It does not get any browner: Horvatt's “Jugend ohne Gott” in Salzburg

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Braun. Brown. Brown: Brown are all her clothes, the seven of eight performers – some still appear in today's dress – change as constantly as their characters. Brown are the furniture, tables, chairs, school desks, a bed, a tent that slide in on rollers and allow fluid changes of location and scene. And brown are also the matted slender tree trunks, which are used as stage design by Jan Pappelbaum in the Salzburg State Theater symbolic of the German forest, from whose fertile womb this evil creeps. Sometimes they are fogged, also shined white gray. Looks even more spooky.

Brown is also the sauce that is mixed here. A Nazi story, or better: How the brown spreads in the minds of the Volksgenossen. Brown and Black are finally the “Negroes”, as they were dubbed in 1937 by Ödön von Horváth in Henndorf am Wallersee near Salzburg for his already published in an exile novel “Youth without God” politically correct at that time. It was also politically correct at that time that schools taught that “Negroes” were by no means humans.

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Festival start in Salzburg

From this ignites the basic conflict of this cautious, but also strikingly tracing fiction that wants to know how people are manipulated in their thinking, but also why they act like. Horváth wants to pursue this, but also his nameless teacher, who just because he considers “Negro” for people, while infected in the National Socialist education system, but quickly becomes a check mark, which bends. Not a hero, rather a chronicler of the prevailing conditions.

And Thomas Ostermeier, who, together with his dramaturge Florian Borchmeyer, is responsible for this really lengthy theatrical version, with just under two and a half hours of non-stop playing time, makes it pretty easy. But not smooth. Because, in order to avoid all textbook style, he has struck a few contemporary barbs in his calmly flowing narrative flow. Right at the beginning we are talking, the hall light is still on, Jörg Hartmann, who incidentally came onto the stage, as a teacher, incidentally, as if by the way: “What do I owe Adolf Hitler! This question can easily be answered in one word: everything! ” As the? He is the good guy! That was just the letter from a host H. from Brunswick. Hartmann now pulls out black trousers and T-shirt, transforms with a – brown – three-piece in his historical figure.

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The players are very young and good, four men, two women. They surround him as concise, but ultimately contourless students, parents, commissars, mothers, sergeants, pastors. Their attitudes of like-minded brains and haunted figures in a series of highly unholy spirits. Those who do not escape because of his cold, observant eyes as “fish” titled teacher. He looks at them closely, the offspring of a godless time.

But is the teacher so much better? He criticizes only at the beginning, then he holds back, dissected, spies, also breaks a student diary. With fatal consequences. He is also indirectly responsible for the murder tragedy between the spring awakenings and the sexual calamity, which is a result of adolescent passion. That he is “eradicated”, sent to Africa in the mission school is the consequence that he accepts.

The German actor Jörg Hartmann, here during the photo sample of Horvath's play “Youth without God” on stage

Source: dpa / Barbara Gindl

In Africa, the “Africans” live there now. But this is the only language update Ostermeier has made. He is interested in thematic complexes. The Nordic Ibsen and Strindberg representations were followed again and again by Shakespeare. The dramatizations of current French novels are juxtaposed with upscale tabloids by Yasmina Reza or Lillian Hellman. Even Horváth he staged twice now. The gritty update of the case of the weak left versus the strong Nazis in the “Italian Night” was followed by the “Salzburger Festspiele” (from 7th September at the Berlin Schaubühne) “Jugend ohne Gott”. And he succeeds superior, quieter, more sustainable.

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There are small changes in the narrative perspective, two microphones, a quietly insistent, with piano and percussion grooving soundtrack by Nils Ostendorf and late a few videos: faces, expressive distorted in close-up, a few, suggested by the Berlin Wall game scenes, on field ceilings or tent walls projected. Otherwise, here is simple, epically objective, very finely sketched actor's theater made.

That really complete, without fuss Hartmann shoulders. After a long “crime scene” and “Weißensee” absence, he returned to the Schaubühne for Schnitzler's “Professor Bernhardi”. Nice! Because his insistent, stubborn, then cuddly, invaginating, nasty, fishy style goes well with this main character. If the Bernardi was white, bright, analytical, modern, then Ostermeier this time is dodgy, full of shadow and historically correct.

That may seem almost old-fashioned. But it's a good thing for Horváth, who is clearly in the spotlight. And unfortunately, anyone can make out the present-day relationship very quickly. Because “Youth without God” is nothing but a brutal society without principles.

(tTTranslate) National Socialism (NS) (1933-1945) (t) Theater (t) Salzburg Festival (t) Horvath (t) Ödön von (t) Brug-Manuel (t) Jan Pappelbaum (t) Horváth (t) Jörg Hartmann (t) Africa (t) Salzburg State Theater (t) Fashion

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