The disaster has occurred
The EU has broken apart, the euro no longer exists. The basic income introduced only a few years ago – worthless. The privileged live on artificial islands in the Mediterranean, the North Sea and the Baltic Sea, which are managed by a private company and are no longer subject to state control. There is misery on the continent and a terrorist group “Let them eat money” abducts those whom it considers responsible for the crisis. At the same time, an investigation is under way to find out how things could get done and that it is run by a machine.
Andres Veiel abducts us with this new dystrophy in his new play “Let them eat money”. The play is the result of a long process, with several conferences, workshops and discussions with bankers, scientists, experts and over 200 in-depth discussion. Rarely has an artist dealt so intensively with the subject of economy, politics, digitization and the state. He and his colleagues have condensed the knowledge gained there and created it in facets with the aim of processing it with the means of art. This leads to an intense theater evening with a huge number of topics and thoughts.
That makes the evening challenging for the audience. The story is complex, not stringent, full of surprising twists and turns. The figures are not one-sided. Somehow everyone wanted the good, but in their interaction it comes to disaster.
The theater has its own rules. It takes a crisis, protagonists who work it off and fail tragically or weirdly. It takes sensuality, action and personalities whose suffering takes the viewer, invites him to change his perspective and enables new insights. Andres Veiel and Jutta Dobberstein decide on the life stream. The stage does its best to provide sensual experiences. A confined space without exit travels the narrow space of the protagonists. Light stages and light dungeons create more virtual than real room layouts, the actors are not only front and back, but also above and below. They are hung up, fly and swing in this room, only simulating freedom of movement. But this limited space is infinite. He is virtually open to the followers of the “Let them eat money” group. Together with their initially more than 9 million followers, including more than 5 million lives, we hear the interrogations of the prisoners of the terrorist group – the former EU Commissioner (with great force embodied by Susanne-Marie Wrage) and the former trade union leader (credible by Paul Grill both played a key role in EU decisions on the offshore islands special economic areas and in the introduction of the basic income. In the end, the followers should decide on the life and death of the two. It will be different and as Kathleen Morgeneyer plays as Yldune, it is worth seeing.
Without public, the hearings of the committee of inquiry are carried out – by a machine. Here we experience the former ECB president, wonderfully personified by Jörg Posse and his buddy and opponent Stefan Tarp (Frank Seppeler), the founder and CEO of Nova AG – operator of the off-shore islands. Here, too, a look of disturbed – the people in charge all had good reasons from their perspective to act as they acted. Tarp wanted to save refugees and put his islands at the disposal and the ECB president had to save the EU area – was there no alternative? Can not we escape the disaster?
In search of the form
A complex story that could work in the life stream – but the theater takes its toll. It works according to its laws, requires tragedy and life on the stage, not in reports and narratives. Youtube-Chanels are easy and unpretentious. But when you do that on stage, it becomes expressive and meaningful. But where this is no longer there, where the laconic and disoriented is the characteristic, the classical theater comes to its limits. Sure, you could tell the story differently – subject to the conditions of the theater dutifully. It would also have been possible to include the process of creation in the piece, instead of decoupling the artwork from its creation process.
Or one respects that Andres Veiel and Jutta Doberstein have opted for this path. They create something that nobody has ever done before them. They bring a substance to the stage, which compels us to deal with the topics of economics and politics on a very abstract level. They demand attention, not only for 144 characters, but for 2 hours. At a time when economics is pushing and constraining ourselves into all our spheres of life, political theater is a theater that has to deal with economics. The depressive character of this fact, that we are more and more obsessed with poetry in our world, that we have almost lost the primacy of the political to the economy, that we scarcely know that we also defend the achievements of the protection of our freedom must against the enemies of the open society – all this causes Andres Veiel piece an intellectually stirred up – it stimulates and it also stirs up. Documentary filmmaker Andres Veiel opens the door for other theater people to tackle this issue as radically. The theater may feel called upon to experiment here with its forms of expression – for it must be possible to portray even highly condensed materials in a complex and dynamic world with many facets and levels. This future has not been written yet and, like any future, it is not without alternative.