D.he ruler as a flower boy and play child. His thoughts revolve around lanterns instead of battle plans, stars instead of projectiles. Around a crown of flowers and a sky that shines. A dreamer, an astonished: King Sardanapal, the last king of the Assyrian Empire, is an idol for the actor Fabian Hinrichs. In today’s episode of the “change of the schedule” he raves about his free spirit, the relentless endeavor not to fulfill any prefabricated roles, not to pursue a predetermined career, not to “implement someone else’s life”, but to enjoy life as “a chain of moments” .
Hinrichs described Lord Byron’s play “Sardanapal” as wrongly forgotten and presented it in the feature section of this newspaper with a brilliant text in November 2019. It said: “The forgotten works of the Anglo-Saxon successful author number one of the first half of the nineteenth century are called“ Manfred ”,“ Childe Harold ”,“ Cain ”and -“ Sardanapal ”. While “Nathan the Wise” and Lessing in general could sit on the substitute bench of the national theater team for a while, the effortless, impudently described as tragedy and dedicated to Goethe, but embarrassingly forgotten mélange of tragedy, burlesque and melodrama called ” Sardanapal “a brilliant rebirth”.
Hinrich’s appeal attracted attention right into the managerial floor. And so Hinrichs will bring the piece to the stage in the not too distant future at the newly managed Berliner Volksbühne. His most important interlocutor is the experienced anarcho-dramaturge Carl Hegemann. In today’s episode of the FAZ video series “Change of the Schedule”, Charlotte Bernstorff speaks to him about this extraordinary play in the Kreuzberg restaurant “Jolesch”.
Desire for the equality of all
Sardanapal’s hedonistic motto: “Eat, drink and love – the rest is not worth a penny” is also so exceptional because he commands not only the king himself, but all his subjects to enjoy a life full of pleasure. In the entire history of theater, according to Hegemann, he doesn’t know of any play “in which people can change so quickly so well” and which at the same time portrays the “ambivalence of modern people” in such a remarkable way: the contradiction between the longing for uniqueness and the desire according to the equality of all. Scenes from the video installation “Los Muros de Chile” by the German-Swiss video artist Louis von Adelsheim contrast the mental analysis of the piece. Just like cinematic sequences of the two actors Roberto Romeo and Mirjam Kuchinke, who sat at the grand piano and on thrones in the Hanau baroque palace Philippsruhe in order to provide a sparkling stage for that “cold feeling of falsehood” that comes over Sardanapal when he is called “ruler” .
What makes this very romantic piece so attractive for our days is not only his aversion to hollow morals, but above all his thirst for adventure and outburst. So the best piece for the celebration of the post pandemic.
All episodes of the video theater series can be found here in the overview.