The 10 Selected Productions
Die Beteiligten [The Participants]
By Kathrin Röggla
Premiere 16 October 2010, Akademietheater
- 1h 45, no interval
It sounds like an evil fairy tale: a ten year-old child vanishes without trace in a suburb of Vienna and reappears eight years later as a young woman. A lone psychopath keeps her as a slave in a dungeon until she succeeds in escaping during a “free walk”. Natascha Kampusch has since become a media figure, one whose fate we consume in every detail. This vampire-like participation is Austrian author Kathrin Röggla’s theme. Six so-called ‘participants’ circle the absent girl in subjunctive language while also appropriating sentences of the victim herself. The director Stefan Bachmann with his Vienna company does not simply find a fitting image: at one point they all pose in blond wigs and purple headscarves. He repeatedly destroys the sterility of the video link demonstration with brutal horror. The kidnapper becomes the wolf from ‘Little Red Riding Hood’, the ‘participants’ transform into a pack of gorillas and a Falco double raps cynically: “No-one’s going to find you, you’re with me!” The theatre delivers an image of a mediated society from which it cannot exclude itself.