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18.2.08

An evening with a German intellectual - Fassbinders 'Die dritte Generation' flops in Stuttgart Schauspielhaus

(Fassbinder during movie production with Hanna Schygulla; source: wikipedia.org)

It so happened that Lars asked my over lunch whether I had anything planned for the evening and whether I would like to have his tickets for the drama in Stuttgart. I replied no and yes, and so ended up going to S-town twice over a period of three days (whoppee!). Reason I am mentioning being that just on Saturday, I had been feeling very sorry for myself for not getting off campus more often, and so took off to the big city with the resolution of not becoming involved in work on the weekend just once - just to find myself sitting in a bar drinking beer, when a horde of LGH-students chanced to pass by, waving and cheering at me through the window... I ended up taking the same train home as they, and we walked through the starry Gmünd night singing 'California Dreaming' and other hits. So much for getting away from the usual crowd...:-)

Anyhow, Lars' generosity came as a gift from the heavens today, and as I believe in grabbing chances by the tail when they come along and bite me on the shin, I took off with a smile on my lips. Sometimes in life, things just all seem to fall into place - an life has actually been quite good for a couple of days now. Not knowing which production I actually had tickets for, I found myself sitting in the first-ever performance of an adaptation of a Rainer Werner Fassbinder movie, called 'Die dritte Generation'. Anyone who has heard of Fassbinders movies would expect a play of his to be hard stuff to swallow, but I found it unbearable to chew even, let alone digest. A scene from the late 70s in Berlin, laughingly incompetent terrorist schemings, actors smoking a lot on stage, a weird script, not a single character that would evoke a feeling of compassion or even a forced smile, repetitive dialogs that are heavy with symbolism yet keep you fumbling for meaning - German intellectual drama at its worst. Luckily for the cast, who were giving their best, as has to be acknowledged, there was no intermission, otherwise I bet two third of the seats would have been left empty for the second round. In the end, a weak excuse for an applause confirmed what I had been feeling from the opening scene - neither topic, nor interpretation were anything to push you anywhere to the edge of your seat, except maybe to drop to the floor snoring. A handful of die-hards actually waited int the foyer for post-production discussion, but I just hunched up my shoulders, and took off as fast as I could.

Anyhow, it felt good to have been immersed in a cultural setting, and I'd prefer bad Fassbinder to Hollywood mass productions any day. But let's work on the punch lines, shall we.

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