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There is no right to reconciliation

by Valeria Heintges

Zurich, December 3, 2020. Cinema critics are often accused of revealing too much in their texts and thus taking the tension off the audience. Theater critics rarely or never hear the accusation, because very few dramas are built like thrillers - and the subjects are usually well known anyway. Sometimes, however, productions work with such surprising, unexpected effects that it is difficult as a reviewer to describe everything. If you do not want to let the tension for Christopher Rüping's Zurich version of "Simply the End of the World" after Jean-Luc Lagarce take away, please do not read any further.


Theater community around the comforting campfire

by Valeria Heintges

Zurich, November 14, 2020. The situation is bleak. The theaters in Germany - closed. The theaters in Austria - closed. Only a small country with indomitable Helvetians is resisting and leaving its stages open, albeit with conditions: only 50 spectators are allowed to attend the performances in Switzerland. A depressing thing when there are only 50 scattered people in a hall where 700 children and adults are normally allowed to cheer and cheer. But the hoard of resistance is also shaking: Just a few minutes before the start of the premiere of "Assembly for a Frog", the Corona task force in Switzerland has it spread that it is in favor of further tightening the local soft lockdown. That would mean: If the Federal Council followed the recommendation of this expert committee, then the theaters in Switzerland would also be closed.


American nightmare

by Valeria Heintges

Zurich, October 22, 2020. "I started my hibernation in mid-June 2000. I was 26 years old." When Alicia Aumüller, the nameless first-person narrator in Zurich's Pfauen district, speaks these first words, she is already sitting in the garbage of her food orders. At first she left out all the cosmetics, then stayed in the apartment, and now she wants to sleep in for a year. Her job was conveniently terminated, and money doesn't matter anyway, with the apartment on the Upper East Side, the shares and the Platinum Visa card. The generous psychiatrist Dr. Tuttle prescribes the necessary sedatives and sleeping pills for the planned escape from the world. She always finds new placeholders for this - sometimes leaves of the houseplant are used as medicine, then the strong remedy is given in the form of a disco ball or ice skates are handed over the counter.


Let's not mention the title

by Valeria Heintges

Zurich, October 2, 2020. Probably the best way to do the evening justice is to forget its title. When you go there and see what's on offer. And that's a lot. Seven young people who play their hearts out. They - with ensemble actor Matthias Neukirch at their side - have crammed a piece into their skull and body for the second time within a few months, which they then - all laypeople - perform in the venerable peacock of the Zurich theater. You had already done the thing. Then came the lockdown, later the distance and hygiene rules. Neukirch is now the only professional actor to embody "the adults". Because his colleagues Thelma Buabeng and Thomas Wodianka were driven off the stage by Corona - too many actors in too small a space. A staging with a lot of distance and orgies full of disinfectants can therefore be seen.


Print on the speech bubble

by Valeria Heintges

Zurich, September 20, 2020. They all have "balloon pressure," they say. They talk and chat, they chat and ponder. You are not guided by the meaning, but by the sound of the language. The result? Sentences like "A hearing opening is an ear opening!". One does not like to contradict and yet one can only wonder that it takes ten attempts to come to the conclusion. You would say a lot of words. You see it differently yourself. "This is where people talk?" Asks one. "This is where action is taken!" Claims another.


The anger in the bull's head

by Claude Bühler

Zurich, September 19, 2020. With the * behind the name Medea, according to the program, the "nuances" are meant, the "view between the sentences". This is where director Leonie Böhm concentrated her version, removing the plot and the other characters from Euripides' original. The ruler Creon, for example, who wants to banish Medea from Corinth for fear of her magical powers and angry powers. Or her husband Jason, who left her to marry Creon's daughter Glauke for the sake of social advancement. In the end it is up to the audience to interpret whether Medea will really do what she made Euripides world famous for: killing her boys out of revenge, so Jason "to the grief", as it is called in the original.


Community is possible

by Valeria Heintges

Zurich, September 12, 2020. The stage of the Zürcher Pfauen is brightly lit. But it is empty except for seven black pianist chairs. When the obligatory masked spectators enter the hall, which is only occupied in a checkerboard pattern, the American dancer and choreographer Trajal Harrell is already there. Black pants, white shirt; a fine, delicately patterned negligee-like dress hangs in front of his chest. When the American singer Joni Mitchell begins to sing My old man with her fragile, infinitely varied voice, he moves as if he were the expressive singer, raises his arms wide to the audience, sways to the beat on the spot.


More volcano is not possible

by Verena Großkreutz

Zurich / online, June 27, 2020. What a strong picture. Why dream, why wake up? The Conférencière was just thinking about the possibility of making sensible use of the corona-related "gap in time", since what had previously been unchangeable suddenly appeared changeable, when the camera switches to the outside stairs of the Zurich Opera House: to tenor Iain Milne, who has settled there to the aria "Pourquoi me réveiller?" Add from Massenet's "Werther". At some point the singers are drawn to the construction fence that separates them from the forecourt of the opera, where a small group of listeners has gathered. He looks over to her longingly and sings. Social distancing sends its regards, but there is also the answer to the concretizing social question in the room: Who belongs where?


For those in the dark, it's hell

by Valeria Heintges

Zurich, June 12, 2020.Nine months ago, at the opening of the season in September 2019, Nicolas Stemann and Benjamin von Blomberg stood so casually and at the same time so tense and excited in front of their audience in the shipbuilding in Zurich. At that time they announced a huge opening program for the eight directors, which was to be followed by an intensive, generally successful season.


So close yet so far

by Shirin Sojitrawalla

Zurich / Online, April 17, 2020. Memories of another world. Last year! Theater meeting! Dionysus city! Wiebke Mollenhauer and Nils Kahnwald let the audience carry them on their hands. Social distance on the ass. The whole evening a celebration of the theater as a social place. Typical for the director Christopher Rüping. Of course, someone like that does not want to be content with filmed theater in the Corona times, but rather stage it for digital space. It is important to him that it is live and fleeting: just theater.


I look at you in the headlights

by Valeria Heintges

Zurich, March 12, 2020. It starts so nicely. There they stand, three masters of creation, each of the costumes by Magdalena Schön and Helena Stein a feast for the eyes. Kay Kysela, for example, wears a pink, yellow, light green and purple rhombic sweater under a pink, light blue and purple, coarsely knitted suit with a gold border. On his head is a light purple curly wig with a bun that is turned upwards at an angle. The first thing you notice about Lukas Vögler are the pink boots with the orange feathers on the shaft, then of course the short, light pink trousers made of coarse fabric and the solid yellow top.


On the go with nature

by Valeria Heintges

Zurich, January 23, 2020. "A mountain slips and a person loses his memory. Not much more happens in Max Frisch's story, which was published 40 years ago," writes the Schauspielhaus Zürich on "Man appears in the Holocene". Not entirely wrong: In the 143-page story, which also comes as a collage of the Bible, Brockhaus and Duden articles, hiking and non-fiction books about the Swiss canton of Ticino, there is little "action": A valley rains in for days, Mr. Geiser stuck in his hut, cutting out articles from books to fight against oblivion, trying desperately to hike into the next valley, turning back half dead, suffering a stroke and then dawning. What kind of theater evening should it become?


Expulsion of the predator frenzy

by Andreas Klaeui

Zurich, January 12, 2020. Strikes are no longer what they used to be. As it is currently showing in France: Almost everything stands still for weeks, and what does it look like in the end? Three months to think about it. Ayn Rand's novel "Atlas Shrugged" dates from the heyday of the class struggle (1957). In it, the American author sketches the fantasy of a strike, not of the workers but of the employers, in order to show that nothing comes from nothing.


Chekhov on the couch

by Valeria Heintges

Zurich, December 14, 2019. Chekhov's "cherry orchard" - a pipe dream? Just a projection for great feelings, memories of times of happiness and prosperity? "My mother doesn't even notice the cherry orchard when you put it in," says daughter Anja brutally. Anja's mother, the landowner Lyubow Andrejewna Ranjewskaja, called Lyuba, is ill. In Yana Ross ’Zurich's" The Cherry Orchard. After Anton Chekhov "and in the excellent interpretation by Danuta Stenka, she is an uprooted, sick woman living between cultures, countries and languages. Her first appearance shows a party queen brutally rejuvenated by drugs, with headphones on, artfully fashionable ripped pants on her legs and illness in her body, something between addiction, depression, bipolarity and complete rapture.


The Grimm Gaudi

by Valeria Heintges

Zurich, November 10, 2019. The heavy book is totally dusty. But that can't stop a fairy teller with a diploma - or can it? Long-haired, in a coat, very old-fashioned, Lukas Vögler sits in front of the stage curtain in Zurich. But then suddenly he goes on strike. What is the queen thinking? "No idea!" He complains about his "minigage" and explains: "I don't give a shit!"


California Nightmare

by Valeria Heintges

Zurich, October 25, 2019. There they are, the five brand freaks. In patchwork clothes made of a strip of Gucci here, a strip of Lacoste there, a strip of Chanel on the back. They are the rich, the connoisseurs. You know what is about to be seen here now. "This is the story of the Joad Family", they rap, "go to California, to get the social welfare". And then there it stands, the Joad family: mother, pregnant daughter Rose and son Tom, who has just been released from prison. In gray, no-frills, ankle-length clothes. Just a look at Lene Schwind's costumes for Christopher Rüping's version of John Steinbeck's "Fruits of Wrath" at the Zurich Pfauen shows: These Joads are not one of them. And: You will only be pushed around in life. "What should we do now, mother?" is asked again and again; what should she say? One of the brand people stands next to her and prompts her in her ear. As soon as she wants to answer, the other says her answer: "We have to stick together. It will work."


Diversity is the key

by Andreas Klaeui

Zurich, September 16, 2019. As a first official act, Nicolas Stemann picks up the cuddly guitar and sings the credits with Benjamin von Blomberg: "... all private patrons / who are involved in the support circle / and in the accomplice club / in the Society of Friends / and in the Zurich Theater Association /: We don't want to lose you! Lalala… "This is how one takes Aussersihl and Zürichberg for oneself! Hardly anyone can escape their boyish charm. And if a few grouchy voices complain straight away that they would go to great lengths to please: Don't worry, they won't please everyone.


Mourning for everything

by Valeria Heintges

Zurich, May 16, 2019.Barbara Frey ends her ten-year directorship at the Zurich Schauspielhaus with literature and music - the combination was always her favorite anyway. In her project "Die Toten" with texts by James Joyce, who lived in Zurich for many years, died and is buried here, the two come closer together than rarely. Frey is not satisfied with staging the last story of the same name from the "Dubliners". She mixes passages from "Ulysses" and "Finnegans Wake" with her dramaturge Geoffrey Layton. Above all, these should show how musical the lyrics are, how strongly they thrive on rhythm and sound, and how listening can open up such bulky works.


The disaster behind us

by Valeria Heintges

Zurich, May 15, 2019. "The disaster has to come - and it will come." When Naphta, the communist and warmonger, says the sentence, "The great irritability" after Thomas Mann's "The Magic Mountain" is already advanced in Zurich shipbuilding and no one is surprised anymore. It has long been known that Hans Castorp only wanted to visit his cousin for three weeks in the sanatorium in the Swiss mountains and then stayed for seven years to cure a tuberculosis he never had. And we know that at the end of the First World War will break out, which Castorp will probably not survive.


Chase in the porn cinema

by Maximilian Pahl

Zurich, April 13, 2019. It takes less than ten minutes for prompter Rita von Horváth to have her hands full. Robert Hunger-Bühler is, to put it mildly, not entirely sure of the text. With Ueli Jäggi, too, things often fail later, and for Alexander Scheer, flirtatiousness and forgetfulness are part of the normal repertoire. Almost 150 pages of the game version are due in the Pfauen, because Frank Castorf is in Zurich.


Tackling racism at the root

by Valeria Heintges

Zurich, April 4, 2019. In the beginning everything is different from what you might think. Dagna Litzenberger breathes Vinet into the microphone. The audience is silent, no trace of enthusiasm. And what does she look like, this woman? Yellow velvet one-piece on the body and a bouquet of feathers on the head, as we know it from the Brazilian carnival. She is the chief commander of the General of the Revolutionary Army, she says. And behaves like a pop star or a preacher - although that can sometimes coincide. Another is wearing a glittering, clacking bib made of rhinestone chains. And a really tall man has made up his face white and has a flowing red sequin dress on his body.


Corpses churning

by Andreas Klaeui

Zurich, February 22, 2019. A man's pair of eyes: it looks to the left, to the right, straight ahead. Henrike Johanna Jörissen appears like a German Marilyn Monroe, from far back from the central light window of a television-blue shaft, and initially relies on eroticism, as well as Helene Fischer and Florian Silbereisen. It doesn't help her, a few seconds later she lies dead on the floor, the first victim of Wolfram Koch, who for his part seems to have emerged from a film noir from the Fourties, hunched over, squat, angular in his movements and with a hoarse smile on his cane teeth.


In the future laboratory

by Valeria Heintges

Zurich, January 10, 2019. On video projections, naked avatars stand in the water, people who appear mummified. Then the splintered, angular stage by Barbara Ehnes appears: two triangles, at the back a rectangular high wall that is also used for projections. In the foreground a barely visible pane; sometimes it serves as a video surface, sometimes it immerses the events behind it in streaks and blurring. Inga Busch's head appears in the video, with a highly artificial, white Cleopatra wig, piercingly made-up eyes, huge. She is Professor Anna Waldman, scientist and teacher of Viktor Frankenstein.


A knack for the crack

by Andreas Klaeui

Zurich, December 14, 2018. Manzini is the name of an Italian crime writer, but also a café in Berlin-Wilmersdorf, where writers like to spend their literary afternoons for themselves. "One code for: Everything stays the same," says a witty connoisseur, adding maliciously: "A piece of Switzerland in Berlin." It may be that René Pollesch's new Zürcher Abend was (should have been) created here, as Martin Wuttke recently confided in the Zürcher "Tages-Anzeiger". The thought would be too nice. But maybe only because Wuttke lives just around the corner. Or because the title just sounds so good.In any case, the waiters at Manzini know exactly what kind of place it is and that it has no price. In contrast to the R, K and M appearing in Zurich, who know neither out nor in, confuse the beginning and the end and in all the confusion also completely disregard the title of the piece.


Harmony is a strategy

by Vera Urweider

Zurich, December 5, 2018. It's always such a thing when you don't live in the city, where in the evening the occasion is to which you should / may go: will you still come home? Organize bed? To take a risk? The new Marthaler play is supposed to last two hours, it could be tight, and then, as if out of nowhere, the redeeming idea: Hey, it's Marthaler who is staging it. And: He directs by and about John Cage. So if it says "two hours without a break" it will be exactly the same. So no problem, I think. At least something that is clear on an otherwise rather bizarre evening.


The silence after the jump

by Vera Urweider

Zurich, November 16, 2018. It is this silence in the hall. An unusual silence for a theater production that suddenly strikes you. Because Timofej Kuljabin takes away the actors' language. At least almost. The Russian director is known for making old theater classics from scratch - he let his "Three Sisters" play in Russian sign language. In Zurich, the people in "Nora or A Doll's House" communicate almost silently and in writing via WhatsApp and Facebook. If that works?


Faces on dry ice

by Andreas Klaeui

Zurich, October 20, 2018. Sometimes there are theatrical moments apart from any planning, which, in their cuteness, are able to compete with an entire production. Such a moment could be experienced on Saturday in Zurich. Just in the absolute silence of that second between game and applause, after the curtain has already lowered, but before the applause (which is about to end), the aged and obviously perplexed voice of a spectator could be heard: "Chunnsch du druus?" (Can you figure it out?).


Infinitely reflected mirror world

From Kaa Linder

Zurich, September 13, 2018. This reading of "Hamlet", which declares the skull to be part of the program, is radically strict: In her last term of office, artistic director Barbara Frey brought her sixth Shakespeare production to the Pfauenbühne in Zurich. The performing staff at the Danish court is dead from the start. In uniform, opaque black velvet, the faces pale as chalk, it haunts buttoned up on the stage, which is as black as it is opaque, because it is sparsely lit.


Public viewing against loneliness

by Mirja Gabathuler

Zurich, June 12, 2018. Playback time? Don't be fooled: Jan Sobrie's play is not about football. Or only on the sidelines, as the final punch, shortly before the final whistle, so to speak, better known as applause in the theater, the ball game still has its appearance, somehow the World Cup is soon and the theater cannot close its eyes before that. At the beginning, however, the drama does not take place on the lawn, but around a set table in the foyer of the Schiffbau in Zurich, which, with its numerous windows and rolling doors in the direction of the urban west of Zurich, is wonderfully suitable as a stage for a play that includes the present struggles.


I have checked now

by Valeria Heintges

Zurich, May 5, 2018. Have you been to the cinema or the theater? Actually, if you ask yourself that afterwards, it is not a criterion for a good evening at the theater. It is also not a criterion that you hardly know whether what was shown was played live or came from the can. Nor is it a criterion that people who cannot hear well can barely follow long passages in the evening. But it still bothers.


Government is dirty work

by Valeria Heintges

Zurich, April 12, 2018. Duke Vincentio sits in front of the city walls. He has the power, like Big Brother, can watch his subjects from above as they try to find their way through the labyrinth. When Vincentio blows his cigarette smoke into the small city model on his lap, the smoke blows around his subjects' ears. It is only a small scene with which Jan Bosse starts his production of "Maß für Maß" at the Schauspielhaus Zurich. But she immediately shows how confidently this evening plays with images, with perspectives, with ideas: A video films from above what is hidden behind the wall. Here a smoke machine blows when Vincentio smokes in his miniature model.


Precious security

by Claude Bühler

Zurich, March 29, 2018. "Perhaps the most beautiful, poignant novel about the people who fled to Switzerland during World War II and were treated like annoying intruders lies unpublished in a drawer," wrote literary critic Charles Linsmayer about "The Glasses of Nissim Night Spirit" by Lotte Schwarz. The librarian had worked as a maid in the Zurich Pension Comi and processed her experiences in her novel. She died in 1971 without the text having been published.


The blind seer

by Christian Rakow

Zurich, March 8, 2018. So Donald Trump. The Twitter cannoner, the pussy-grabber, the debt maker, the builder, the entertainment clown, the everyone-knows-about-Larry, at least the most stable genius under the evening sun of reason. So Trump. You didn't think that you would need a play to go with it.


Conveyor belt with a sea view

by Mirja Gabathuler

Zurich, March 3, 2018. There is a very specific smile that is often exchanged in the audience this evening: I've got it, I've recognized it. Because anyone who has ever seen a piece by René Pollesch will recognize a lot here. "Hello, Mister MacGuffin" is basically a Pollesch piece about Pollesch.


You kitsch

by Valeria Heintges

Zurich, February 17, 2018. Bettina Meyer's set design is a stunner: a two-story hotel interior. Downstairs concierge room, lounge, dining room, telephone booth. Left and right two stairs lead up to the rooms. Everything is shabby, the carpet stained, the plants dry and dusty, the telephone "spoiled", as waiter Max says. The walls are stained. Only a lot of money and a lot of ideas can save this hotel from ruin. The spectators look out from a steep grandstand at the disappearing glory.


On all fours

by Valeria Heintges

Zurich, January 25, 2018. It's almost an art in itself. A director has a novel that has just been brilliantly re-translated and is now all the more powerful, witty, grotesque, a work that is traded as a mixture of "Faust" and "Frankenstein". And then the director takes this ingenious template, places his actors in an old-fashioned and impractical set and lets them play off the sheet without any ideas. He basically kneads his ingenious template until it is either stupid-funny or boring - the longer the more both.


In the oval of the mighty

by Valeria Heintges

Zurich, January 12, 2018. I'm Igor Tulchinsky, CEO of WorldQuant LLC. My company manages $ 5 billion worth of hedge funds. Sitting next to me is Matthias Müller, CEO of Volkswagen AG. Investor George Soros is also there and the boss of the oil company Aramco from Saudi Arabia, which is the financially strongest company in the world with a turnover of 510 billion dollars. We are the bosses of 14 million employees. We are the business representatives of the 48th World Economic Forum, which will take place from 23 to 26 January 2018 in Davos, Switzerland. We, that is the theater-goers of "Weltstatus Davos" by Helgard Haug and Stefan Kaegi from the theater collective Rimini Protokoll. In Zurich's Schiffbau they are showing the fourth part of the "State 1-4" series, which examines the phenomena of post-democracy and which has already been devoted to the secret services in Munich, to the phenomenon of large construction sites in Düsseldorf and to technology-based voting in Dresden.