04/15/2024, 20:57, Vienna  DEUTSCH / ENGLISH

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Psychosis or wannabe art?

Event: Premiere: DER TRAFIKANT on 12/02/2016 at the Volx/Margareten
Author: Eva-Maria Wöls


The director Sebastian Schug and author Robert Seethaler bring the bestseller novel "Der Trafikant [N.T. owner of a "little" store like a tobacconist, corner store/kiosk]" to the theater stage:
Vienna 1937. The 17-year-old Franz Huchel is sent by his mother from the country to the city to a friend of the family, in order to learn how to become a tobacconist. Among the regular customers of the kiosk is the famous "Nut doctor" Sigmund Freud, which the young man befriends and seek advice for his love life. The difficult times of the late 1930s in Vienna and the relations of the persons acting with each other are to be discussed.

If you read the very well-designed program, you would say that this play is a serious story. Heavy stuff. Interesting/complicated relationships. But neither the (pre-war) period is felt in the performance or any kind of relationship between the actors. Everything stays on the surface. The main figure aptly remarked in one place: "we live in strange times". What should be funny about the story, one asks during the first act. Funny in the sense of witty or rather in the sense of confusing?

At the beginning the impression arises that it is a comedy. The supposedly serious action is caricatured. Further along of the first act, the play reminds one of a psychotic state. During the second act the viewer is bombarded with countless role changes (five actors play 25 (!) roles and act as stage performers), transcriptions, pictures, sounds, historical and contemporary background music and foreground live singing, the representation is largely "funny", and a serious background can only be assumed thanks to the over-stimulus....

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