17.06.2010 to 20.06.2010
Wiener Festwochen 2010: Die Kontrakte des Kaufmanns. Eine Wirtschaftskomödie - The Merchant’s Contracts. A Business Comedy
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Wiener Festwochen 2010: Die Kontrakte des Kaufmanns. Eine Wirtschaftskomödie - The Merchant\'s Contracts. A Business Comedy
Elfride Jelinek / Nicolas Stemann
Date: 17 jun to 20 jun and 20 jun at 19:30
Venue: HALLE E+G / HALLE E
Play / Cologne, Hamburg / AUSTRIAN PREMIERE
BY Elfriede Jelinek
Elfriede Jelinek\'s visionary corporate farce comments on recent Viennese financial scandals and the insanity of business jargon: the production uses the raging
floods of text to produce a visceral performance.
Elfriede Jelinek\'s \"business comedy\" was inspired by two financial scandals in Vienna: the trade union-owned bank BAWAG had speculated rashly and very unsuccessfully with workers\' retirement pensions, and Meinl Bank had squandered many small investors\' money on offshore certificates, all with the participation of a former Federal Minister of Finance. This motivated the author to write a highly topical and astute farce on this financial debacle even before the Lehman Brothers bust had hit the news. With her customary boundless linguistic inventiveness and utter relish, she parades the crisis before us through its \"ideology speak\". As in classical tragedies, there are a wailing chorus of bankrupt small investors and choruses of the executive floors, different positions of the same market ideology. The financial jargon as modified by Jelinek discloses all its absurdity, descending on the audience as if Capital itself were reciting, \"Money must be free. It is now on a beautiful island.\" In the last part, life takes the floor as victim and killer. Capital can now realise its true potential in peace and quiet because the small fry have been culled and victims are abolished. Out of this textual exuberance, Nicolas Stemann forges a virtuoso, entertaining and unstrained performance involving seven actors, three musicians, live camera and himself - a three-hour piece that garnered standing ovations from the premiere audience in Cologne. For its Austrian premiere, the references to Vienna - which had been toned down for Cologne and Hamburg - will be reinstated.
© David Baltzer