Makulatur (Macula)

Director: Barbara-David Brüesch
Writer: Paulus Hochgatterer [German]
Cast: Franziska Hackl, Steffen Höld, Barbara Horvath, Katja Jung, Max Mayer, Christoph Rothenbuchner, Nikola Rudle
Part of: Wiener Festwochen

Jablonski (Steffen Höld) is surgeon who loves to spend his time on Schwedenplatz (one of Vienna’s busiest places) to watch people, eat Wurstsemmeln (sandwiches) and screw with the CCTV a bit. On Schwedenplatz there’s also a one-armed owner of a tobacco store (Katja Jung) who was recently robbed and starts flirting with the investigating police man (Christoph Rothenbuchner). He is obsessed with people parking in what he perceives as his spot, while his colleague (Franziska Hackl) obsesses on the fact that her gun sticks out from her hip. She, in turn, investigates the disappearance of Kerstin (Nikola Rudle) who ran away from her parents, an architect (Max Mayer) and a teacher (Barbara Horvath) and now shows up regularly in the above mentioned tobacco store.

Makulatur has the right ingredients.  I really did like the play and the actors were really good, but I absolutely hated the production. The stage design was on the wrong (e.g. stale) side of minimalistic and especially the transitions between scenes was incredibly obnoxious.

Hochgatterer is a talented writer with a good feeling for languages and his dialogues are interesting and keep you engaged. And the cast was perfect. Especially Katja Jung was great – just the right mix of bitterness and vulnerability for the role.

But despite that the play never really got off the ground. And I blame the production for that. The stage design – consisting only of three platforms and a few old TVs (that consistently showed black and white images, sometimes CCTV images, sometimes only interference) in front of a white brick wall with a door – was extremely boring and felt too stale and disconnected from the play.

But even worse where the transitions between scenes: the stage would go dark, very loud and obnoxious music would play, while the actor all walked across the stage once and then took in their new positions. After the first time I found it extremely disruptive and already had enough. Unfortunately, there were more transitions.

All of that made the whole thing a little difficult. And when they even burned a few sheets of paper on stage (fortunately that was towards the end of it), which had the entire theater stinking for the rest of the show, I was ready to have it over with. But it felt like such a waste.

Summarising: Maybe there will be a different production at some point. Then I’ll gladly give it another try.


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