Faust hat hunger und verschluckt sich an einer grete (Faust is Hungry)

If the past century was characterised by the frenzied pursuit of the total, we are still searching frenziedly, even though we have left politics behind and retreated into the comfort of private life. We rush on from one product to the next, until there is only one thing left to consume: our fellow human beings. Man is not a wolf to his fellow man. Man is a product to his fellow man, the total commodity. If only it were not for the eyes of the cameras everywhere, picking out human products – from the global public realm of unhappiness – and spoiling these commodities we purchase at such expense, along with the added happiness value we press out of them. We would have to be able to digest them, those fellow human beings, before they were ruined by other people, we would have to be able to eat them before they went rotten and started to stink. We would be hungry enough. (Ewald Palmetshofer, Fischer Verlag, Theater und Medien)
(Ewald Palmetshofer, Fischer Verlag, Theater und Medien)
Responses to the play:
‘With shuddering curiosity, the three pairs tell the story of Heinrich and Grete, reviewing the other pairs’ urge to play at revolutionaries. Clichés and the depths of human experience are juxtaposed, and some people’s clinging to assertions of normality reveals a yearning just as restlessly eager as other people’s furious rebellion. The diagnosis, however, seems as clear as it is devastating: There is no escape from this meaninglessness and uncentredness, from the hut in the forest and the idyll on the balcony, the partners in matching outfits and the solitary despair. A truly sombre analysis of contemporary life.
(Esther Boldt, Nachtkritik, 28.11.2009)

‘For his analytical drama, Palmetshofer sets up an epic play-within-a-play situation. The two central characters are themselves absent from the text. Their story is the empty space around which the others’ conversations circle. Paul and Ines, Fritz and Anne, Robert and Tanja: the game they play conjures up those who are no longer among them. As far as they are concerned, Faust and Grete become exemplary pieces on a board that reflect the wider world around them.

Once again, Palmetshofer sends cascades of clichés rushing past. They appear to have been written down straight out of people’s mouths, including all their makeshift phrases and truncated sentences. Yet by raising the elliptical into a stylistic principle and tautologically taking these mutilated utterances to their logical conclusions, he generates dialogues in a babbling artificial language, which illustrates the emptiness of the words flung about in instrumental and superficial relationships. At the same time, particularly in the monologues, this move proves to be the expression of a searching movement; it sums up a way of thinking that circles about an object it is not capable of apprehending.’
(Anne Peter, Nachtkritik)
Technical data:
Premiere: 2 April 2009, Schauspielhaus Vienna
Director: Felicitas Brucker
Cast: 3 F, 3 M
Rights: Fischer Verlag, Theater und Medien
Translations: Theatre Library