Bonn Parks high school opera “Gymnasium” at the Munich Volkstheater – Culture

If you’re fed up with doomsday scenarios in the theater and dystopias, then it’s best to go to Bonn Park at the moment. Born in Berlin in 1987, he is a writer and director at the same time; he sometimes invents new genres that explore the terrain between spoken and musical theater and his cheerfulness cannot be shaken by anything. He recently blended Schiller’s “Räuber” with the film “Ocean’s Eleven” at the Deutsches Schauspielhaus Hamburg and let the evening revolve around the phrase “Everything will be fine”. Now he has staged his own play “Gymnasium” as the third opening premiere of the new Munich Volkstheater, and it ends with the school principal’s obsessively optimistic words: “I think if we just keep going like this, if we stick with it, then it will definitely be very safe “Everything is really all right, then everything will be bad, yes, then I believe that everything will be fine.”

“Uh” – “Huh?”

As far as the Volkstheater is concerned, everything is good anyway. The new building is cheered, and at the opening the house boasts an enormous artistic range. First host Christian Stückl presented Marlowe’s “Edward II”, followed the next day by Jessica Glause’s world premiere of “Our Meat, Our Blood”, a theatrically cleverly prepared research in the neighboring Schlachthofviertel (both SZ from October 18), now Bonn Park with a how he calls it “high school opera”, which is not an opera, but a wonderfully ludicrous sequence of chants in everyday youthful language. With a lot of “Uh” and “Huh?”, “Hi” and “Okay”, with linguistic stumbling blocks and philosophical excesses that come to mind when you are young; sometimes there is choral singing, with the support of the steadfast state youth choir, sometimes solo, and twice there are real ensemble scenes that are almost really opera, scenes in which solo singing and choir run against each other and among each other

Goth Joshphilius (Vincent Sauer), Gothic girl Sallygard (Pola Jane O’Mara) and nerd Kylefried (Max Poerting) go to school in front of a spitting volcano. On the right the director (Steffen Link).

(Photo: Arno Declair / Arno Declair)

Park had Ben Roessler write friendly impasto music for him, in the ditch – yes, the new Volkstheater has an orchestra pit – sit academics of the Munich Philharmonic and, under Sonja Lachmayr’s direction, create beautiful clouds of sound that are almost as plush as they are the cotton balls that Jana Wassong hung in the stage sky. In general, there is an idiosyncratic gentleness here, which gently laps what Park is talking about here, which is not so gentle.

Don’t let that deceive you, because Park’s world is full of abysses. The clouds come from the volcano that darkens the world with its ashes. And so you end up with a dystopia again, but one that is not told like one, doesn’t feel like it, but looks more like a pastel-colored version of Lars von Trier’s “Melancholia”. That’s the crazy nasty part of Park’s story. He looted a few high school films and assembled their motifs and iconic pop songs into an excellent satire, a little washed out in the middle section, and had the ensemble dressed up by Leonie Falke as really funny stereotypes. It all has an idiosyncratic, pointed joke, a clever sovereignty. The time of the action is located in the Middle Ages (Galileo Galilei) as well as today, the level of knowledge of the actors, who sometimes develop a witch craze, is correspondingly different. The place is an open-air high school on the edge of a volcano that smokes nicely and spits gold glitter, but is actually devastating.

As always in this genre, a newcomer comes to school, cranky and shy, she has to decide which group she wants to belong to, the nerds, the athletes or the bad girls, whose leader, as an internal influencer at the school, leases knowledge that does nothing than opinion, and smears it on the wall of the toilet. There every opinion becomes the truth if it is only believed by the majority – the toilet as social media. Very good. Then there is a Gothic couple, whose fluid male part, Joshphilius Papadopoulos, cannot cope with the stupidity surrounding them, and a volcano researcher who strives for knowledge.

Before the prom can be celebrated, these two, who disturb the other with their urge for the truth, have to be burned at the stake, then they are gone and nothing disturbs the wellbeing of the stupid. Anger pushes up through the irony. Everything will be fine? No, but the two supposed troublemakers are. Vincent Sauer is not only a physically fascinating spider person, Lioba Kippe a stunning promise with an unerring stage instinct and fabulous singing. This colorful evening will become a cult, against which the film “American Pie” was a slow seller.

© SZ / cd

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