“Birthday candles” at the Deutsches Theater Berlin: Every day the same dough – culture

“Eggs, butter, sugar, salt” – these are the ingredients that make up the latest evening at the Deutsches Theater Berlin. The recipe evokes constantly and again in Noah Haidle’s show “Birthday Candles”, which Anna Bergmann has now premiered in German at the Kammerbühne.

Her plot is that a woman – played by the extraordinary actress Corinna Harfouch – cooks cakes. Every year she bakes the same dough, mixing the same “simple ingredients” from time to time. From 17 to 107th birthday, a total of two theatrical hours.

Ernestine is intended as an example

It’s supposed to pass us a lifetime (of women), on the one hand somewhat exemplary as a product of the time and social circumstances in which she was born. On the other hand, it is also quite individual so that the engine of empathy can start in the audience.

So Corinna Harfouch stands at first as 17-year-old Ernestine in the scene of Jo Schramm, a rotating sight box, which later in particularly troubled situations likes to turn upside down or swing wildly back and forth, so that its inhabitants jump hopelessly from one corner slipping to another because of the influential forces of fate, of which Haidle truly manifests itself in abundance: the wrong man, the right man, divorce, marriage, mother’s happiness, death’s baby – everything is contained in the cake dough with threatening butter for the symbols.

[Mehr Neuigkeiten aus der queeren Welt gibt es im monatlichen Queerspiegel-Newsletter des Tagesspiegel – hier geht es zur Anmeldung.]

But of course Ernestine does not know this in the opening scene, but she wants – a bloody teenager she is – to “rebel against the universe” and “fight against the everyday”. To underline her desire for life, she occasionally jumps nervously from one foot to the other in front of the kitchen table, in front of which she – Cut – is soon seen standing in a more down-to-earth way.

And this in the company of a man (Alexander Khuon) whom, with all due respect, you should call every day and with whom she talks about the progress of their son Billy (Enno Trebs)’s piano lessons. This, too, is something that – the surprise – is relatively mediocre.

Ingredients can be simple

It can happen that the ingredients of the butter cake are simple, says a motto that seems to be spoken by all the ever-growing family members here every year. “But,” he continues, “if you go back and look far enough, you will see atoms that have been there since creation.”

It is quite reassuring that there are people in the married part of Ernestine’s family who admit in a late hour that they too did not really find what they were looking for when looking into the distance.

[Deutsches Theater Berlin, nächste Vorstellungen am7., 8., 15. und 28. Mai]

Because birthday dramaturgy is definitely a trick to not having to understand the characters at the end, to tell life only in acne, up and down: Ernestine turns fifty, end, husband cheats. Cutting.

Ernestina is celebrating her sixties, Peak, she has made the butter cake her job and is self-employed. Cutting. Ernestine turns eighty plus and gets married, roof again, finally the right person. Cutting. Ernestina bakes the dough for the ninetieth time, finally, the right boy has cancer. Cutting.

She turns the butter cake to work

It’s more of a photo album than a life the American playwright is browsing here, a series of Polaroids. If anyone does not remember, “Birthday Candles” really gives her a helping hand – and that’s exactly how Anna Bergmann organizes the evening. Here a Pan-Am car is projected into the script, there a retro song is stuck and there the little jump begins.

Corinna Harfouch, who does not lean towards kitsch, is a pleasure to watch as she elaborates her way through the decades. And the ensemble rolls on the punched lines served by Haidle. Be Bernd Stempel as Kenneth’s long-despised family friend with his (self) ironic ingenuity, Franziskamachens in all tragically exaggerated roles and Kathleen Morgeneyer in very soft roles for this world, as well as Alexander Khuon. as the homophobic husband who has to let his son ask him how he can actually live without having “his impulse”. And whoever responds says, “Somehow we will succeed.”

Well, and the end? Let’s put it this way: But nothing came from the challenge of the universe? After all, great family happiness worked in the end.

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