Berliner Morgenpost

Kain, Wenn & Aber

Tears in the sock

For a long time Nico and the Navigators haven’t been this good: “Kain, Wenn & Aber” (Kain, If & But) at the Sophiensaele

The sentence at the beginning goes: “The first decision means: to myself”. In fact Nico and the Navigators have decided to leave for new artistic shores. For the present there will be no productions as an ensemble after the recent one: “Kain, Wenn & Aber”. The troupe, just five years ago founded at the Bauhaus Dessau, is famous and renowned for quite some time. But the last productions of Nicola Hümpel showed mild signs of weariness and emptiness. And now this surprise: This recent production is the most beautiful, the finest for a long time!Even the date of the first night, the evening of Santa Claus [in German: Nikolaus], had been chosen excellently by the Navigators. Even a sock exists. But it is not being filled with cookies, but it disappears in the mouth of an actor. And soon he does the hair of a colleague by hand and foot, both by force, in a way not being offered by any hair stylist in Berlin, Moscow or Ancona – of course at those cities performances are already scheduled and settled. The ensemble doesn’t speak much in their plays, which are arising from improvisations. In the beginning the notion “definition” is been worked through by a chain pun – “who does actually define who defines?”. Then it is obvious how the cat is going to jump. The subject is, somehow, somewhere, the ancient question of mankind: is man free to shape his destiny, or isn’t destiny rather holding man in its strong grip. By knowing Nico one can be sure: The evening will never be determined fundamentally or obviously.

Already from the beginning the seven actors, three women and four men, are presenting themselves with hairstyles fixed aslant and descriptively quiet mimics. There are reminiscences to paternal or social education, attempts to fix individuals to specific ways of life, and trivial astrological prophecies. Globalized poultry, the ups and downs of indices at the stock market, they are agitatedly discussed. And in one scene it is requested to take off everything personal, the jacket, the credit card, the last piercing. This time no vacuum cleaners are taken out. No egg experiences unexpected flights on the air cushion of a household appliance. The collage of scenes obeys for itself restlessly the law of surreal weightlessness. Of course one can ask for the meaning, but the troupe plays amusingly, profoundly ostensibly and charmingly silly, thereby avoiding any answer. This sentence we noted immediately for daily use: “The ability to understand intellectual correlations is increasing drastically.

”This sensitive and crazy, this affectionately mad Nico and the Navigators have never been before. Outside in the foyer, which was saturated with nicotine, we almost got a feeling of a cocktail party for the long time we had to wait until the door opened. But then the fun ran so smoothly that we never even checked the time. Therefore we wept for the (slow) farewell a tear into our own sock.


Peter-Hans Göpfert, 08.12.2003


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