In DRAMA, a group of people work hard to sound out the opportunities and limits of the stage space in a post-pandemic time, when users have become the content of social media.
On the real stage of the theatre, it is the well-known plays that work best with audiences. Shakespeare? Sophocles? Again? In suits? The performers explore a variety of genres to merge them into an imitation of the stage genre “La Revista Argentina”, a mixture of cabaret and French glamour revue, catchy Spanish tunes, Italian humour, lots of feathers, big music show and popular comedians. “La Revista Argentina” evolved at the time of the Weimar Republic, when Buster Keaton released the film The Haunted House, in which criminals and lousy actors from a mediocre Faust production clash.
The figures in DRAMA nurture the anthropological desire to cut up popular culture to discover the arc of suspense between “high” and “low” art, and the untiring energy of the glamour dancers of the Argentinian revue of the 1920s. They constantly change the settings: from Shakespeare to the soap operas of our time, to musicals like Fame and past revues. They create a cosmos of great emotions, illusions and artificiality. The past revue: human dramas in an artificial world where no pain is shown, no effort. The Vedettes put on their mechanical smiles, the curtain opened and they went on stage. Robert Lippok’s musical score adds to this atmosphere, contrasting the musical referencing of pop songs.
The performers compete for the worn-out attention span of audiences in the era of clickbait. But how can you compete with the never-ending spectacle of politics and news, fake or true? Drama and tragedy happen everywhere, not just on stage. Joseph Campbell’s reconciliation with his father is the root and rerun of endless heroic stories of the patriarchal kind, but is a hero’s journey perhaps just a reflection of some male director who has a father complex?
Premiere on 19 January 2023 at Volksbühne Berlin (DE).