Groundings, eine Hoffnungsvariante

(Groundings, une variation de l'espoir)

  • Theatre
  • Show
The 2004 archive

Christoph Marthaler


Groundings, eine Hoffnungsvariante © DR


Christoph Marthaler has amalgamated his experience as a playwright and as a musician in a type of theatre that is choral, burlesque and radical. Having trained as an oboe player, he started out with plays inspired by Dada, exploring the fears of his contemporaries or playing Schubert's Lieder. It was his legendary requiem for the GDR, Murx den Europäer ! Murx ihn ! Murx ihn ! Murx ihn ab ! (Shoot the European, Shoot him) that gave this Swiss stage director international recognition. Today he is the director of Zurich's Schauspielhaus. His staging often takes the form of a polyphonic partition set out as precisely as a musical score, in which an army of universal Godots act out their humanity in waiting rooms and cafés.

Groundings, une variation de l'espoir (Groundings, a variation on hope)
It's an amusing tale of a wreckage, an emergency landing (grounding). That of a Swiss airline company, of an entire society, of a whole civilisation. Seen through the collapse of Swissair, the flagship of an over-protected country, a world falls apart and refuses to face up to it. This story also has a telescopic angle: at the time when this social and national drama shook Switzerland to its foundations, Christoph Marthaler was threatened with dismissal by his board of directors. The director of one of the most stimulating theatres in Europe felt as though he were experiencing a miniature version of the crash of Swissair. Rediscovering the cathartic function of theatre, a release and purge of passions allowed on stage, Christoph Marthaler wrote this caustic and musical farce. Managers revel in the administrative Esperanto of the bosses of the new economy, and play out, from their ejection seats, the comedy of business strategy. In the cosy neutrality of the market, everything is streamlined as fast as possible, actors are rented out like reactors, debts are cancelled by giving employees the chance to work one month for free. To the sound of popular tunes, the art world is mixed up with the dollar world, entrepreneurs adopt in unison the jargon of bazaar philosophy, poke fun at the dealers' world, as solid as a cardboard decor. A song is heard again, like the music piped through loud-speakers in a lift: “The song of The Berezina”...


a project by : Christoph Marthaler, Stefanie Carp et Anna Viebrock
direction : Christoph Marthaler
cast : Peter Brombacher, Jean-Pierre Cornu, Ueli Jäggi, André Jung, Jürg Kienberger, Bernhard Landau, Matthias Matschke, Karin Neuhäuser, Josef Ostendorf, Sebastian Rudolph
scenography and costumes : Anna Viebrock
music : Jürg Kienberger, Christoph Marthaler
dramaturg : Stefanie Carp
lighting : Herbert Cybulska
assistant director : Ingo Berk


production : Schauspielhaus Zürich
avec le soutien de : Pro Helvetia, Fondation suisse pour la culture

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