piece was actually made of original PLEXIGLAS® and could be illuminated from the inside.

“The bloodbath”

The table where the bloodbath took place: In 2015, the table, which seemed to be made of wood, was engulfed in red light during the downfall of the Nibelungs.

© Bernward Bertram

“The bloodbath”

Instead of wood, the table was made of original PLEXIGLAS® and was illuminated from the inside.

© Bernward Bertram

In 2016, the festival dared to step into the present: “Gold – Der Film der Nibelungen” is a remake of the ancient legend, a theater performance within a theater performance so to speak, with original PLEXIGLAS® taking a key role. Because the booths, the actors retreat during the shooting breaks, were completely transparent. This stage design gimmick enabled the audience to watch the characters expose most intimate thoughts and feelings.

PLEXIGLAS® branded acrylic glass was the perfect material for this stage design, as it is transparent and at the same time robust. And once again, the lighting of the edges created the appropriate atmosphere, right up to the blood red feeling of doom when the ensemble falls out over the movie project.

“Gold – Der Film der Nibelungen”

The 2016 remake of the Nibelung festival was held in a truly modern setting. The performance “Gold – Der Film der Nibelungen” plays with the idea of the transparent, exposed actor. Accordingly, PLEXIGLAS® took a key role in the stage design and was used in a row of transparent wardrobes.

© Röhm GmbH / Photographer Markus Schmidt

“Gold – Der Film der Nibelungen”

The PLEXIGLAS® booths function as a place of retreat for the actors. It is here where they reveal the most intimate thoughts of the parts they are playing in monologues. To give this insight, the booths needed to be transparent.

© Röhm GmbH / Photographer Markus Schmidt

“Gold – Der Film der Nibelungen”

In addition, the booths have to be sturdy, for example when hands, tongues and upper bodies are pressed against the transparent wall during the monologue...

© Röhm GmbH / Photographer Markus Schmidt

“Gold – Der Film der Nibelungen”

...or when lots of fake blood splashes against the walls at the end.

© Röhm GmbH / Photographer Markus Schmidt

Impact on overall impression

Only three examples taken from the history of the Nibelungenfestspiele in Worms where PLEXIGLAS® took on an important part of the performance. The branded acrylic glass did not always have such a dominant role on the theater stage, but PLEXIGLAS® has been part of every performance in the previous years of the festival.

Sometimes it might not attract attention right away, but due to the light conducting capacity, it really makes an impact on the overall impression. The material enables a homogeneous scattering of light and thus allows the creation of a targeted atmosphere. Like the threateningly glowing table or the ice cold, mystic giant horse.

Close connection

In fact, Worms is not only the historic location of the Nibelung saga where Brunhild and Kriemhild quarreled before the Worms Cathedral, but also the Röhm site where the base material for PLEXIGLAS® is produced. Methyl methacrylate (MMA) is made from raw materials and then polymerized here. The resulting cooperation was obvious: Especially as Röhm not only became a sponsor, but was actually making a meaningful contribution to the performances.

Or to the fringe events: The park in front of Worms Cathedral becomes a meeting point for theatergoers and other curious people each year for two weeks, with tents, booths and atmospheric lighting. Numerous luminous signs or illuminated booths were made of PLEXIGLAS® in the previous years. After all, the material cannot only be used to realize creative stage design ideas, but thanks to its light conducting properties and the versatile processing options it is also excellently suited for illuminants, advertising signs and design elements.

By the way: queen Brunhild’s horse still exists. It currently stands in front of the Röhm gates in Worms. Worms, Nibelungs and PLEXIGLAS® – a perfect match.

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