Schaubühne Berlin: the cessation of talks in the slaughterhouse – culture

The night shift is over for the cleaning team at the meat factory. And foreman Jan, who likes to quickly put a piece of gum between his teeth before sending humiliating messages to his temporarily unsafe mixed workforce, has taken time for “one-on-one talks.” One minute for everyone, as you murmur with patronage among the masticatory muscles in the form of actor Damir Avdic.

At the moment Sonja is sitting in front of him, an introverted woman in her late forties with old shoes and other social signs that would actually be better received by the eighties and older: tape recorder with battery, purse with purse elderly, deliberately unstable step.

After hours of arduous cleaning of blood-stained plates and slaughter machines that look like torture benches and which have grown up in Schaubühne in Berlin in the most vivid realism by scenographer Natasha Jenkins, Sonja still has to endure the evaluation of its horrible little. . She should note her level of compliance with statements such as, “I’m regular.” Or: “I’m full of ideas.” And: “I like the pressure of time.”

Time pressure should be fun for employees

It is not known exactly if the woman played by Jule Böwe realizes that she is sitting here – displayed in the brightest neon light and surrounded by shelves and pallets of buckets of cleaning chemicals – in the plastic chair she brought herself for a purpose. of self-PR. It is even more certain that Jani is not satisfied. “In ‘I like the pressure of time’ you marked ‘Does not apply'”, he says, calculated and reprimanding, and puts his problematic face. She needs to think about how she herself can work to make time pressure “more fun” for her in the future.

British playwright and director Alexander Zeldin is deeply immersed in the environment he shows here in his production “Beyond Care”. “Research in the cleaning industry and in meat factories” including “his own experiences as a cleaner” formed the basis of the piece, informs Schaubühne on its website; The “real cleaning staff” was involved in the testing process.

Alexander Zeldin, whom regular visitors to Schaubühne already know from his FIND performance “Love” last year, is looking for “a new form of theatrical realism” in his works and therefore focuses “on the details smaller on stage “.

On tour vacations they sit at the Formica table

In other words, Zeldin’s presentation of the social microcosm in which bosses – as we learn – deduct toilet breaks that are perceived as too long should be obviously non-dramatic. Again and again you can see how Sonja, the naughty Becky (Julia Schubert), the young Ava (Hêvîn Tekin), who already suffers from rheumatism and is constantly being counted because of her work rhythm, and Michael (Kay Bartholomäus Schulze), who is always under tension, meet at a Formica table during the break of the shift. You look at them at first not talking clearly to each other and then at one point they talk. How they play against each other with the prospect of a supposedly permanent position and how they are blackmailed into undeclared work and how sums even cents for coffee machines represent an insurmountable barrier to consumption.

Zeldin works for the first time with the Schaubühne ensemble

Zeldin, who otherwise often has extra amateur actors, had already staged “Beyond Caring” in London in 2014. Now, at the show’s German-language premiere, he is working for the first time with the socially-tested Schaubühne ensemble realism.

And this is not the only thing that tends towards hyper-clarity with his looks, gestures, gait. But even the theatrical means used by the director himself sometimes take on a threatening symbolic character. Blacks, with their effective soundtrack, separating the scenes (pause) from each other, shout with almost every note: “Theater!” And the award for evening dramatization wins the small number of desolate sex that Becky and Michael. just before the end in that tile wall cutter, which must be carefully cleaned of the blood of the slaughtered animal before and after. Thus, sometimes, the line between this “new form of theatrical realism” and contemplation becomes blurred – at least for an audience that, for the most part, seems to have never thought about a lost euro in a coffee machine or everywhere else.

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