Ragnar Kjartansson | Volksbühne Berlin
11-23 March 2016
Opera in one act by Ragnar Kjartansson.
Composition by Kjartan Sveinsson in a recording by the German Film Orchestra Babelsberg.
A hero who does not die is an undependable hero. Only dead heroes are real heroes.
Isn’t it a universally acknowledged historical truth in our post-heroic age that sometime between 1758 and 1760 Frederick the Great, in the face of defeat after a gruelling seven-year war, saw this young soldier die miserably on the battlefield? Yes it is. Facing the finiteness of existence, it was then that Frederick took the decision to initiate a reconstruction programme at home! By October 14th 1806, after two lost battles, the empire that he, Old Fritz himself had build up, was wiped off the map without further ado. A confident power player had once entered the battleground, but in the eve of war everything that had been associated with it suddenly ceased to exist. Oh well, you gotta die someday!
Iceland-based artist Ragnar Kjartansson has developed a new piece for the Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz. Kjartansson: “I wanted to create a sculpture that is the essence of drama. The highlight, highpoint, the pinnacle. Krieg/War is a work for one actor with music, costumes and set.” Kjartan Sveinsson has composed a symphonic score played and recorded by the German Film Orchestra Babelsberg, a classic soundtrack for a tableau vivant depicting a historic theatre of war – complete with fumes, mud, dead bodies, blazing fires and all. Crows are wheeling above. A sublimely romantic sky arches over the scenery. A desperate soldier is dying a heroic theatre death from some bygone age; a death that could not even be matched by the corniest, most hysterical, overwhelming and beautiful Hollywood vision – let alone by history – in what feels like a never-ending act taking the drama’s climax to unbearable lengths – and even further to total absurdity.
“The sound and fury of war. The piece Krieg/War is theatre as an extreme emotion without narrative. This theatrical piece is based on a game I used to play as a boy in Iceland. I would stay for days in my parents back yard where there was a little hill, pretending to be a dying soldier. This piece is an ode to the art of the actor, the art of pretence and banality. Actor, act!“
Maximilian Brauer will die a heroic death on 11th March 2016 (premiere); further dyings take place on 12 March, 13 March, 19 March and 23 March 2016.
With: Maximilian Brauer
Director & Stage Designer: Ragnar Kjartansson
Composition: Kjartan Sveinsson
Recording: Deutsches Filmorchester Babelsberg
Costumes: Tabea Braun
Painters: Christoph Fischer, Anton Hägebarth, Camilla Hägebarth, Ragnar Kjartansson, Julia Krawczynski, Anda Skrejane
Light Design: Johannes Zotz
Visual Dramaturgy: Axel Hallkell Jóhannesson, Jana Wassong
Sound: Jörg Wilkendorf
Dramaturgy: Henning Nass