Reise durch die Nacht

Night Train

after the text by Friederike Mayröcker

  • Theatre
  • Video
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The 2013 archive

Katie Mitchell

Londres - Cologne / First time in France

Reise durch die Nacht © Christophe Raynaud de Lage / Festival d'Avignon


In Journey through the Night, Friederike Mayröcker writes that she rejects in no uncertain terms the way in which linear narration organizes our experience. This would surely please Katie Mitchell, whose stagings refuse to submit to the yoke of a too codified theatre language. On stage, she deploys all the virtuosity of her theatre filmed live to serve the fervour of the flow of wild consciousness that permeates the Austrian writer's novel. In a night train connecting Paris to Vienna, Regina, the narrator, forces herself to write a speech for her father's funeral and gathers fragmentary memories of her childhood, buried in a traumatic past that seems to no longer want to rise to the surface. This sleepless night is filled with fleeting visions, whose disturbing vividness gnaws at the personality of this woman in the prime of life. Everything and everyone, even her companion, suddenly seems foreign to her and inspires a deep aversion. In search of herself, she hopes to find in a brief affair the healthy jolt that will pull her out of the somnolence into which her existence has sunk. To make Regina's story fully resonate, Katie Mitchell offers her an ingenious theatre showcase, recreating on stage a train car that flies by during the night, that the heroine walks through as though you might go back in time or dig through your subconscious. Using close-ups, the director's multimedia art closely examines the carnal palpitation of her characters and is bent on dissecting their emotions. Her aesthetics of simultaneity serves, here, the melancholy that is given off by the disturbing and sensual experience of the narrator, interpreted with a great deal of accuracy by Julia Wieninger, one of Katie Mitchell's favourite actresses. Metaphor of a life, this train journey takes the mysterious twists and turns of the human conscience and carries the spectator along in a subtle psychological thriller. MS

“I live in images.” Friederike Mayröcker builds literary landscapes in which imagination blossoms with dazzling speed. It was in Vienna in the post-war years that she published her first poems in the avant-garde review Plan, before venturing onto all the territories of writing through a prolix body of work, distinguished by the prestigious Georg Büchner prize in 2001. She initially made a living as an English teacher, then devoted herself entirely to literature, and today is considered one of the major writers of contemporary Germanic literature. Her extremely dense writing stands out through its experimental radicalness, akin to collages in abstract painting, as in the flow of consciousness of Reise durch die Nacht (Journey through the Night, 1987), in which personal memories and the urgency of writing become inseparable.


direction Katie Mitchell
adaptation Katie Mitchell with Duncan Macmillan
and Lyndsey Turner
video Leo Warner
scenography Alex Eales
costumes Laura Hopkins
sound Gareth Fry, Melanie Wilson
lighting Jack Knowles
film Grant Gee
direction assistant Lily McLeish, Stefan Nagel
dramaturgy Jan Hein

with Nikolaus Benda, Frederike Bohr, Ruth Marie Kröger, Renato Schuch, Maik Solbach, Julia Wieninger
and for camera in live Nikolaus Benda, Frederike Bohr,
Lily McLeish,
Renato Schuch, Maik Solbach, Christin Wilke


production Schauspiel Köln
coproduction Fifty Nine Production London
with the support of DB SNCF in cooperation
with the support of Alleo
L'Arche est agent théâtral de Friederike Mayröcker en langue française

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