The underhunter

The actor and director Christian Fries, who is also an author himself (invited to the Ingeborg Bachmann Competition in 2010) and who celebrated a triumph with his guest performance of Georg Büchner's LENZ at Theater Freiburg in summer 2019, takes on a highly literary subject with the novel DER UNTERGEHER by the Austrian writer Thomas Bernhard and brings it to the stage in a concentrated form. The text takes center stage. "Public thinking" is how he himself describes his stage performance. The gloominess of the text is hard to beat. Two young pianists meet the still unknown Glenn Gould in the 1950s and are so disheartened by his playing that they end their careers before they have even begun: "When we meet the first one, we have to give up." One of them later hangs himself, the other spends his life thinking about himself, his dead friend and the genius of Gould. Even though the novel is set in an artistic milieu, it is about more general questions: about what makes a life succeed or fail. failure. It is about loneliness, family entanglements and ageing. As always with Bernhard, the gloom of the text is counterbalanced by a bottomless, wicked humor and the great rhythm of his language.

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