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Fundament (Foundations)en

A bomb attack on the central railway station of a major city links five characters picked out at random and draws together their stories at the moment of the catastrophe.
– An elderly man has luckily escaped the attack and no longer understands the world afterwards. Given the dismal, but complex situation in the world, a student is not sure what he should be campaigning for or against. A young woman wants to do something that will be good for her and ends up attending a painting workshop, where she blurts out an unexpected confession. An elegant woman feels cut off from her emotions at the very moment her life is in danger. A good-looking, successful man manages to be a good person in every respect as well.
– With the elementary techniques of storytelling and drama, the actors unfold a story that, not least, offers a kaleidoscope of attitudes towards the topic of faith.
(Deutsches Theater, Berlin)


'Foundations' draws a picture of our time and shows different manifestations of our often despairing search for meaning. In doing so, it is more concerned with associations than answers. […] The director created Foundations together with his actors. Lots of ideas came out of their improvisations and discussions to influence the author's writing. The logic of the events is determined by the narrative structure, a mixture of precisely detailed storytelling, monologues and dialogues.
The actors relate events, then slip swiftly into a role and switch back again – sometimes they are the principle figures in their own episodes, sometimes secondary figures in others' stories. The mercurial structure rules out pathos of any kind: No one has to die on stage, they are allowed to stand upright while stories are told about death.
(Verena Großkreutz, Nachtkritik, 27 November 2009)


'Mr Röhrig, for example, who has just been annoying his fellow passengers on the train with an incessant torrent of words about what he used to read when he was studying philosophy, manages to get back to his flat. Where he then sees the attack on television. By contrast, Kremm, a successful graphic artist who works in advertising and, apart from the agency, also integrates sex with his wife and the various global social issues to which he is committed meticulously into his daily schedule, fails to make it home. Both were in the same place at the same time: a major railway terminal identifiable without too much difficulty as Stuttgart Central Station. And they are victims of a bomb attack in a play by Jan Neumann, one of the most individualistic young authors and directors on the German-language scene.
When Neumann arrives, as recently in Stuttgart, he does not have a single line in his luggage. At the end, however, he usually leaves behind a play developed together with his actors during rehearsals. This is certainly one way of working, and in the case of Foundations it has resulted in a sophisticated drama that playfully circles around the topic of 'faith'. That is precisely what Stuttgart's state theatre wanted to fit in with the themes for their season, 'Faith, Love, Money'. And that is precisely what they got from Neumann, who certainly possesses the gift of persuading actors to commit to his style of narrative and performance.'
(Jürgen Berger, Schwäbische Nachrichten, 30 November 2009)


'Jan Neumann's fascinating dramatic texts confront an age that believes itself to be fundamentally confused. His works are critical, moral and nevertheless entertaining. They unfold a broad panorama of contemporary life experiences and wisdom, while pulling out all the comic stops, from burlesque silliness to melancholic tragicomedy. Caricatures bump into three-dimensional characters, rough-edged situation comedy is juxtaposed with scenes of touching sincerity, all blending into a turbulent game on the threshold between the sublime and the ridiculous. The dense language of these texts derives its extraordinarily vitality from they way they have been developed with the cast in the course of the directing process.'
(Statement of the Board of Trustees on the granting of the 2011 Scholarship Award for Comic Literature of the Brückner-Kühner Foundation and the City of Kassel; Kiepenheuer Bühnenvertrieb)
Technical data:
Premiere 27 November 2009, Staatstheater Stuttgart
Director Jan Neumann
Cast 2 F, 3 M
Rights Kiepenheuer Bühnenvertrieb
Translations Theatre Library

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