Hier und Jetzt (“Here and Now”)

A wedding party out in the open air on a summer evening. It is late and still warm. Some of the guests have musical instruments with them. Now and then, they play a couple of bars of a melody. There is a great deal of eating and drinking. A woman talks into a pram.
In the middle of the table sit the bride and groom. She thought she would be riding to the church in a horse-drawn carriage, and she thought there was no way her husband-to-be would arrive totally drunk at his own wedding. It is the story of Katja and Georg. How things are, what they were like previously and how they might end up later. How Georg, the man whose wife has left him, maybe loses his mind and wanders through the meadows and the woods around the town with his brass instrument, an old horn.
Suddenly it begins to rain. Snow falls onto the earth. The moon rises, night falls and spring could be arriving. Possibly we hear a couple of birds. The here and now. The now or never. Before or soon. Unfortunately not. Too late, too early. Not now. The never more.
(Schauspielhaus Zurich, Fischerverlag, Theater und Medien)
Responses to the Play:
“It is, as often, a puzzling play that Roland Schimmelpfennig has written, familiar and impenetrable. The scraps of life he repeats and varies build up an intimated panorama of existence and a loving exposure of an exhausted society on its last legs. It is the panorama of a society. It is the panorama of a society that is closed up in itself, that can no longer break out of itself. Swordfights and piggyback rides descend upon these people as if they came from another star. Maybe we too are just one of the strange animal species of which they talk in passing. Maybe we can only continue to speak of human beings if we become biologists.
The high art of Schimmelpfennig’s “Here and Now” is its eccentric, restrained, poetic tone, which is generated as the various levels melt together: This play is banal, it is laconic, it is absurd, it is melancholy, it is cheerful and it is mysterious – and it is all these things together. Roland Schimmelpfennig: a master of gentle irony.”
(Peter Michalzik, Mülheim Theatertage 2009)

“A story as simple and puzzling, as banal and gruesome as life. It is the story of Katja, who gets to know Martin at an electrical goods store, first betrays her partner Georg and then leaves him, driving him mad and eventually – when she cannot forget him – driving herself mad as well. The story is told in fragments, but we do not know whether they are memories or prophecies (after all, Katja and Georg are sitting at the table as a newly married couple), then retold while we watch events unfold.
Time plays no role in this evening at the theatre, the two-and-a-half hours of which themselves seem to fly by. Without warning, it is autumn, a woman sprays heavy rain from a garden hose. Next comes winter, the wedding guests stand on the table and throw little white feathers in the air – then sit down again and carry on talking. ‘It doesn’t matter,’ calls one when somebody tells a tale for the umpteenth time, ‘that’s what stories are for, isn’t it, for us to tell them again and again and hear them again and again.’ […]
Life as storytelling, storytelling as life, as a way of putting off death, which lurks everywhere.”
(Felizitas Amman, “Nachtkritik”, 25 April 2008)
Technical Data:
Premiere 25 April 2008, Schauspielhaus Zurich, Schiffbau-Halle 1
Director Jürgen Gosch
Stage design Johannes Schütz
Cast 5 F, 6 M
Rights S. Fischer Verlag GmbH
Theater & Medien
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Translations Theatre Library