Radical geriatric

Here’s another wish-I’d-been-there-and-seen-that: the Hamburg staging by Nicolas Stemann of Elfriede Jelinek’s play “Ulrike Maria Stuart.” Not sure I’d like Jelinek’s take, though I remain fascinated by those moments in European history when the revolutionary possibilities of 1968 turned into the tragedy (because of the killings involved) and farce (because of the breathtaking idiocy and incompetence) of the seventies urban guerrilla movements, and especially German RAF (Rote Armee Fraktion).

Below the opening paras of Christopher Schmidt’s review of the play that appeared in the Süddeutsche Zeitung on October 30, 2006. You can read the full review here at signandsight, that ever useful site.

Nicolas Stemann blithely desescrates Elfriede Jelinek’s play “Ulrike Maria Stuart”, at Hamburg’s Thalia Theater. Intelligent septuagenarian RAF schlock horror, says Christopher Schmidt.

Today they’d probably form a rock group rather than a political one, and Andreas Baader, Ulrike Meinhof and Gudrun Ensslin would play death metal rather than live it till their deaths. On the stage of Hamburg’s Thalia Theater, the RAF veterans have reformed as an OAP band. One standing on a tripod, the other on a dolly, the two erstwhile rivals Gundrun and Ulrike wobble towards each other. Physically disintegrating but ideologically in tact, the RAF setptuageneriennes pose with their Andy, who can no longer close his biker jacket round his belly of affluence, Bond girls and their manchild with the golden Colt, fighting more over him than for a new world order. From the bitch fight with poisoned love, a menage sentimentale. You only live twice – as man and as myth.

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