“…we are afraid to show our true selves…”

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Austrian writer Peter Turinni’s scandalous play “The Mouse Hunt”, which has been played in countless theaters around the world for the past 50 years, is presented for the first time in Greece.

Also under the direction of an Austrian director Martin Scharnhorst and the film, starring Marilena Kavazis and Fotis Lazarou, goes to two final performances on June 1 and 2 at the Studio Mavromichali theater (Mavromichali 134, Athens).

Martin Scharnhorst spoke with us.

When did you first come into contact with the play and on what occasion did you direct it this year?

“I think it was at the premiere of another Peter Turrini play at the Volkstheater in Vienna in 1989. That evening we met with Turrini and discussed the Rat Hunt project.

Together with the translator Gianna Tsokou, we have been trying to upload this work in Greece since 2003. “Last year, the application was approved by the Ministry of Culture, and thus we were given the opportunity to produce for the first time in Greece.”

Photo: Danai Nikolopoulou

Have you watched the show in another country? How did you feel when you came in contact with the project?

“I attended a performance at the Schöwpilhaus Stadt in Leipzig, where I have been directing since 1992. It starred Ute Loeck and Jochen Noch, directed by Konstanze Lauterbach; both actors were amazing then! I was very impressed by how powerful, existential and radical the work was.” .

Why was there a scandal when the play was presented at the Volkstheater in 1971?

“The scandal did not happen only in the Volkstheater, it was a sign of the times and it happened in other European theaters as well. Twenty-six years after World War II, societies were engulfed in a massive wave of consumerism and capitalism, which caused people to become strangely distant from one another. Peter Turrini removed this fake mask and removed the symbols of false identity.

Exposure of social hypocrisy was not tolerated in Vienna at that time, but the politically left-wing Volkstheater dared to reflect these social events, since it had already broken the so-called Brecht-Boycott a few years earlier.

How can a work presented 50 years ago be relevant?

“The quality of this work lies in the ever-present problems of human existence. As humans, we are afraid to show our true colors. We create an image of our environment that contains a lot of false information so that we can follow the strict rules of society so that others will “love” us, etc. Abandoning this game is penalized for it, and this very topic; Makes “Rat Hunt” relevant. We change the parameters, but the content does not change much.”

A few words from you about the story and the characters of the play?

“The couple meets for the first time in a strange and lonely place (heterotopic), near a city where “He” (the characters are not named in the play!!!) often comes and is used to filming. rats. The two (He and She) are somehow with each other are interested and leave behind their fake profiles to get to know each other better, to get rid of the alienation and emotional loneliness.. but a provocative result awaits them.

Two characters work in a car repair shop as an accountant and he as a mechanic…”

Would you like to share a memorable scene or line from this year’s play?

“I’ll tell you a line that expresses the main dilemma of the characters in getting to know each other. “He: …and I realized it’s just a car… something, do you understand me? something is something and nothing else.”

Your next professional plans?

“I am currently working on a dramatization of Franz Kafka’s text “Silence of the Sirens” on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the author’s death; I hope that the grant will be approved so that we can present this play again this year at the Department of German Philology of the University of Athens, the Municipality of Athens, etc.

In addition, I intend to present a play in German for young people with my main character Marilena Cavazis 40 times. The play takes place in the classroom without the students knowing in advance that they are participating in a theatrical performance! And there are many things that come to my mind.

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