August 4, 2021

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Schauspiel Leipzig is back in play with The Shape of Trouble to Come

Schauspiel Leipzig is back in play with The Shape of Trouble to Come

In the end, after an hour and a half, I would have preferred to take a break and then continue. With the classic by Samuel Beckett, which ends with the words: “Oh, that’s a happy day, that’s going to be a happy day again!” This would be great. Because the performance of “The Shape of Trouble to Come” (German: The Shape of Trouble to Come There) is, 60 years later, a continuation of the segment “Happy Days”, which premiered in September 1961.

The core of both pieces is the same message, which says that a disaster can eventually lead to peace and tranquility. You just have to find an individual way to deal with it. Once a person has their end in mind, there is definitely work of mourning to be done. From a dialectical point of view, this could consist of outright ignorance (Beckett), but also an extensive discussion like here in this article, which is probably also called “post-human rites” in the subtitle.

Hybrid people and organisms

At first, Sandra Holler sits at the table to the right of the stage gate in black pants and a lilac floral blouse and just listens to Bach’s wonderful piano music from an old analog tape recorder. It always rewinds after the address. On the other side of the stage gate on the left is a second person – or is he really a hybrid due to his orange-and-black speckled skin? Christoph Müller of the Leipzig Theater Troupe, who takes care of plants in small pots on a flower bank.

Then he goes to the middle of the platform and fetches the earth, sniffing if the earth is going again as topsoil, because it still contains all the rubbish of the human age: computers, auto parts. Like old bones. It is the humus on which the new should grow. Thus this humus is spread on stage during the play. The IKEA bag and screen cover are convenient as carrying bags. Then the humus is distributed with a huge rake. The “post-human rites” also have the effect of a trip to the past, when there were no tractors.

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Mosque

The texts by “actors” Holler and Muller were written by Donna Jane Haraway, Ursula Cropper, Le Guin, and Heiner Muller. At first, Hüller quotes a text from Kroeber Le Guin who wants to rehabilitate the bag. Beginning with prehistoric humans, often called hunter-gatherer, the shaft could have been emphasized much from an evolutionary perspective; The bag and bag were neglected. This critique of the history of civilization from a male point of view is of course obvious – Hollier is concerned with two other questions: Is there a second chance because you did not close in time on the path of the winners, which was a dead end in the end? Is this second chance related to the missed rounds?

Welcome to the twenty-fourth century

Haraway, on the other hand, is a scientist and feminist who wrote Restless Staying in 2018, in which she argues that the world can only be saved if humans no longer reproduce themselves and instead enter into symbiotic relationships with animals and plants. Become. In this way, hybrid creatures will be created over and over again and tried over several generations. When Holler then talks about the fifth generation, the theatrical movement is also present: Welcome to the 24th Century. after the climate disaster. after capitalism. after the patriarchal system.

A piece about Leipzig

Interestingly enough, this performance is also part of Leipzig. With this theatrical fieldwork, one thinks of the Millennium Field, an industrial wasteland in Blagwitz, where grain was planted and harvested in the year 2000. One thinks of the shipping yard in Blagwitz, which has been abandoned. New apartments are built in warehouses. The very brave are trying to create new gardens among the paths contaminated with oil and fungus. Preferably organic. Since Sandra Hüller has lived in Plagwitz for a few years, personal experience can play a role. Then this would be a very personal thing. Especially since there is also a moment in the performance when Hüller leaves her role and is also called “Sandra” by his castmates. Of course it does too.

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Consolation in an analog campfire

It may show how the test work went. That you discussed in the group whether all this elite bullshit what you’re doing now? Who are you already playing for? Does it even help? Because the people watching this already know everything. The scene looks honest, but it’s also built. In addition to the evening, in some places there is a lack of direction to get to the point. That’s a shame, but it doesn’t bother you any more.

Sandra Höller and Christoph Müller performed the scripts superbly over extended periods of the evening. And when the five actors finally sit around an analog campfire as Adam and Eve and brush the hairs of ants, emperor penguins, and, finally, rock hairs, you’ve finally arrived, relieved after a blacksmith’s work. Be calm instead of being anxious. It might even petrify at the end! petrify?

Bach’s last word

Bach, who was in Leipzig, just like Millennium Square or Shipping Square, has the last word here, so to speak. Maybe the only thing left at the end. Music for ages. Sandra Holler and her colleagues succeed in a truly touching evening due to the sadness that can be seen here. One could roughly say: If the end of humanity is what it is here, it’s not that bad after all.