My writing is a reaction, a play with feints, with the so-called reality which confronts us headlong – I’m interested in how our world works and how people are or are not involved in it, how we all submit to language, how we [use it to] lead, guide, invent. I view the economy, work and the state of emergency as principal thematic drivers in this process. I’m fascinated by the exchanges with different people in the course of my research and I’m interested in the theatre space which presents itself as a necessary anachronism of the present even though the scene itself has long been torn apart, opened up distorted by those not present.
Fabulamundi involved Kathrin Röggla in activities in Milan and in Rome.
Kathrin Röggla (1971, Salzburg) is a Berlin-based freelance author. She has published several volumes of prose in German including die alarmbereiten (S.Fischer, 2010), essays (besser wäre: keine, S.Fischer, 2013) radio plays and theatre texts – Kinderkriegen (Bearing Children, first staged at Residenztheater Munich in 2012). She has been awarded the Nestroy Prize (best work 2010), the Franz-Hessel Prize (2010) and the Arthur-Schnitzler Prize (2012) for her literary works. As author-in-residence of Mainz (Germany), she made the documentary film Die bewegliche Zukunft – eine Reise ins Risikomanagement (ZDF) (The Fluid Future – An Exploration into Risk Management). She is a member of the Berlin Academy of the Arts.
2012 / Kinderkriegen (Bearing Children) first staged: 2012, Residenztheater, Munich.
2011 / NICHT HIER oder die kunst zurückzukehren (NOT HERE or the Art of Returning), first staged: 2011, Staatstheater Kassel
2011 / die unvermeidlichen (Unavoidables), first staged: 2011, Nationaltheater Mannheim
2010 / Machthaber (Those with Power), first staged: 2010, Schauspielhaus, Vienna
2009 / Die Beteiligten (The Involved), first staged: 2009, Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus
2008 / Worst Case, first staged: 2008, Theater Freiburg
2008 / Plan B, mini drama, for the “ohne alles 2” festival, Schauspielhaus Bochum 2008
2008 / Publikumsberatung (Advising the Public), first staged: 2008, Theater am Neumarkt
2005 / Draußen Tobt Die Dunkelziffer (The Dark Figure Rages Outside), first staged: 2005, Festival Week Volkstheater, Vienna
2004 / Junk Space, first staged: 2004, Neumarkttheater Zurich/Styrian Autumn, Graz
2004 / Wir Schlafen Nicht (We Don’t Sleep), first staged: 2004, Schauspielhaus, Düseldorf
2004 / Sie Haben Soviel Liebe Gegeben, Herr Kinski! (You’ve Given So Much Love Herr Kinski!), first staged: 2004, Pumpenhaus, Münster
2003 / Totficken. Totalgespenst. Topfit (Fucked Dead. Spooky. Fighting Fit) One-act piece (Homage to Werner Schwab), first staged: 2003, Burgtheater, Vienna
2003 / Superspreader monolog, first staged: 2003, Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus, Aachen
2002 / Fake Reports, first staged: 2002, Volkstheater Vienna/Styrian Autumn Vienna
Worst Case delas with the grammar of catastrophes which govern our lives today, catastrophes that are real, fictive, manipulated, media-staged, produced and how we deal with them. The first part shows a 5-member response team on a catastrophe tour and how the team is gradually drawn into the real course of a multi-dimensional natural calamity. The second part shows an alert-ready modern-day Cassandra on the phone following the events of the natural calamity. Following a brief intermezzo we see the parents’ council meeting trying to take control of the epidemic triggered by a child super-spreader. Finally, four experts mouth the linguistic residue of the horror and its aftermath in a post-apocalyptic studio-setting until even their voices fade and technology takes over. The central figure is an un-stageable I which can only be called on the phone. It is the blank on the canvas, the shadow of the narrative of the catastrophe, which is presented in the form of a regressing negative.
Part 1: the spectators: square, solicitous, expert, squeak-voiced (I)
Part 2: the alert-ready: cassandra’s-secretary (I)
intermezzo: cassandra’s fan (I)
Part 3: the adults: head of the parents’ council, school psychologist, other parents as silent listeners (I)
Part 4: the accompanists: male and female moderators, financial expert, citizens’ legal counsel, technical staff (i.e. proxies, voice-overs)
– Extracts from Worst case –
there was no need for me to shout down the phone. did I know a person could talk to her perfectly calmly? there was nothing wrong with her hearing. She wasn’t about to lose her nerve, just because I seemed to have done so, for my information. because that was what I was trying to achieve, wasn’t it? I was bursting in on her down the telephone with my panic and all I wanted to achieve was to put her in a panic. but she was going to shut up shop now, she’d practically battened down her hatches, she wasn’t going to put up with it any more.
and anyway: the result of my constant alarm was that nobody wanted to listen to me any more.
did I know that, that I had to turn down the dosage now and then, the alarm dosage, so that it still had any effect? but I didn’t seem to know that. anyway, the constant overdosing had the result that all I got were depleting alerts, depleting responses.
no, there was no need for me to complain! hadn’t she gone along with everything voluntarily? hadn’t she followed me into every scenario I’d set up?
all the bse hysteria, asbestos angst, subtle fears, alzheimer inklings, bird flu exhortations, cellphone radiation terrors that had gone before the climate thing. surely I remembered they’d all come from me!
I believed in climate catastrophes long before they ever took place.
did I remember the 80s? the 80s with their 80s obsession with the end of the world? she didn’t remember any more, that was the thing, but people had told her about it, otherwise she’d be able to remember the typical 80s end of the world mania and decode the end of the world hum in my voice as a specific 80s retro thing.
but they’d made it out of the 80s, she’d been told, in the end. a little battered and bruised, but still.
one thing was for sure: the constant alarm had the result that the response depleted, in fact it had depleted almost to zero by now. my alarm glares hunting out alertness were all falling on stony ground now, the alertness was all alerted out, so to speak.
they ought to call me cassandra, had she said that before? a double cassandra to be precise, not a one-way-street cassandra, no, a cassandra who goes in both directions. because nobody listened to me and I didn’t listen to anyone else either. but perhaps that had been the same with the original cassandra; there must have been some reason why a god cursed her or whatever, or things wouldn’t have gone the way they did for her.
had no one ever thought of calling me cassandra? she’d christened me that long ago, in private, in public she called me by my name of course, but in private I was firmly called cassandra for her. and she thought other people secretly called me that too—she meant, there were astounding similarities, and if I wasn’t careful I’d soon come to a cassandra-like end, and that wasn’t a good end to come to, she could tell me that.
but when she thought about it, I wasn’t only a double cassandra, I was also a fake cassandra, because the prophecies weren’t even my own, they weren’t plucked out of thin air as a kind of divine performance, a consultation with the gods. and on top of that, my visions weren’t exactly the newest thing on the market, they were cribbed from other people—oh yes, I had my sources, even though I didn’t always reveal them immediately. but that didn’t matter at the end of the day. i.e., it had never mattered to her because she’d always felt privileged that I spoke to her. she’d considered herself my first conversation partner, so to speak, my only confidante, the only one who got caught up in the tide of my prognoses. but she’d found out some time ago how wrong she’d been about that, when she’d heard about the others.