A Cage Went in Search of a Bird (Ein Käfig ging einen Vogel suchen)

by Franz Kafka
Director / Stage Andreas Kriegenburg
Dramaturgy Juliane Koepp
Premiere February 13, 2016
Elias Arens
Laura Goldfarb
Moritz Grove
Bernd Moss
Jörg Pose
Nele Rosetz
Natali Seelig
Lisa Quarg
nachtkritik.de
Michael Wolf, 14.02.2016
“Blumfeld and co. live only hypothetically, are concerned citizens who wear their misgivings wound tightly around their necks like the ties in which they are ensnared. They come together as a group only on this one point, to join forces against a sixth person: ‘We five didn’t know each other in the past, and you could say we don’t know each other now, but all that is possible and acceptable among us five is not possible and not acceptable for this sixth person.’ (…) And so the German house is built in which Loriot and Kubrick, petit-bourgeoisie and horror fight it out over a doubting, or rather despairing, soul. German angst is written on the doorbell; the knives are being sharpened. A little equanimity, confidence, trust – as a way out, a middle way – seem to be impossible. Blumenfeld and co. will never come to rest – there is no room between the scythe and the potted plant on the lace doily. They can only save themselves with relentless deliberations, ‘what ifs’ – building a protective wall in the subjunctive, piled up to protect them from the future. Is there a more fitting description for a country that has consistently mistrusted its own hospitality to the point where it has finally succumbed to its own scepticism?” “Blumfeld and co. live only hypothetically, are concerned citizens who wear their misgivings wound tightly around their necks like the ties in which they are ensnared. They come together as a group only on this one point, to join forces against a sixth person: ‘We five didn’t know each other in the past, and you could say we don’t know each other now, but all that is possible and acceptable among us five is not possible and not acceptable for this sixth person.’ (…) And so the German house is built in which Loriot and Kubrick, petit-bourgeoisie and horror fight it out over a doubting, or rather despairing, soul. German angst is written on the doorbell; the knives are being sharpened. A little equanimity, confidence, trust – as a way out, a middle way – seem to be impossible. Blumenfeld and co. will never come to rest – there is no room between the scythe and the potted plant on the lace doily. They can only save themselves with relentless deliberations, ‘what ifs’ – building a protective wall in the subjunctive, piled up to protect them from the future. Is there a more fitting description for a country that has consistently mistrusted its own hospitality to the point where it has finally succumbed to its own scepticism?”
Berliner Zeitung
Ulrich Seidler, 15.02.2016
“Four thrown-together, almost identically furnished rooms that seem to have been stacked up by chance to fill up the stage. (…) The edges of the lopsided boxes appear to ram into each other, the broken-through walls don’t form right angles, the perspective is skewed, there is no vanishing point. Here in this hermetically sealed formation designed to keep out everything from outside, we find the petit-bourgeois bachelors from Kafka’s story. (…) These timid identikit beings, who try to shield themselves with ridiculous and impotent contortions may provoke laughter – but they are in fact no worse than us; perhaps they are even a little more savvy with their blundering strategies for overcoming fear, chaos and disaster. And it doesn’t even seem particularly uncomfortable, or even boring, in this multiply mirrored, inescapable, lonely pile of hell. At least watching it is fun, as was apparent from all the cheering at the end.” “Four thrown-together, almost identically furnished rooms that seem to have been stacked up by chance to fill up the stage. (…) The edges of the lopsided boxes appear to ram into each other, the broken-through walls don’t form right angles, the perspective is skewed, there is no vanishing point. Here in this hermetically sealed formation designed to keep out everything from outside, we find the petit-bourgeois bachelors from Kafka’s story. (…) These timid identikit beings, who try to shield themselves with ridiculous and impotent contortions may provoke laughter – but they are in fact no worse than us; perhaps they are even a little more savvy with their blundering strategies for overcoming fear, chaos and disaster. And it doesn’t even seem particularly uncomfortable, or even boring, in this multiply mirrored, inescapable, lonely pile of hell. At least watching it is fun, as was apparent from all the cheering at the end.”
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
Irene Bazinger, 15.02.2016
“Natali Seelig, Elias Arens, Moritz Grove, Bernd Moss and Jörg Pose form the quintet of lonely men who get pedantically dressed in the morning and pedantically undressed in the evening, who read their papers, brush their jackets, do a little gymnastics. It never looks dreary or depressing, but is arranged as an amusing choreography. Kriegenburg succeeds in always finding the funny side of the texts and to convey these in bizarre, literally skewed images.” “Natali Seelig, Elias Arens, Moritz Grove, Bernd Moss and Jörg Pose form the quintet of lonely men who get pedantically dressed in the morning and pedantically undressed in the evening, who read their papers, brush their jackets, do a little gymnastics. It never looks dreary or depressing, but is arranged as an amusing choreography. Kriegenburg succeeds in always finding the funny side of the texts and to convey these in bizarre, literally skewed images.”
Der Tagesspiegel
Christine Wahl, 15.02.2016
  “Andreas Kriegenburg and dramaturg Juliane Koepp succeed in extracting an up-to-the-minute, Pegida-ist portrait out of Kafka’s stories from the early twentieth century. A particularly clever move was to combine the famous story ‘The Burrow’ (which is open to many interpretations and like many of Kafka’s stories was never finished) with the story of the obsessively withdrawn Blumfeld. ‘The Burrow’ is written from the perspective of an animal (Kafka used the chapters on the badger and the mole in the reference book Brehms Tierleben [Brehm’s Animal Life] for inspiration) and describes the endless improvement works being done on the perfect burrow, which is totally secure and watertight against all potential intruders and outside influences.”   “Andreas Kriegenburg and dramaturg Juliane Koepp succeed in extracting an up-to-the-minute, Pegida-ist portrait out of Kafka’s stories from the early twentieth century. A particularly clever move was to combine the famous story ‘The Burrow’ (which is open to many interpretations and like many of Kafka’s stories was never finished) with the story of the obsessively withdrawn Blumfeld. ‘The Burrow’ is written from the perspective of an animal (Kafka used the chapters on the badger and the mole in the reference book Brehms Tierleben [Brehm’s Animal Life] for inspiration) and describes the endless improvement works being done on the perfect burrow, which is totally secure and watertight against all potential intruders and outside influences.”
taz
Katharina Granzin, 15.02.2016
“It is a text-heavy evening of theatre which is also physically demanding on the actors. For the audience it is nowhere near as strenuous; quite the opposite. It is rare for interpretations of Kafka to be so engaging. (…) It is brought to the stage with such energy and humour, that you are initially just busy enjoying yourself. (…)  The paranoid underlying mood of Kafka’s prose increasingly comes to the fore and culminates in a scene of ‘The Burrow’ in which all the grey men freeze into a pose, which in a film would signify that the killing is about to begin. But in Kafka, that point is never reached. The horror is in the foreboding; in its unswerving inevitability it is also dangerously funny.” “It is a text-heavy evening of theatre which is also physically demanding on the actors. For the audience it is nowhere near as strenuous; quite the opposite. It is rare for interpretations of Kafka to be so engaging. (…) It is brought to the stage with such energy and humour, that you are initially just busy enjoying yourself. (…)  The paranoid underlying mood of Kafka’s prose increasingly comes to the fore and culminates in a scene of ‘The Burrow’ in which all the grey men freeze into a pose, which in a film would signify that the killing is about to begin. But in Kafka, that point is never reached. The horror is in the foreboding; in its unswerving inevitability it is also dangerously funny.”
Süddeutsche Zeitung
Peter Laudenbach, 16.02.2016
“At the Deutsches Theater Berlin, Andreas Kriegenburg has combined texts by Franz Kafka (…) into a playful as well as provocative evening of theatre: ‘A Cage Went in Search of a Bird’. Behind the surreally bright surface this production is an intelligent commentary on the fear many Europeans have of immigrants and the conflicts threatening to impinge on their own affluent idylls. The petit-bourgeois cosiness of the neat-and-tidy men tips into paranoia before turning into aggression against an imaginary enemy. (…) This attempt to swim against the tide of current, well-meaning, theatrically and conceptually powerless plays about the refugee crisis, and instead to trust in Kafka’s large-scale images and to stage these with dancerly lightness it is both convincing and fascinating. It is rare for the connections between affluent fears and aggression to be illuminated on stage in such a clear and multifaceted away and with such dark humour.”  “At the Deutsches Theater Berlin, Andreas Kriegenburg has combined texts by Franz Kafka (…) into a playful as well as provocative evening of theatre: ‘A Cage Went in Search of a Bird’. Behind the surreally bright surface this production is an intelligent commentary on the fear many Europeans have of immigrants and the conflicts threatening to impinge on their own affluent idylls. The petit-bourgeois cosiness of the neat-and-tidy men tips into paranoia before turning into aggression against an imaginary enemy. (…) This attempt to swim against the tide of current, well-meaning, theatrically and conceptually powerless plays about the refugee crisis, and instead to trust in Kafka’s large-scale images and to stage these with dancerly lightness it is both convincing and fascinating. It is rare for the connections between affluent fears and aggression to be illuminated on stage in such a clear and multifaceted away and with such dark humour.” 

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