Hhat one ever seen such a magnificent octopus on stage? One who, like the amazingly flexible actress Ursina Lardi, is constantly screwing her limbs into new directions, rolling them in and extending them again, making herself small and then big again, while letting her intelligent skin glitter, that in the end there really is something like a Kraken consciousness becomes tangible? In addition, it is the consciousness of a living being whose eight arms, nine brains and three hearts are always so much in conflict about their own nature, their own longings, fears and ways of dying, as if it were an inner dispute on the seabed is in fact a philosophical in-depth seminar without an auditorium.
The wondrous cephalopod, highly intelligent and damned because he has to die after only four years, is not only able to deceive his victims in the most artistic way by acting with foresight and changing his color a hundredfold. In the event of an attack, he can also imitate other sea creatures in a deceptively real way. The adaptation, the role reversal, the simulation of foreign identity, thus archetypes of theater, are the concern of this production, which is most explicitly depicted with the octopus. “I’ve been watching you for a long time,” she says boldly to the deep-sea explorer, who thinks he’s only just discovered the animal with his deep-sea explorer’s eyes. One spat sentence and the prevailing conditions are turned upside down.
People and animals are crazy about comfort here
The Salzburg premiere of Thorsten Lensing’s first piece was awaited with great excitement. As a director, the co-founder of the Berlin theater T1 has had a reputation as an uncompromising loner for years. Because he only produces every few years, and that beyond the usual city and state theater structures. Instead, he relies on cooperations with festivals and independent stages – “Crazy for Consolation” will be shown next in September in the Berlin Sophiensäle. The director’s signature, which he already showed in Chekhov’s “Cherry Orchard”, Nestroy’s “Chief Evening Wind” or the stage adaptation of “Infinite Fun”, is also noticeable in “Mad for Consolation”: a sparse room with few object symbols ( Stage: Gordian Blumenthal, Ramun Capaul) allows a glimpse into the theater machine, so that we never forget where we are in these three and a half hours. In addition, an ensemble that Lensing has been working with for years and that is able to balance on the fine line between anarchy and seriousness as skilfully as it can only succeed in emphatic actor’s theater.