Fremtidens Historie

Fremtidens Historie, (The History of the Future)
by Christian Lollike

"The whole world is being played out today in our own country, in our own town, in our consciousness."

Part one: Five actresses doing a belly dance. They are celebrating 20 years of freedom to travel and want to recount the "history of the future" to mark the occasion and to "take stock of the freedom gained". A "completely normal person" is to provide the basis for this undertaking. They invent a female taxi driver. A taxi driver who can encounter the contradictory aspects, the cosmos of a city, in quick succession. The taxi driver delivers an injured person to a hospital; she takes a strange foreign woman (Mrs Buisness) to the so-called 'free trade zone'; with great effort she fights off a tramp who insists on trying to get into her taxi; she drives two unseen voices to the asylum authorities; she takes a politician, who likewise wishes to remain unknown, to an opening speech; and we are introduced to her anonymous, small apartment on the outskirts of the city. The next day, she gets in trouble with her employer because she turns up late for work and claims she has been driving around invisible passengers. But then she gets back to work and thus begins again the same old never-ending routine, the same old fears, with apparently no prospect of things getting any better. Then an art dealer gets into the taxi: without any particular destination or goal in mind. She is asked to simply put the meter on and drive wherever she wants to, preferably to her own home. The art dealer yearns for normal, everyday life, for a world that feels real. He gives the taxi driver a great deal of money to show him her apartment, to show him how she lives when she is not at work. He is absolutely fascinated, so fascinated, in fact, that he wants to exhibit her, (with the taximeter running) in his gallery: "Taxi driver – readymade". The exhibition opening is a great success, the art dealer and his "art" object grow closer, they kiss for the first time, and she feels "that something more could develop". Euphoria, and the party revellers drive through the buzzing, lively city in the taxi. They end up near the boundary of a refugee camp which looks like an amusement park: considered the "hottest artwork of the moment" in the city, and "sponsored by Gucci". The taxi driver recognizes Mrs Buisness from the free trade zone standing inside, and wants to join her in the camp: she is not supposed to do so, but she does anyway.

In the second part of the piece the narrative perspective changes radically. The viewer is given brief glimpses of the experiences of refugees from diverse crisis regions all over the world.

In the third part of the story, the taxi driver sits on the set of a talk show and is being celebrated as the "angel of the West". She has raised money for the poor and given the people "a sense of hope". But during the show she realizes that others are making a profit from her altruistic work. She wants to "get out of the whole thing", which she of course does not manage to do, so she returns to the camp and starts asking dangerous questions: "Why are we here? Is this what God wanted? How long shall we remain without hope? When are we going to react?" And gradually there is a groundswell of murmuring discontent, gradually the refugees start throwing themselves against the fences, gradually it becomes clear that she will be leading an army – an army that everyone knew would one day come into existence. And "the army of refugees splits up and becomes several armies, and they start eating their way through the wall and into the heart of Europe, into the restaurants and cafés and supermarkets and private houses. Their hunger and rage grow all the more when they encounter these people and a wealth that they could never have imagined...“

But maybe things will turn out differently and she will meet the art dealer again and be happy and in love; or maybe she will become a lawyer and sue the state; or maybe she will seek asylum in a madhouse; or maybe she will become a suicide bomber. But in terms of the story of which we ourselves are part, none of that matters very much.

In his dense, breathless text, Christian Lollike traces the cynical attitude of an irreverent spectacle-hungry world. Five actresses create / claim / recount and act out the world as they see it. In quick succession, they jump into the required characters and situations and work with a fascinating montage of theoretical treatises, journalistic reportages, philosophical discourses, advertising slogans and film quotes. Thematically topical, with black humour and a fine use of language, this play casts a spotlight on the assemblage of art, life, poverty, wealth, East and West, multiculturalism, belief and terror. A continuous interchange between epic and dramatic phases dynamizes the constantly surprising events as they unfold. Using themselves as subjects, the actors test out the unfamiliar feeling of empathy with the victims and perpetrators by re-enacting real disasters from the East and West as well as clichés of a cynical, consumerist party generation which is only pursuing events as close to life as possible (in order to at least feel something?). Reality and fiction melt in the flood of news-, fictional-, and cinematic images. The result is a deeply poetic text, in which the author equips his characters with just as much as the imagination needs to create rich stage characters from it. We find ourselves confronted with a very political text which literally leaps down from the stage to enter the heart of the viewer.

A Text by Jens Groß

Translated from the German by Alexander Suckrow.