In the Gorki Theater it smells sweet and greasy like roast pork. The Turkish housekeeper Fatima (Tina Keserovic) serves it on fine china in a Wannsee villa. The room has a tasteful symmetry: a double staircase made of dark wood, presumed looted art and Wilhelminian style lamps hang on the walls, Furtwängler conducts Beethoven on the radio, fine spirits glisten in crystal bottles in the house bar, the recently shot hind Agathe looks into the room as a trophy . Everything is black and white, even the flame in the fireplace. Of course, one has to think of the villa where 15 high-ranking Nazis held the Wannsee Conference under the direction of Heydrich in January 1942 to coordinate the Jewish question between their authorities – that is, to organize the removal of the Jews and their industrial extermination.
The installation piece “Geschwister”, written and directed by Ersan Mondtag, takes place 25 years later, on June 2, 1967. They meet to celebrate Grandpa Otto’s 87th birthday, although he is already dead. Man and woman (Falilou Seck and Çiğdem Teke) are sitting at the ends of the table – all of them also colorless and stiff down to the earlobes – on the long side their two young adult daughters and the still childish, stuttering son. The roast is excellent, the mother allows Fatima to take a slice if there is anything left. this is a joke Fatima is a Muslim.
The atmosphere is tense. The radio reports that young Reds paid by the East are protesting against the Shah of Persia in front of the German Opera on Bismarckstrasse and that a ringleader has been shot. The children were late because of that. Daughter Eva-Maria (Yanina Cerón) tries to save the evening, her sister Elisabeth (Lea Draeger) throws up in the soup bowl, downs the schnapps from the bottle and turns the radio up loud: she speaks at the protests herself for example of judges who have slipped out of their Nazi robes and continue to judge.
This is directed against her father, who this evening also has to celebrate that he, together with the former Nazi public prosecutor Eduard Dreher, initiated the introductory law to the law on administrative offenses (EGOWiG), the first article of which stipulates the level of punishment for Nazi Assassin’s accomplices – only those at the top of the chain of command were considered murderers anyway – would be mitigated. With that, their actions would have become statute-barred since May 8, 1960. It will be less than a year before it is adopted. You can puke in the soup there. This dinner lasts an agonizing hour, then everyone goes to bed. Elisabeth turns on the gas stove, closes the door and disappears.
At this point there is a time jump of 33 years to September 11, 2000. Color moves in. It’s Fatima’s (now played by Sema Poyraz) last day as housekeeper. The gas attack didn’t work, Elisabeth died in an accident linked to protests and now her parents have also died of natural causes. Eva-Maria (Ariane Andereggen) and Friedrich (David Bennent) have grown older and are coming home to take on their inheritance. They disagree about how to deal with the family archives and fight over the key.
The Nazi murderers continue: NSU
Meanwhile Fatima is leaving, she will have to sell flowers like her brother. The radio plays, she doesn’t listen to the report of a florist who has been shot in Langwasser. It is the first murder by the National Socialist Underground (NSU). That is the bitter point of the evening: The NSU scandal with the blind spots and entanglements of the authorities proves how deep the legacy of the perpetrators is in the structures of this society.
So little happened on this evening of theater, so much he wants to tell. About the suppressed guilt of the Germans, which suddenly reappears in the next generation and the one after that. From the corrupted souls of the perpetrator families, in which the poison continues to waft and settle in the pores like the smell of roast meat. The color conceptual trick, which makes it possible to shift the present and past into a nightmarish moment, is bold in its effort and also masterly in terms of craftsmanship.
The fact that the plot is set in an exemplary manner to the point of being striking does not change anything in terms of its functionality as a parable – but it helps to set yourself apart and relieve yourself as a viewer. How many of the Germans have been so close to the crucial points and involved in the decisive historical moments? The shortcoming of this parable is that Mondtag left out the love that unites the Nazi murderers and their children and grandchildren, and with which one has to come to terms just as much as with the dark legacy, which only becomes an identifying curse through this love. Without identification, however, the evening remains far away and harmless in its distance.
siblings 18, 26 June, 7.30 p.m. in the Gorki Theater, tickets on Tel.: 20 22 11 15 or gorki.de
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