René Polesch opens with on-screen tribute to Volksbuhne in Berlin

sDon’t look at this city. Don’t watch this theater. Not on their legends, but on their delusional sufferings and false declarations of love. Instead of: Check out this curtain. This fiery red, feather-light fabric. Which would never otherwise be in the center, which would never be told otherwise. Here he is the main character. First it hangs seductively as the limits of our perception, the revelations of our imagination. Then she rises and falls, begins to fly, making many small tents or covers the whole stage in a gentle silence. Supported by a multitude of traffic lights, material chosen by Leonard Newman floats through the area. A breath of nothing, a promise, even a concession to true fairness: suddenly a white rabbit appears beneath him and is lost in a circle.

Leonard is the son of stage designer Burt Newman, who died early and who burned the house here several evenings. So a little respect for the past. But now no one remembers. No biting cross-references to theater insiders, no ties to the long castorf era, no departure from the deadly years of the interlude: something new is beginning now. But it happens without much fanfare, without fireworks. The new artistic director René Polesch opened its first season modestly at the Volksbühne in Berlin. Almost as if he wanted to say: from now on it will be easy and honest again. No megalomania. We stick to our last.

clever discourse

To the left and right of the portal, beautiful portrait photographs of two circus performers are set in vast expanse: to the left a tamer in a gleaming dress, a bouquet of flowers in her hand, looking hopefully straight ahead. To the right is a tightrope walker in a bathrobe, leaning carelessly against a taut line, his hand behind his neck, his head slightly tilted to one side. These are the idols of the evening, the portal characters of the new season. Going Back to the Circus is the motto, for a happy desire for change, a supposedly pre-political debut. “But what is the beginning?” The question is repeated on this simply beautiful evening, which is not influenced by any current fashion. Because the fashion, Polesh itself was for a long time, stilted and ironically fragmented with its clever discourse. Criticism of capitalism for late bourgeois academics with a sense of theatrical play of disillusionment.

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Margartia Breitkreuz at René Polesch’s opening evening
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Image: Christian Thiel

Now the zeitgeist has passed him off and declared him an old man who has now descended into the ruler’s already hated position. But those apologizing and protesting in front of their home (“people’s stage squatters” still exist, they now unite with “lateral thinkers”) and sit in the audience as well. “Young people, people with gray hair, put on old makeup,” asks Polesh what had long seemed a thing of the past: the beauty of art.

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