Nurkan Erpulat / Jens Hillje

Crazy Blood

The scene is a classroom during a project day on Friedrich Schiller. Sonia Kelich, a highly motivated teacher with her arms full of cheap paperback editions of the classics, is doing her best to instil Schiller's idealistic concept of classical German drama in her pupils. But Bastian, Hakim and Musa go on the rampage and boycott the lesson. In a tussle, a pistol suddenly falls out of Musa's bag. Sonia Kelich hesitates for just a brief moment, then picks up the weapon and forces the children to perform The Robbers and Cabals and Love at gunpoint. This hostage-taking is the starting point not only for a dark dance of genres that sweeps from the thriller to comedy and melodrama, but also for an enthusiastic, provocative deconstruction of all sorts of supposedly clear roles and identities.
Responses to the play:
'Crazy Blood is a berserk comedy about the clash of cultures. The play's plot is based on a French film with Isabelle Adjani that came out in 2007. The dramaturg Jens Hillje, who once used to be one of the team in charge at the Berlin Schaubühne, and the director Nurkan Erpulat have turned it into a hilarious theatrical entertainment, a well made play full of surprising twists and turns, as well as raucous jokes. Here, theatre is conceived of as a topical, political art form, a series of attempts to break free that make the audience laugh, but never try to stop them thinking for themselves.

For instance, Erpulat and Hillje raise the issue of honour killings and the injured male vanity that motivates them not by depicting swivel-eyed Muslims, but by telling the story of Ferdinand and Luise, the heroic couple in Schiller's Cabals and Love. The irony towards which the whole play is working is that it is the teacher who chooses the path of aggression because she wants to take bloody revenge for the abominable deeds committed by her most brutal pupil, while the boys and girls in her class suddenly clamour for the values of the enlightenment and call for the villain to be given a second chance. In its savagely comic fashion, Crazy Blood therefore delivers the kind of 'aesthetic education' that was originally planned for the drama club session. The young actors from the Kreuzberg theatre Ballhaus Naunynstraße perform the breakneck-paced play with tremendous verve and wit, and it is particularly moving in the interludes when the pistol-toting teacher and her hostages start singing Teutonic folksongs together: hymns to a passionate, sometimes brutal, but here refreshingly intelligent multicultural Germany.
(Wolfgang Höbel, Berliner Festspiele, Theatertreffen 2011)
Technical data:
Premiere 2 September 2010, Gebläsehalle Duisburg (Ruhrtriennale)
Berlin premiere: 9 September 2010, Ballhaus Naunynstrasse
Director Nurkan Erpulat
Cast 3 F, 5 M
Rights Verlag Autorenagentur GmbH
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10623 Berlin
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Translations Theatre Library