A Matter of Seconds

"Plateaux", 1rst episode: Young directors at the Mousonturm

Von Sylvia Staude

13.11.2000 / Frankfurter Rundschau


Helgard Haug, Stefan Kaegi and Daniel Wetzel show in their performance, which is with one and a half hours by far the longest piece of the “Plateaux“ evening, how disconnected things are pieced together in such an intelligent way that they highlight each other. For the project “Kreuzworträtsel Boxenstopp“ (“Crossword Pitstop“) they had been able to work with four elderly ladies, two of them live right opposite to the Mousonturm in the GDA-Home a home for the elderly. Together, they created texts which deal which old age and motor racing. On one hand you have your life slowing down, a battle to save the remains of one’s mobility, which is very often tedious and you need a “trainer“ who will take care of you – on the other you find the hunt for fractions of a second, and the ambition to get body and mind into a state of ultimate fitness, but again your are dependent on helping hands, especially at the pit stop. And while we hear that Schumacher’s technicians were faster than Häkkinen’s by 1.2 seconds we see the old ladies carefully placing their steps: “at our age, we reach maximum speed when we fall down and break the neck of the femur“ as one of the ladies says.

The infirmaties of age are dealt with in openness and with a dry sense of humour, and the audience which is predominantly of the younger generation is amused. But beyond this amusement, Haug, Kaegi and Wetzel and their actresses achieved to convey a lot of how it might be to be old. This message manifests itself not only in the texts but also in the form of the piece: there are repetitions, pauses and delays. And there are little moments of sudden action, for instance, shooting with a sling: An unexpected action of speed which a seated, fragile elderly lady can perform.

And if at the end one of the ladies does forget her text slightly then something else is revealed: Tohe “moments of greatest truth“ as Daniel Wetzel calls it. Even though the piece is precisely structured, it leaves space for imperfection and none for embarrassment. After all, fragility is one of the themes of “Kreuzworträtsel Boxenstopp“, and the way they are approached is as much charming as it is intelligent.

If, in future, the Mousonturm (by the way, with financial aid from the Deutsche Bank) is able to discover such up-and –coming theatre, let’s hope there will be many more platforms.


Kreuzworträtsel Boxenstopp