Market of Markets

By Helgard Haug / Daniel Wetzel

On the balcony of the Metropol cinema in Bonn 40 theatregoers sit every Wednesday and observe the end of the market place. We hear the voices of organisers, traders, stand owners, and economic experts...


„An Markt und Handel erkennt man den Wandel“ (The market and trade identify change…) is chiselled into the stone of Frankfurt’s stock market building, which will soon be closed. At Bonn’s weekly farmers’ market the same scenery is renewed every working day. Stands are set up, provisionally decked with goods, as if the market might break down entirely the next day.

In autumn 2003 Helgard Haug and Daniel Wetzel turned the market’s daily ‘small breakdown’ into a theatre piece and the marketplace into a stage. Extras have the text, because the principal performers are too busy. The piece begins on Wednesdays at 5.30 pm with a final round of the vocal sale of goods. 6.30 pm marks the end of sales, and around 7 pm the goal of consumption is 1:1. Before the cleaning machine sucks up the day’s artwork of leavings from the stones at around 7.30 pm, Stanic Gospava collects the ingredients for her daily soup.

On the balcony of the Metropol cinema in Bonn 40 theatregoers sit every Wednesday and observe the marketplace. Over headphones they hear portraits of the market traders, who are very busy while the performance is taking place, and commentators from other markets (Frankfurt Stock Exchange, the trading room of the Commerzbank Frankfurt/M., Future Store Rheinberg, etc.). Extras from the Theater Bonn cross the market as the principal performers and speak directly into microphones.

Markets come closer together in “Market of Markets” – the focal distance shifts from the local to the global market, the market square is transformed into a ‘trading floor’.

Market organisers, traders, stand owners, experts on the economy are all heard. If you listen carefully, you can hear the voice of Banana Collin turning into a dirge during the final sell-off. In parallel, opera extra Wolfgang Skoda is trying to move the grey market of ticket booking from Bayreuth to Bonn and exchange Parsifal for Tannhäuser ...

The model of this market production is the prevailing reality of trade. It is soon no longer clear whether the whole city hasn’t participated in this production and determined its course.

By: Helgard Haug, Daniel Wetzel
Video: Ahmed Bouygiousan, Alex Guslak, Thomas Hensch
Musical collaboration: Christopher Dell
Assistant director: Jens Kerbel
Dramaturgy: Michael Eickhoff and Stephanie Gräve
Leading extra: Hans-Jürgen Moll
With: Dustin Loose, Werner Niederastroph, Renate Schnause, Sue Schulze, Wolfgang Skoda, Zoltan Stadler, Bettina Winterhoff (extras from Theater Bonn), Uwe Freyberg and Jakob Hillebrandt (sellers at Bonn’s weekly farmers’ market), Thomas Hensch and colleagues (Bonn municipal cleaning authority), Jens Kerbel (stage manager)
Production: Theater Bonn
Premiere: Bonn, Metropol / Wochenmarkt, 24th of September 2003