"God of Carnage" author Yasmina Reza celebrates the premiere of her new play "James Brown wore hair curlers" in Munich's Residenztheater.
Directed by Philipp Stölzl.
Let's start with the small sensation.
At Yasmina Reza's personal request, her new play "James Brown wore curlers" celebrated its world premiere on Friday evening not somewhere in France, but in Munich's Residenztheater.
The only condition of one of the most performed playwrights of our time: Philipp Stölzl should direct.
Anyone who has read Reza's play, which has just been published in German (Hanser Verlag), and now sees what the Munich director makes of it, understands why.
With his staging, Stölzl takes everything one step further, sometimes to the absurd.
The tragic comedy inherent in Reza's text is driven by the director and his captivating ensemble through slapstick, virtuoso physicality (training: Paulina Alpen), expressive facial expressions,
well-placed breaks and one or the other witty surprise to the top.
Just to get one thing straight: Gaga is all here.
Not just Jacob (Vincent zur Linden).
Reza fans already know him from her novel “Lucky the Happy”.
The son of Pascaline and Lionel Hutner thinks he is the singer Celine Dion.
His parents, on the other hand, think that's pretty stupid.
And quarter Jacob in a clinic.
It is run by an unnamed psychiatrist.
And the way Lisa Wagner plays her makes it clear: This Frau Doctor isn't exactly the best either.
Fairy tale hour: Lisa Wagner, as a psychiatrist, tells of Cinderella.
© Sandra Then
No one can pull the bored pout as beautifully as Wagner.
She often pulls them that evening.
Representing everyone who is fed up with having to seriously discuss in the 21st century that people in a society that prides itself on being free can really be free.
Every little animal has its own pleasure.
As long as the little animal doesn't harm anyone else, it can live out its pleasures as it pleases.
And if that means only wanting to be addressed as “Céline”.
A bit crooked, of course.
But it doesn't hurt anyone.
Namely the parents.
Stölzl allows Lionel and Pascaline Hutner and their son to drift apart more and more through a turntable installed in the stage floor.
It's wonderful how Michael Goldberg plays the father who struggles with his identity just as much as his son, with a frozen, constantly overwhelmed face.
Lionel knows what's expected of him as "head of the family" - but being the wimp he sees himself as, he can't even ask for pool chairs for the family at the pool.
Juliane Köhler as a grinning mother only pretends to be genuinely interested in her son.
When he sings her a song he has written himself, she screeches and dances along enthusiastically without even paying attention to the lyrics for a second, which could be something like a self-revelation from the boy.
No character is innocent
And yet what the psychiatrist says at one point applies.
In fairy tales as in life: no character is innocent.
Reza manages that we never take sides.
It would be obvious to let his heart fly to the two young men, because Jacob and his friend Philippe (Johannes Nussbaum), who thinks he is black, manage to free themselves from social conventions.
But aren't they also brutal in ripping out their own roots?
How does detachment not turn into a painful amputation?
Philippe's struggle for his imaginary black fellow sufferers is a barb cleverly placed by Reza in the debate about cultural appropriation.
Interesting thought: Is it okay if you're fighting for a good cause like Philippe in his madness?
The psychiatrist speaks the central monologue of the brisk, 100 minutes (no break) short evening.
Reza lets her stand at a desk in the stage directions.
Philipp Stölzl gives her a few more effective props.
Dummy human feet – the movie man just knows how to amuse the audience with simple tricks.
(Read here: Philipp Stölzl's cinema success "Schachnovelle") It's also ridiculous, this fairy tale about Cinderella, which the doctor is now reporting.
What does it tell us?
"In a narrative where only the good, beautiful is worthy of a king's son, the two sisters don't stand a chance.
Not even one for pity when they mutilate themselves with desperate brutality to make their feet fit." And yet we little people in need of love try everything,
to somehow squeeze ourselves into this glittery shoe called convention.
Hearty applause, also for the traveled author.
Next performances on March 30 and April 10 and 22, 2023;
Telephone 089/ 21 85 19 40.