collectif barbare portrait projects people contact home

2006: "Monte Verita"

Richard Strauss, Sinnsuche
und Sonnenbad

Coproduction Collectif barbare / Schlachthaus Theater Bern

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

A general assembly of the members of Monte Verità. So the welcome address by the president, the reading of the statutes, the cashier's report... And the ambiguity of the relationship with the spectators: they are considered as members by the interpreters.

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

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

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 few individuals will reveal the ambiguity of the utopian project that brought them together. Dressed in animal skins, Gustave Gräser will ramble 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.

Sun worship and meadow dances are long gone: history has caught up with those who thought they could forget it.