Crazy characters in a sick relationship

by CHARLOTTE SCHULTZ

“Aber ich liebe dich!” These are the words that keep a strange, ‘altruistic’ ego-maniacal group of people together. The setting is anarchist Germany, where Molotov cocktails are being mixed, and cocaine is everywhere. The crazed- drugged-with-sleeping-pills Sydney accidentally shoots the person laying in her bed – assuming it’s her cheating partner. While her brother finds the love of his life embodied in a black, half German, half Dutch manwhore, and considers himself to be his savior.

Altruist was written by Nicky Silver in 1992, and directed in it’s current incarnation by Alexander Marusch. It is also the first performance of the ITs Festival 2011. Two actors from the Theatre Academy in Maastricht and three students of the Otto-Falckenberg-Schule in Munich, underwent a linguistic challenge. The show is entirely in German. Unfortunately without – eventhough announced, but sadly missing – subtitles. But despite the barriage of fluent German, the story became quite clear.

Jumping from scene to scene to another, the play slowly introduces  crazy characters and their sick relationship.  Aided by clear and systematic lighting, the stories and characters tangle together, mixed in with a decent amount of sex and nudity. Their mutual dependance does not prevent the tragic manwhore from being sarcificed – to save another from imprisonment. Altruist grabs hold.

The difference in acting technique between the two groups of actors makes it interesting to compare the two. Where the German students really seem to embody their characters,  the students from Maastricht primarily seem to ‘show’ themselves, basing their characters on their own life experiences. “May I borrow your lighter?” one says to the other. Abruptly in Dutch.

Asides like these seem to break the growing intensity of this piece, but still the show remains quite interesting. Much respect to these guys playing in German, but I still missed those subtitles.

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