“No Light.” Jelinek’s disaster text at the Ruhr Triennale


A Reactor Accident. Two beings who do not know more more. And above all the question of “What floats?”. “There Is No Light. (2011/2012/2017)” by Elfriede Jelinek celebrates its Premiere as a vibrant piece of musical theatre.

Rusty pipes protrude knotted in the sky and convey a sense of forlornness. The landscape Park North in Duisburg is the perfect place for Elfriede Jelinek’s “No light in them. (2011/2012/2017)”. While the old hut has found a new determination, the future is in Jelinek’s piece is still completely open: A and B, which call themselves the first and second violin, floating in the Nothing and philosophize about how it could come to this. A disaster has happened, there is total silence, and at the same time indescribable noise. Maybe A and B are the only Survivors on the planet – or are you already dead? Elfriede Jelinek wrote the first version of “No light.” in the year 2011. The year in which a Tsunami in Fukushima caused a reactor accident, the many people deprived of the basis of life.

The former Industrial site landscape Park North

“My creativity comes from the Negative”

The Austrian Elfriede Jelinek is one of the most performed Contemporary German-language authors. For your work – poetry, prose, radio plays and theater pieces – she received numerous awards. In 2004, its “unique linguistic passion was honored” with the Nobel prize for literature. A decision that was debated in the Feuilletons controversial. Jelinek is considered to be Moralistin that settles in your texts, angry with the prevailing inequality between the sexes and transgressions of mankind, such as environmental pollution. She says: “My creativity comes from the Negative. I can’t describe the Positive.” Their dramatic texts are theatre texts in the conventional sense. It flow text without a clear dramaturgy and characters, it is left to the respective Director, as the Text is arranged in a theatre production.

Commissioned by the Ruhrtriennale is the author of Jelinek in may 2017 with a further Text. This is a Supplement to the original piece that was premiered in 2011 in Cologne, Germany, to current references. Because the topic of nuclear energy, especially in the context of nuclear weapons, is again very present. Since US President Donald Trump may not be missing as a climate change denier and nuclear weapons-friend. Under the title “No light. (2011/2012/2017)” celebrated Triennale, the piece now as a music theatre its world premiere at the Ruhr. The international art festival takes place since 2002 every three years, in the industrial monuments of the Ruhr area. Under the directorship of Johann Simons, this year’s program focuses on the future visions and utopias.

An opaque Text

Directed by Nicolas Stemann, who has already brought some of Jelinek’s pieces on the stage. Philippe Manoury has composed a music in the electronic Sound imperceptibly with orchestral sounds, blends. In an Interview with DW, the Frenchman to admit that he initially had problems with the piece: “My first contact with the Text was rather difficult, because the Text is very opaque.”

Composer Philippe Manoury

So he had oriented his composition of leitmotifs, such as the Wind, water, nuclear energy, or the animals. The inaccessibility of the text, which requires a lot of mental work, brought Manoury, finally, a new word creation: Actually, the production was a musical play – a combination of singing and acting. Because the Text and the Arrangement would have given him more to think of but so much, it would be more of a thinking game, so “think the game”.

There is no place for Ambiguity

In the case of the samples, the heads may have smoked – the result suggests, unfortunately, barely to Think. In two hours, the audience gets a spectacle of vibrant costumes and effect of hash ends of the gizmos on offer. There are video projections, a robot appears suddenly, a dog howls and the last third will be painted live a Virtual Reality Animation of the man-stricken earth and on a huge projected screen. These meta-levels are in addition to the orchestra music, Opera singing, and the spectacle of Caroline Peters as A and Niels Bormann as The provides temporarily for a shambles on stage. Actually, an appropriate scenario in the digital age, where everything happens at the same time and the man does not know even on what to focus on. Only be resolved with the pictures on the last ambiguity and the Text of his strength. A and B are talking about “the king” that resides in his “skyscraper-cuckoo-land”, everyone understands, at the latest, with the words “it’s all fake”, that it must go to Donald Trump. Afterwards send unnecessarily, his likeness in the animated 3D world globe and Erdogan.

In a piece about nuclear power and the environment the sins of Donald Trump should not be missing

A world without secrets is boring

Driven to the extreme, this Declaration is remembrance mania, when the evening is interrupted, and the composer himself takes to the microphone. He reported that during the rehearsals, a scientist was consulted, and the electronic music is just to listen to, is produced by a probability calculation. Here, everything is made transparent, unfortunately, a world without secrets is very boring.

The strongest moments of the Evening was the quiet. If Manourys composition comes to the fore, and the actors to mere votes. These moments also leave room for the spectators, about our dealings with the world to think and to wonder how it is for now. Of course, the production also has to this question a final answer. First of all, a sense of helplessness seems to prevail:

B: “And what have we learned?”

A: “I Don’t Know. But something we have already learned.”

But shortly afterwards, the two make out in a rocket to a new planet, while in the Background the earth explodes. It remains to hope that the mankind can think of in time a better solution.