“We were gone.” “No, we were in home office.” A catchy piano number unwraps the first 10 minutes to titters in the audience. Singers from Afrikan Voices and the Bulgarian Voices Berlin join Fabian Hinrichs on the stage. So far, so good.
Then a merciless 30-minute monologue of moaning begins. “GEHT ES DIR GUT?” Hinrichs screeches repeatedly at the audience. A few decidedly unfunny jokes about 1.5 metre social distancing, masks and corona, then the war, and back and forth he goes between these two onerous subjects. Again, and again, and again, and again.
It’s hard to like such a piece and many audience members left the auditorium mid-way through. What Hinrichs and theatre director René Pollesch are trying to do is pretty meta – an attempt to provoke reflection on the depression-inducing habit of endlessly scrolling through the news as everyone else seems to leave you behind for a better place.
There are some good things though. The set – complete with a space rocket – is impressive. It’s not until the break-dancers from Berlin Flying Academy arrive and have a dance-off that you finally start to relax and enjoy the piece. But it’s far too late. The performances by Afrikan Voices and the Bulgarian Voices Berlin seemed to just be tacked on the end, which was rather a shame as they were both excellent.
A play about depression and hopelessness was always going to be a hard sell. But it shouldn’t be such a relief to be 1.5 metres out of the door.