By Gerald Siegmund
12.11.2000 / Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung
FRANKFURT. The GDA–Home is located directly next to the Mousonturm. The worlds of the home for the elderly and of the theatre, however, do not touch each other. Even though they are in direct proximity they know just as little from one another as youth from old age. With their exciting and beautiful project, “Kreuzworträtsel Boxenstopp“, the young directors Helgard Haug, Stefan Kaegi and Daniel Wetzel connect these two worlds. Together with two residents of the home and two actresses they developed a project for “Plateaux“, a platform for young theatre directors. Its topic is motorcar-racing. Haug and Wetzel used to work with their team “Ungunstraum“, Stefan Kaegi with “Hygiene Heute“. The three directors are connected by their theatre which interferes with reality, either as an intervention at a particular location, or by bringing representatives of a specific way of life after intense research onto the stage.
“Kreuzworträtsel Boxenstopp“ also lives of this complex playing about with reality and fiction. There is a greyzone in the middle of it where one thing cannot be differentiated from the other. To achieve this, Helgard Haug, Stefan Kaegi and Daniel Wetzel levelled the approaches to the theme finely. The actress Martha Marbo tells the story’s framework of the manager of the race who tries to entice the four “old chaps“ to leave the reserve bench and join the race once more. This is the purely fictional part of the play. And Ulrike Fahlke, resident of the home, reads out a kind of diary in which experiences of the rehearsals and details of the world of motor racing are mixed together. Christiane Zerda covers for one of the residents. She talks about the advantages of her hearing aid with the broken gestures of the actress. When Wera Düring, the second resident of the home, doesn’t go up and down with a lift or shoots little balls with a sling into the audience, steps up to the ramp and asks questions.
The contrast between the theme and the scenic realisation makes the special charm of “Kreuzworträtsel Boxenstopp“. Motor racing is male, young and fast. The actresses are female, old and slow. “What does an old voice tell that a young one doesn’t?“ is one of Frau Fahlke’s questions. This sums up the discrepancy which is the inner motor of this production. The play about the four elderly ladies who once more enter a race is transformed into a metaphor of the race track of life itself. Just before the finishing line, the four assert themselves quick-witted and with a sense of humour in a reality which is not theirs. And exactly in doing so they give back to the theatre its lost dignity and truth which contemporary theatre has too often exchanged for cheap reproduction of common and familiar reality.