The news that René Pollesch – the Volksbühne intendant to be – was developing a piece for the Friedrichstadt-Palast was among the most exciting theatre announcements in the city so far this year. Expectations were high: what would he do in a 2000-seat venue with the largest stage in the world? Pollesch certainly plays with the revue theatre’s rich arsenal of technical tricks, but does so with both irony and restraint. Where shows like Vivid – the Palast’s current big-budget performance – are sensually overwhelming, Pollesch programmes hyperactive laser sequences on an otherwise austere stage or choreographs an empty, remote-control walkway as if it were a character of its own. The director relies heavily on the set of the venue’s flagship production, in part to deliver a tongue-in-cheek meta-critique of such grand shows. But Pollesch can do a lot more with a lot less, as he has shown countless times before. Fabian Hinrichs, the sole protagonist of the evening, plays an endearing yet comical caricature of himself as is standard in Pollesch’s theatrical universe. The performance is also underpinned by a sense of melancholy untypical of both the director and actor, as Hinrichs recounts biographical tales of isolation and loneliness. This certainly is new ground for Pollesch and perhaps offers a glimpse of what could come – but maybe it will yield better results on home turf.
Glauben an die Möglichkeit der völligen Erneuerung der Welt | Friedrichstadt-Palast, Mitte. Nov 10, 27, in German only.