Theatre | The 10 Selected Productions

Die heilige Johanna der Schlachthöfe

By Bertolt Brecht

Schauspielhaus Zürich

Premiere 29 September 2012

Die heilige Johanna der Schlachthöfe, © © Tanja Dorendorf / T+T Fotografie

Die heilige Johanna der Schlachthöfe. Yvon Jansen, Isabelle Menke (below); at the back: Samuel Braun, Gottfried Breitfuss © Tanja Dorendorf / T+T Fotografie

Public discussion 14 May 2013, following the performance
Haus der Berliner Festspiele, Bornemann Bar / Kubus
with the ensemble and Christine Wahl (jury)
Moderation Barbara Burckhardt

The performances will be recorded by 3sat.

Since the birth of neoliberalism at the beginning of the millennium, Brecht’s classic business play is performed simply everywhere and mostly transferred as close to the present as possible. At first glance, nobody makes Brecht’s “Saint Joan” look older than Sebastian Baumgarten in Zurich.

A piano player’s jazzy rhythms pervade her; Brecht’s blank verse, usually a little antiquated, sounds like a libretto straight from the 1920s. The business men wear latex half-masks, straight out of a production by Ruth Berghaus, which wipe their faces empty of emotion. Meanwhile, the Kings of Cool look irretrievably ridiculous in their cowboy hats and their grotesque costumes – it’s as if someone had raided a dusty alienation storage room at the Berliner Ensemble. This is roughly what the East imagined capitalism would look like in the 1950s. But the further away the production pushes Brecht’s script, the more the old story seems to come closer. The laws of supply and demand have not changed; where morals and intelligence exist, they are mostly used to secure one’s own interests. The difference is that a solution is no longer in sight, not even as a utopian dream. Only at the end does the outward appearance of Baumgarten’s production reach the here and now. The markets have recovered, wages may be 30 percent lower, prices 30 percent higher and there may be 30 percent more unemployment, but that’s just the way it is. 70 percent at least get by fairly well.

Directed by Sebastian Baumgarten
Stage design Thilo Reuther
Costume design Jana Findeklee, Joki Tewes
Music Jean-Paul Brodbeck
Video Stefan Bischoff
Lighting design Gerhard Patzelt
Dramaturgy Andrea Schwieter

Joan Dark, lieutenant in the Black Straw Hats Yvon Jansen
Mauler, meat king Markus Scheumann
Cridle, a meat packer Jan Bluthardt
Graham, a meat packer Lukas Holzhausen
Slift, a broker Carolin Conrad
Mrs Luckerniddle Isabelle Menke
Gloomb, a worker Samuel Braun
Paulus Snyder, major in the Black Straw Hats Sean McDonagh
Martha, a Black Straw Hat Alejandra Cordona
Mulberry, a landlord Gottfried Breitfuss
Worker / Labour Leader Gottfried Breitfuss, Samuel Braun
Stockbreeders Alejandra Cordona, Sean McDonagh
Detective Samuel Braun
Waitress Alejandra Cordona