Friday, December 23, 2016

Gerd Anthoff, the shy Atheist By Gerhard Fischer/Translation By Susanne Therese Steiner

"I always enjoy playing a role to discover: Humor, Despair, Chaos," says Gerd Anthoff. The actor learned from Ingmar Bergman, to play a truly unsympathetic person on stage. And later on TV.
From Gerhard Fischer
Ingmar Bergman taught Gerd Anthoff how to play aggression. The director, who left Sweden because of tax worries and the actor met in the '80s at the Residenztheater in Munich. Anthoff played the hijacker Korgstad in Ibsen's "Nora". "And Bergman advised that this role had to be played with aggression from head to toe," he said. The problem was that Gerd Anthoff tends to be more a gentle person. "Bergman knew that," said Anthoff, "and nevertheless he radiated an aura of subliminal, intense aggression at the rehearsals, against everything and everyone." Anthoff sensed it and was in sync. "I was suddenly like a fish in water," he said. "And since that time I can live out the aggression on stage." Gerd Anthoff, 70, had during his TV career many of these kinds of roles, unsympathetic and aggressive, like the reckless building contractor Toni Rambold in Der Bulle von Tölz or the corrupt detective Dr. Claus Reiter in Unter Verdacht. In the first show of the series, Reiter even initiated a murder attempt of his colleague Eva Prohacek (Senta Berger). "It was never found out whether or not he was really behind the murder," said Anthoff, "but he was the one behind the attempt." If anyone would know, it would be him. Gerd Anthoff sat in the Stadtcafe and told one story after another - about Berger, about Bergman and about the Bavarian Theater Play Brandner Kaspar, where he more than 950 times played the role of Nantwein. Spiegel wrote once about Anthoff that he tries to get fundamentally away from "the media frenzy." "I seldom give interviews," he also said, "and I can not do the red carpet." Why? "I am shy." A request from Süddeutschen Zeitung he answered friendly, but quietly answered: "We could try to talk to each other." Shyness is a characteristic, but it could be based on where someone comes from. Gerd Anthoff was not raised in a rich academic home in which inner confidence belongs. Anthoff was from blue collar roots in the Munich Westend. When he was born in 1946, rubble from the bombs of WWII was being cleared. The children didn't worry, they played between the rubble in the backyards. "It was a nice childhood," said Anthoff. But it was followed by a depressed youth. He did not want to go further into more detail about the reason for those worries. He found comfort in the Theater. [...] SZ