In a time of increasing destruction of language and simultaneous visual overstimulation, the language artists Ulrich Tukur and Christian Redl want to remind us of the beginnings, of the origins of theatre: the text, the language with which one tells a good story.
In addition to their favourite poems, both have chosen a form for this evening that has unjustly been almost forgotten: The ballad.
Most people today only know it as a haunting memory from German lessons. But like the detective novel, it thrives on moments of suspense and bombshell effects. And as in this related genre, it is always about murder, adultery, seduction, infanticide and unrequited love, as Friedrich Schiller, himself an enthusiastic ballad writer, noted.
Often, quite popular stories of murder and death, hauntings of love and infidelity are the source. They repeatedly describe the conflict of the individual with society and pose the eternal questions of justice, fate and guilt. But, if you read carefully and a little against the grain of the rhymed surface, you will find the proximity to the ballad, to comedy and colportage, sex and crime. Like an old tabloid at the highest literary level.
With only their voices and facial expressions, Tukur and Redl conjure up fantastic worlds on stage with texts from Goethe to Fontane to Brecht and Enzensberger, which, because they are always about people's fates, are deeply moving.
Pianist Olena Kushpler responds to the texts at the piano with pieces of music that were often written at the same time as the poems.
Olena Kushpler (am Klavier)
Komödie am Kurfürstendamm im Schiller Theater