New German dramatic art - Plays

Tattoo

Co-author Réjane Desvignes

Lea, an out-of-work actress who survives financially by introducing internet music programmes, and Fred, an unsuccessful writer, are a couple with little money but high artistic ambitions and incorruptible ideals. They live together in a little one-room flat which at the same time serves as their work-place. One day Lea's former boy-friend Tiger errupts into this bohemian idyll. He has become a rising star on the Los Angeles scene and American art market with his strident 'concept art'. Banal worries about money and everyday needs are refreshingly remote for Tiger. There is only thing he wouldn't do: sell himself. So to be on the safe side he arranges that if he should die his body, adorned with elaborate tatoos, should be left to his best friend Lea. Then Tiger has news of his decease spread around by way of a video he has himself staged. With the help of his assistant Alex a plastiline version of his corpse is put on show in Lea's and Fred's home. The two of them -- and also gallery-owner Naomi, Lea's half-sister and Tiger's lover -- are at first horrified, but it soon becomes clear that Tiger is a good sales proposition. The supposedly dead body becomes an 'art' commodity. Confusion goes stratospheric when Tiger suddenly turns up again, alive, wants his sculpture back, and in addition reveals that everything has been filmed and will be shown at a New York exhibition, entitled "A Good Friend". His plans are foiled by Alex who kills Tiger, and then has him stuffed for Naomi and prepared for the art market. The bitterly ironical ending, where art and money are knowingly made with a real corpse, is again resolved in fiction. Lea had only read the story in her boy friend Fred's new novel.

Responses to the Play

"Box office versus art, market versus morality, appearances versus being, video versus reality. Desvignes and Bauersima have written a garish satire of the art scene, which bangs away and exaggerates, and is capable of asserting itself as a counter-play to Yasmina Reza's comedy "Art"
(Andreas Rossmann, Frankfurter Allgemeine, 5.6.2002)

"'Tatoo' is a puzzle-play circling around truth and fiction ... Igor Bauersima is not a post-modern destroyer of forms. With apparent ease he tells his complex story, which deploys familiar developments and plots, is sometimes predictable, yet also offers excitement and wit".
(Carolin Lorenz, Potsdamer Neueste Nachrighten, 11.11..2002)

Technical Details

Premiere Düsseldorf Schauspielhaus, 1.6.2002
Director Igor Bauersima
Cast 3 women, 3 men, 3 sets
Rights S. Fischer Verlag GmbH
Theater und Medien
Hedderichstr. 144
60596 Frankfurt am Main
Tel. 069/ 60 62 339, Fax 069/ 60 62 335
theater@s-fischer.de
Translations Theatre Library