Natsuko wants a baby, but without sex or relationships. The young woman spends her best years alone in Tokyo, though it remains unclear whether she does not really need reunion or is restrained by a mental illness. Isolated people also think about female models in Japan. Her tone is constantly naive and requires simple answers, which is probably a bit strange for a young writer. In Christopher Rüping’s very faithful adaptation of Mieko Kawakami’s novel “Chest and Egg”, which was published in German two years ago at the Thalia Theater in Hamburg, not too deep shyness defines the overall sound of the piece.
For three and a half hours, a small ensemble negotiated an obviously non-dramatic, obviously non-dramatic text, on the mostly empty stage. The lack of rhythm, depth, and real tragedy quickly raises the question of whether there may be a cultural misunderstanding for the viewer, whose patience is increasing. Rüping’s claim to stage a “particularly Japanese” novel that is “compatible with many people” uses two characterizations that immediately ignite cliché alarm clocks. But perhaps the director, unlike the theater guest, actually knows what “specifically Japanese” and “incredibly human” mean.
Two hundred years of women’s movement seem to fit on an A4 sheet
In terms of content, “Chest and Eggs” – a title that sounds like the usual copy of a Mario Barth evening, which probably explains why the premiere sold so poorly – actually contains nothing that has not been around in Germany for decades that has been discussed. in Bravo, RTL and university seminars: the difficulties of puberty in the face of commercial models, the struggle of single mothers, the self-determination of women over their bodies to cosmetic surgery, male violence. However, in Rüping’s work these themes are touched upon so superficially that the collected emancipatory material of the two hundred years of the women’s movement would be on an A4 page.
So, is it paycheck that justifies this long, long evening? Now, shame, which far-flung Western viewers traditionally claim to be an intense socializing factor in Japan, is a rather touching emotion. In the laconic way in which Hans Löw, for example, as Mrs. Makiko, tells an episode from the life of a minor bartender, who was so brutally raped that her jaw was broken, but who only wrote a note apologizing that it was not there, work can come. , this sharpness awakens briefly.
But even this episode remains thrown into a perpetual impromptu improvisation, which wants this production to look like a rehearsal situation, including the completely undefined content of baggy dresses and large suits (by Lene Schwind) and parts of ugly plywood stage (by Jonathan Mertz), which are used in Thalia theaters, where people have years of fear of real scenes, have occasionally been inserted into the great black hole of this poverty. However, as a consistent stylistic tool, the laconic way of speaking, the constant departure from the character with a smile, the easy negotiation of difficult topics only leads to the fact that the material is softened.
Surely they may like all of them, the characters with embarrassing intentions in this show, who aim to represent a distant culture while losing the culture they play for. Maike Knirsch, constantly avoiding ambiguities, smiling and embarrassed, obsessed with direct communication, actually suffers only from the fact that her problem was immediately understood. Nils Kahnwald’s emergence as the “king of sperm donors” brings the fun factor of a stage pig into play for a few minutes with detailed praise of his sperm values, before she calms down again. Oda Thormeyer as a cancer editor and Julian Grace as a teenage granddaughter who no longer speaks out of emotional pain complete the gallery of short-sketched women’s fates with loosely played anecdotes.
Rüping plays two roles with “Japanese expertise” so that the piece does not turn into a “tourist venture”: choreographer Saori Hala, who performs a very long dance of the baby cradle group in “Lay All Your Love On Me” of Abbas and, as the second actress of Japanese descent, Ann Ayano, contributed to various supporting roles. However, the guests are less concerned about the authentic stranger, whatever it’s supposed to be, and instead reinforce the aspect that all the roles in this show seem artificially too private to be true. So one would like to agree with the self-critical part of the passage when the editor explains: “Everywhere is written just to have children, to raise children and the joys and sufferings associated with it. Terrible! Why these banal things? If you write only for private things, you are, from my point of view, the author in the end.