Oma oder Alles Paletti!

Oma oder Alles Paletti! [literally: Granny, or Everything’s Peachy!]
Director: Michaela Ehrenstein
Writer: Elfriede Hammerl
Cast: Anita Kolbert, Eva Christina Binder, Barbara Edinger, Stefanie Gutmann, Georg Müller-Angerer, John Fricke, Alfons Noventa
Seen on: 30.3.2022
[Full disclosure: I know Elfriede Hammerl personally.]

Oma (Anita Kolbert) used to be a scientist. But now she has grown old and society has no room for an old woman, except for working as a “rented” grandmother. But Oma was never the parental type and after yet another family lets her go, Oma gets relegated to a Senior Sanctuary. Her ticket out of there: Viktor (Georg Müller-Angerer [though on the day I saw the show, Michaela Ehrenstein had to step in for him]), a young successful type missing his own grandmother. What starts as a convenient arrangement leads both of them to reconsider the world around them.

Oma oder Alles Paletti! is an entertaining play that carries quite a punch. It doesn’t quite seem to know how to end, but given how many good points it makes in a funny way before that, it is still very much worth seeing.

Oma (Anita Kolbert), Viktor (Georg Müller-Angerer) and Beate (Barbara Edinger) looking depressed.

Oma oder Alles Paletti! unfolds its story in vignettes. The scenes are more or less directly connected and examine a world that is not that much unlike our own, only a little more open in its disdain for so-called “unproductive members of society” – the old. The unemployed. The poor. And fate can change pretty quickly, turning you from productive into unproductive in the blink of an eye. And there really isn’t any escape – it is a global system.

While most people struggle just to get by, there are precious few who profit from this system and exploit others any way they can. And they barely realize that’s what they’re doing, they’re so far removed from other people.

Oma (Anita Kolbert) fighting with the Public Official (John Fricke) as Viktor (Georg Müller-Angerer) and Beate (Barbara Edinger) watch them.

Those are just a few topics that Hammerl puts into the play in a biting, pointed way that often wrenches a laugh from you even as you swallow at the truth of it. Despite the sheer density of issues, the play doesn’t feelt too much thanks to its sense of humor and the spirited cast who really work it well.

The play does seem to lose its step a little towards the end. I got the feeling that it didn’t quite know on what note to end. To end hopefully without any meaningful changed having occurred seems naive, to end without hope nihilistic. So the film ends with uncertainty. I would have liked a more decisive ending (maybe one that hints at revolution). But other than that, I really enjoyed myself at my first theater visit in years (literally).

Oma (Anita Kolbert) having a drink with the Boss (Alfons Noventa) as Viktor (Georg Müller-Angerer) and Beate (Barbara Edinger) huddle behind them.

Summarizing: insightful and fun.

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