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2006: "Monte Verita"

Richard Strauss, Sinnsuche
und Sonnenbad

A Collectif barbare / Schlachthaus Theater Bern co-production

A general assembly of the members of Monte Verità. Including the welcome address by the president, the reading of the statutes, the cashier's report... And an ambiguous relationship with the spectators: they are treated as fellow members by the actors.

The commemoration of those missing is punctuated by an incongruous slide show, funny or bitter texts mix with the pathos of Strauss' last Lieder, and short films add a poetic or absurd touch to the despair of the characters confronted with their own disillusionment.

The audience slowly but surely spirals into a world of nostalgic memories, dreams and nightmares.

Concept, direction: Astride Schlaefli 
with: Raphael Traub, Erwin Hurni, Marisol Schalit, Anna Trauffer, Julia Grossniklaus



In 1905, Ida Hoffmann and Henri Oedenkoven founded the sanatorium "Monte Verità" on a hill above Ascona. They attracted a wide variety of members: nudists, apostles of nature, anarchists, socialists, artists, writers, dancers...

Redefining the conditions of happiness by fleeing misery and pollution, eating vegetarian, living barefoot — such was the ambition. The extraordinary destinies of a select few will reveal the ambiguity of the utopian project that brought them together. Dressed in animal skins, Gustave Gräser rambles in bombed Munich, Otto Gross dies in Berlin as an anonymous tramp, Erich Mühsam succumbs to Nazi torture while von Laban pledges allegiance to Goebbels and becomes head of the German ballets.

The season of sun worship and flower dances is over: history has caught up with those who thought they could forget it.