iPlay

By Bernhard Studlar

Translated by Henning Bochert

Volume 5, Issue 3 (Spring 2015)

During the now distant eighties of the last century, Peter Greenaway shot a few feature films that impressed me enormously, among them Drowning by Numbers, which – like all of these films – was characterized by a pertinacity that was perhaps deeply embedded in that era as a whole. In addition to this intense film, with its driving, trancelike Michael Nyman score, Greenaway published a book entitled FEAR OF DROWNING BY NUMBERS RÈGLES DU JEU, in which he lays out the film’s inherent principles:

Throughout the film Drowning by Numbers, there runs a number count of one to one hundred, which serves as an incidental and ironic structure against which three women can drown their husbands.

At the start of the film, one of the women and the skipping-rope girl have the following exchange:

I’m counting the stars. – There are more than a hundred. – I know. – Why did you stop? – A hundred is enough. Once you’ve counted a hundred, all the other hundreds are the same.

Everything is playful. Everything is incredibly fantastical.

Bernhard Studlar‘s IPLAY reminds me of both Greenaway’s film and book. All three are numbered from one to one hundred throughout their respective length, even though the parameters have since changed. Several decades have since come and gone, and pertinacity has vanished; flexibility and mobility are the mottos of today. What has remained, however, is the necessity for structure in artistic works. But structure in fictional literature (including dramatic literature) is always an artificial construction, so why not strip this necessity of pretense completely and make it all transparent?

One hundred ‘apps’ (like the numbers in Greenaway’s film) throughout the play lead from nowhere to nowhere (but not to anyone being drowned), there are no characters doing anything, and no meaning coagulates around any plot. Even the narrator disappears, and all that remains – as the playwright points out in his preface – is text. With a pleasantly light touch, Studlar avoids all elements typical of the nineteenth century (“I have a feeling that it’s become obsolete to correspond to the world I live in – and maybe you, too, but who knows, anyway – with a play in three acts with five characters and a linear plot.”) to create a poetic perspective on a (certainly urban) world (“fucking nature”), on a folding chair on the pavement maybe, the tagged subway seat, the traffic light where fragmented conversations are snatched from people waiting.

The term ‘app’ for the extremely exposed text units – often only less than a single sentence – suggests a practical applicability that the lines themselves, of course, refuse. What could such a text be useful for? What specific niche function could such a sentence, a link to a fictitious URL, or to a slogan have? In the epilog, the playwright remarks: “I have no clue what this is about. (…) I have no clue whether others might get any ideas from this.” Furthermore, this lightly woven piece will comfort the machinery of theater, which takes itself so seriously, by appearing to say: easy now, it’s alright, let go. Its transparency without coherence (at least at first sight) has a liberating and inspirational effect. You want to play around with these handy chunks, which retain the poetic quality of the text without loading or overloading them with any pressure to be meaningful beyond what’s on the page. Reduction may not only increase a given text’s specific poetic weight but also decrease it by creating space to breathe.

The text contains an explicit challenge to creatively participate: “Intervene, create a new mix, add to it”. Studlar quotes the notion of open source from the digital and functional world, which so far I have only encountered with Charles Mee (no doubt there are others): add to and feed into this play’s text cloud as it travels from past to future productions. This shifts the audience’s perspective away from the one specific production, in which they are listening to those lines, toward an awareness of the play’s journey out of the playwright’s head onto (hopefully) different stages, into directors’ and actors’ and finally the audiences’ heads. At one of these stages, we encounter the text, or it encounters us.

As a translator working on this text, I had to preserve its lightness and also ask myself what evokes it. There are, in the very brevity of the texts, so many hints and patterns pointing in different directions, sometimes creating images that don’t seem to connect to the preceding or following lines. Yet the confusion in one line sometimes provokes a yearning for a safe space that may then be projected onto the image in the next line.

Idioms and sayings are demanding challenges for any translator. IPLAY abounds with them, but often taken to another level, e.g. using puns. One example is: “Was der Bauer nicht kennt, denkt er nicht.” The original saying goes “Was der Bauer nicht kennt, isst er nicht” (meaning: A farmer won’t eat anything he doesn’t know). However, the saying is modified to express, “A farmer won’t think anything he doesn’t already know”.

I also liked the commonplace saying “Irgendwas ist immer”, which means there’s always something going on, something in the way, some problem. Its charm is, of course, its simple elliptic wording, which is hard or nearly impossible to convey in translation, the German for once being more concise than the English.

My research also included the notation of chess games and its history in English, as the playwright chose to use one in his play.

In pursuit of a contemporary feel in line with the ‘app’ metaphor, Studlar employs many English phrases in his play. Some of the slogans (e. g. “Help is on the way”) are in English, or both in English and German (“Willkommen daheim 🙂 Welcome home”), as are some slogan-like lines such as “Applications for life”, or the “occupy” in “everything is so occupy” or the recurring “You make me laugh, but it isn’t funny”. All of these seem like half-familiar quotes from forgotten movies. That pseudo-hip layer of the text is most likely lost in the translation. I would therefore encourage any production of the play to feel free to add some of the German original into the show in hopes of retaining that effect.

Bernhard Studlar was born 1972 in Vienna, studied theatre sciences, philosophy, German science and journalism at the Vienna University 1991-1996. He then studied playwriting at the University of Arts Berlin 1998-2002. Studlar writes plays by himself as well as together with Andreas Sauter. He received the Playwright Award of Heidelberg Stückemarkt for his play “Transdanubia Dreaming” in 2001. His first play (written together with Andreas Sauter) “A. ist eine andere” received the renowned Kleist Supporting Award for Young Drama in 2000. “All about Mary Long” received the “Radical Comedy” Award of Staatstheater Kassel. In December 2003, “Mariedl-Kantine” premiered at Burgtheater Wien. “A. ist eine andere” received the “Radio Play of the Year” award in 2004. From 2010-2012, Studlar wrote three plays in a row for the Vienna Theater Rabenhof: “Human Being Parcival,” “Don Q,” and “Die prima Stadtmusikanten – Rette sich, wer kann!” Bernhard Studlar lives as a freelance playwright in Vienna.

Henning Bochert works as playwright, dramaturg, and translator in Berlin. Since 1996, he accomplished numerous translations of theatre plays for various agencies (incl. Wolfram Lotz, Christoph Hein, Ingrid Lausund and Martin Heckmanns into English, and George Brant, Adam Rapp, Neil Simon, Carlos Murillo, and Jason Grote into German). Since 2007, he is a member of raum4 – netzwerk für künstlerische alltagsbewältigung, and since 2009, he is part of Drama Panorama: Forum for Translation and Theater, an international platform for translators of dramatic literature. Bochert produced, realized and participated as dramaturg, producer and translator in productions like SumSum2 – eine grenzenlose Liebes- und Sprachverwirrung (Erlangen, St. Petersburg), phoenix transatlantic and Werkschau Wuppertal (both in Berlin). He was invited to the Werkstatttage für Autoren (playwrights’ workshop) at the Deutsches Schauspielhaus in Hamburg in 2002. In the same year, he taught acting at the University of Arts Berlin. In 1994 he received a Bachelor of Arts (Acting) at University of Arts Berlin. He founded the translation agency Bochert Translations in 1997. He has been a certified translator for English since 2014.

 

iPlay: Drama app for the stage (supermarket and everyday use)

 

Die Quelle ist dort, wo jemand den Mut hat, wider den Zwang zur schnellen Wortfindung über diese Welt, einmal von ihrer beschallten Oberfläche zu verschwinden, um sich langsam auf den Grund sinken zu lassen, ins Sprachlose. Um dort leibhaftig zu erfahren, was mit dieser Welt geschehen ist.

(Angela Krauß)

 (The source can be found where someone is – against the compulsion to quickly find words about this world – courageous enough to disappear for once from its sounding surface, to let himself slowly sink to the bottom, into speechlessness. To physically experience there what happened to this world.

(Angela Krauß)

 

iPlay — author’s foreword

Thank you for choosing iPlay.

The playwright appreciates your interest.

The text below is a suggestion, nothing more and nothing less. A playing field, if you like this term for the boards that allegedly represent the world. A free, wide space, grassroot insights, dandelion sentences, language clover, word-weeds galore, an occasional bloomer and lots of creatures twitter (tirades?), scurrying about and trying to hold their ground. (Watch out, you’ll find a heap of crap in that field as well, of course, but then please elegantly avoid it, or properly bag it and dispose of it. Thank you.)

What will eventually be seen on stage is completely subject to the kind of fantasies that happen to surface in the course of the app’s realization/application.

First of all, there is text. Nothing else. Everything is a question of language, everything one large, vast space of language. Spanning associations, memories, fragments of stories. In the centre stands one narrating “I”. It may remain by itself or multiply in the course of the production of the text. From the individual to the chorus. From the moment of “now” on stage, back into the future and into the past again, and back again, and so on…

That much is for sure and can be read on the following pages. The text in its order follows a certain logic and also contains a certain suspense.

But. (Always that little, mean but!)

It is very possible and all right with the playwright if, in the production of iPlay, changes, interlockings, and twistings are applied. Go ahead. Take a shot.

Intervene, create a new mix, add to it. But please, proceed sensibly. If you write any new additions, please be kind enough to make your writing available to iPlay and all future users.

Another option is to contact the playwright and order an amendment.

But careful! These amendments might entail extra charges. (Europe min € XXX per App. All other requests are subject to negotiations.)

And one last user hint:

Forget irony!

Forget intellectual over-interpretation!

Forget all that meaningful bullshit!

Just play. Just say the lines. Never stop.

Please click “Accept” now and then turn the page. Pleasant reading!

Bernhard Studlar, Vienna 2012

 

 

Prologue

Who are we

Who are we anyway

We decorate ourselves with (his)stories

Glue false beards to our faces

And adorn ourselves with borrowed plumes

We buy ourselves clothes and favours

We let ourselves be loved

Fall ill

Suffer and tremble

When no one is looking we’re great

Behind the door of our room

When no one’s looking we are naked

In the dark we lie and listen

To the signals from out there

Is that our world calling?

Is that my name it’s calling?

A yearning is tapping on our door

That we must die of (sunken in silence)

 

 

100 Applications for life (1-7)

  1. Survive – I’m here to

Survive, that is the motto

Survive: the password. And all good comes from above/comes from the heart/evil is watching/lies on the ground

Looks up to the sky

  1. Do you know this feeling when your heart expands until it aches?

Sadness because it is what it is

Sadness because the world is what it is

Like that

Like that

Like that

With such lights, such skies, such waters and creatures and such darkness

 

A yearning is tapping on our door

Hello?

Hello?

  1. You make me laugh, but it isn’t funny
  1. I/he, this man fell in love with this one woman because she wore the same perfume as my/his mother. The rest, meaning everything else about this woman, was different. Completely different. My mother used to smell so good of cake. The smell of food – a feeling of safety. That’s gone now. Long gone. The mother. (and the safety)
  1. I and my withered heart

I – VAT included

I and my idea of

Sex

(6.)  I and

I/he and I/her (No, there is no we)

But I and

That’s an offer. “I and” is a docking station.

A space satellite comes flying,

hurled from its orbit, and crashes into me. Docking manoeuvre

accomplished. Damaged sustained after all

in both of them, after such a long search. After such a long

time of waiting and hard labour. After so many hours.

At the end of the night, just before it …

Tomorrow everything will be different.

Please not now, don’t turn tomorrow now

Please …

Because the world is, what it is

Like that

Like that

Like that

  1. (Uneasy)

I feel uneasy

When I think about the future, I feel

Uneasy

Why?

I don’t know what tomorrow will bring

(Brittle)

I have a brittle feeling

When I think about the future, I have a

brittle feeling

I don’t know

Something is about to break

If not tomorrow, then later

that’s for sure

 

 

Insert 1

 

 

Everything is

everybody’s fault

 

 

100 Applications for life (8-19)

  1. Sooner or later. (You want it – You buy it)

There’s always one more to the masses than you think. And this one person suddenly stands in front of you. A gun in his hand

or a knife, a weapon anyway. What does he want from you?

Why me? Wrong question, painful answer. How

much you’d like to be rich now. But as it is …

Better or farther? (You forget)

Far better

  1. funny but something’s missing

something’s missing there, I just can’t think of it

but something’s missing there …

I?

funny but something’s missing there

  1. Loss, dammit, loss!

Loss of rate, loss of value, loss of heart, loss of lust (loss)

I say: Who now believes that he or she knows the crisis,

doesn’t know 2012 et seqq.

  1. go to http://www.crisis.com/orbit – Go there, move it, fucking go there!
  1. So I always say: Whatever kind of work, the main thing is that it’s done diva-style. The main thing is that you keep your pride.
  1. Loss, dammit, loss!

Need to go against that. Against the wall!

Regardless of the losses. Go!

Faster, farther, better, more expensive. Wickeder!

(this is my idea of having fun)

  1. Welcome to the world of New Iconomy

Result matters! / only the result matters!

Always be – always first!

Overcome what’s in your way!

Think about the usefulness of the others to you

Use the others’ thinking for yourself

Copy & Paste

Copy & Waste

My working area is my home

My home is my desktop!

  1. Chorus n°1

There’s snow outside

Birds drop dead from the sky

Hail of bombs (black on white)

(And somewhere – in the far back of the picture – a bonfire)

  1. I never grew up, only older

It is a Saturday in autumn

And already too cold to stand

Barefoot in the meadows

The long stick with the sack of cloth

Hand-sewn by unknown ancestors

I used to climb the apple tree

Effortless up to the

Crown

Today I put down roots myself

Let the apples up there and

My shoulders droop

  1. Please don’t tell me now that it was too much work for you
  1. I know that the Chinese across the street eat crows. I watched them. Their trick is simple. They leave their kitchen window on the fifth floor open a bit. There’s some food on the inside windowsill. The hungry, greedy crows first land on the outside windowsill and watch. They are careful. Yet. But because it is so nice and quiet, they are tempted by the food. It’s only a quick hop, and they’re inside the kitchen. It’s only a small piece of cheap, fat pork. Their last meal. Then the Chinese closes the window.

I’d like to know what crow tastes like and what he does with the feathers.

There are 1.8 billion Chinese

And we still believe

And we still believe

The Chinese symbol for love looks like a leaf tree.

Something like this:

Picture1My apple tree also belongs to the Chinese now.

  1. You make me laugh but it isn’t funny

 

 

Insert 2

 

 

Help is

on the

way

 

 

100 Applications for life (20-28)

  1. I bought a bottle stopper. At the second-hand shop. It’s a gilded deer that I since put on each wine bottle as soon as it’s opened. The golden deer has something majestic about it. I could keep looking at it for hours while drinking wine.
  1. go to http://www.crisis.com/selfcontrol
  1. To beautify the world by drinking is possible within limits. Regarded from afar, everybody is potentially beautiful and very certainly different. I, I, I. He, she, and so on. Regarded from up close: nothing but organs and cells – all but one sauce contained by unclean skin. Enjoy.
  1. Uniforms. Uniforms (always never) help get an orientation. White coat – I’m in a hospital. Green uniform – my house is on fire. Blue uniform – I’m in jail. Your black clothes, always your black clothes, the whole closet is full of them!
  1. Counselling

Take the nearest book to you.

Go to page 66 and read the first sentence:

That’s what your future will look like.

Avoid finding yourself another book if you didn’t like the sentence.

It won’t get any better, and even if so, it won’t happen, because only the first book is the Book of Truth.

It is like it always is, the first impulse is true. The second, third, fourth is potentially the right one.

  • Yes, yes. The enigma of life in the Elysium of empty streets.
  • Shut it!
  1. Your past is your past, I’m not interested in what you did yesterday or three years ago.

I’m not interested in how you make a living.

I’m not interested in how old you are.

I’m not interested in when you studied where and whether you are ashamed of looking the way you look.

I’m not interested in who you are and how it is that you are here now.

  1. I don’t want to know whether you run the risk of looking ridiculous for me.

I want to know whether you run the risk of showing me your inner pain.

I want to know whether you are HIV positive.

  1. go to http://www.crisis.com/love
  1. I dye my hair

Shave my crotch (the shame off of my posture)

Tattoo a snake

Onto my back

I load the burden

Of love

 

 

Insert 3

 

 

Leave

your money

in your

account!

 

 

100 Applications for life (29-35)

  1. Property = Burden! Do you know one true communist? – See, they all cleared out to North Korea already. Or to the moon.
  1. The poor breathe noisily through their mouths. A demonstration. Skin on skin. Beat on beat. I call that Capitalist Realism.
  1. The system today is stronger than its elements. People used to believe that individuals could affect a change within the system. It’s not like that anymore. That’s become impossible today. The system has become so strong that even criticizing the system will only stabilize it.

(So what to do?)

Today all thinking (consciously or not) is aimed at sustaining the system. E.g. we must not let the Bank of XXX go bankrupt because otherwise (we believe) the system would implode. Promises and, a little later, agreements are made that can then, if necessary, be broken again or terminated.

This creates the impression that no one is in control of the situation anymore…

Political. Everything is so exceedingly political.

I/he political. You. Everyone. Everything is so occupy.

Every roadhouse toilet, every public opinion. Everything occupied – and who owns the property?

  1. Whatever the world holds in store for me:

Dear Father Christmas,

I’m powerless and shy, so I put my hope into your hands and onto your wings I lay my debts. But could you please make these wishes come true for next year?

  1. Clean air. 2. Good weather. 3. More fairness in distribution. 4. A higher credit line. 5. A different government. 6. A personal rescue fund (cf. 4.) and an adidas track top.

Thanks.

Warmest, your

  1. Interrogation/Survey

– Is it true that the XXX Company transferred a monthly amount of €12,000 to your account between June 2010 and December 2011?

– Yes

– What have you received this amount of money for?

– I have no perception about that

– Why do you feel like a fraud while being so successful?

– Objection, leading question

– Would you like to comment on that?

– …

– Would you like to comment on that?

– No

– Did you provide any kind of services for the payments made?

– I have no perception about that

  1. Hello and welcome to a new issue of Irobic, the fitness programme for the New Iconomy.

Great to have you with us again. We are training for a better world. Are you ready?

And here we go!

 

Hands out of your pockets, give them a good shake aaaaand

Palms up

everything clean

Hands up

we didn’t do anything

Palms out front

Stay away from us

And now push!

Palms out front

Not one step closer

Palms out front

I know my rights(You make me laugh but it isn’t funny)

  1. Backpedalling

 

 

Insert 4

 

 

Congratulations

 

 

100 Applications for life (36-40)

  1. You can’t change the thinking of a lifetime.
  1. Close your eyes for a moment – very good. Trust me – very good. And now – take a deep breath.
  1. Nothing exists outside a/my unique reality, whose name is irrelevant – God, the Infinite, the Absolute, Cyberspace, whatever it’s being named.

My reality doesn’t have a single feature that could be defined.

Every attempt to describe it/me I’d have to answer: No! I can say what it’s not but not what it is.

Everything that seems like existence is nothing but the Absolute under a false conception. The only thing that exists underneath this surge of phantoms of egos is the True Self, the One. That’s you! I say to myself and he to himself.

That’s why it is already a form of force to regard yourself as others.

  1. One can only say, one doesn’t know anything specific, but that is enough.
  1. Much can be imagined, for example that…

in the future, every human being will be assigned defined daily procedures. An unalterable life plan. From birth to death. No choice. And some day, a friendly lady will hand you an envelope with the date of your death in it.

in the future, every human being will receive a pill on his or her 18th birthday to end their lives with at any time.

in the future, our collective memory will be deleted on each New Year’s Eve on the stroke of twelve.

in the future, all men will live like nomads. Without property one will move from job to job, from relationship to relationship, from one sketch of life to the next.

Much can be imagined, for example that it will be more beautiful in the future.

Well. No. Or will it?

Noise interference

Well that would need to be discussed now. I mean…

It starts with terminology even. Future?! –

Is that a practical focus on the next day or rather more metaphysically and generally (meaning cowardly) thrown into the discussion? And what’s more… hello?

 

 

Insert 5

 

 

Welcome

home

🙂

 

 

100 Applications for life (41-50)

  1. Chorus n°2

 

This is it

This is new

This is nothing

This is everything

This is it

I made this just for you.

  1. Many beautiful things. Naked winters without snow. Naked bodies. It’s good not to have to worry about where the next meal will come from.

– Here. I made this only for you.

  1. Space is not empty but filled with a thin but very hot gas, a plasma of wishes and hopes, and it’s interwoven with veins of fears and areas filled with fright. Like inside your body, stormy, weather-like phenomena triggered by the sun are happening within this medium. On one hand, these storms may create marvellous aurorae, but also dangerously jeopardize the human infrastructure. The sky tumbles onto your head.
  1. I don’t even know whether I’m happy or sad. Tears in my eyes and joy in my heart.

It’s my birthday today. I’m turning …

– Here. I made this just for you.

  1. I remember my birth – I don’t. Who laid the foundation for my existence? I wonder how a man becomes what he is. Why do I dress this way?

Why do I sleep alone and naked?

  1. Woke up and thought my left eye was a mirror. Fell out of bed because of all that dreaming. Turned my eyes to the future and thought: “Viewed from here, everything looks very far away.” Stretched daytime.
  1. It was a misunderstanding – of course faster is always better. Society is accelerating. Me, you, itself. Society fills me up with desires. But what was inside me at the very beginning?
  1. Imagine – no, don’t imagine – better not imagine anything and put yourself (that is without an imagination thereof) out on the street … It’s not much that man brings with him into this world.
  1. The things that disappeared from my life:

 

My scooter. The girl I had sex with for the first time. Our dog. The postcards friends wrote me from their vacations. The boy I had sex with for the first time. My hair.

The things that will disappear in my lifetime:

Newspapers, books, music, my parents, my memory, possession of things in general… my privacy.

– Here. I made this just for you.

– I made this just for you.

– Here.

  1. STOP! Intermission. Half-time. Commercials:

 

No more hangovers!

We all know this. Stress produces free radicals that block our power and continue to impede our organism. But that’s history now!

The DRINK, the new function beverage, provides relaxation and relief. Gingko optimizes blood circulation, guarana sharpens the senses and ginseng makes us stress-resistant.

With the 3G feature of The DRINK one sip will bring you back into the safety zone.

The effect. The taste. The feeling. Everything wrapped up in one in:

The DRINK.

(PS: Who will clean up when everything is over?)

 

 

Interlude/TEXT

 Text?

Texttexttext.

Text. Texttext.

Text.

Text!

Text!!

Te-ext!!!

 

 

Text text.

Text.

Texttext – text.

Text.

 

Text?

Text.

Text!?

Text. Text.

 

Uh…

 

 

100 Applications for life (51-55)

  1. Nature can’t bear emptiness. There’s always something. Something is always suppressing something. Something is always killing something and something else is giving birth to something.

Always. Nature. Never. Peace and quiet.

  1. 1. go to http://www.crisis.com/backtonature
  1. 2. go to http://www.crisis.com/backtotorture
  1. I got up early. Still dark out. On the street silence, and dew in the meadows. Park in fog. They both slid from the fog like a row boat.

The passed me without a word, and suddenly I didn’t know what was next.

This couple so very close and true. Why today of all days? This couple made me… I remember the red glowing that you see when you look into the sun with your eyes closed.

  1. Dialogue n°1

 

What do you want?

Me?

Yeah, you?

Me?

What do you want to be?

I, I want to…

What do you want to be?

I want to be with you…

What?

Tell me what I…

You! What do you want?

You tell me. I’ll do what you…

Stop! Stop!!! For once tell me what you want to do. You… you can do so much. Could do/be so much.

Me?

Yeah, you.

I…don’t know. You tell me.

  1. Chorus n°3

 

Rain falling outside

My shares, my shares

 

 

Insert 6

 

 

Go! Create!

Resistance!

Lose weight!

Run! Diet!

My body is my resistance

 

 

100 Applications for life (56-58)

  1. Dawn (or I don’t care what the others say)

 

I should do it differently

I should be more honest

I should respect the other person and

I should do it differently

I should get up

I should be honest and

I should do it differently

I should get up and take my time to understand

I should leave some room, so others

 

I should do it differently

  1. Things are talking to me. The chair in the kitchen creaks and it sounds like “It’s good to have you here.”

I lay down on the floor and listened whether there’d be anybody home underneath. I imagined laughter.

  1. Dialogue n°2

 

And is that over now?

No, but it’s gotten less.

 

 

100 Applications for life (59-63)

  1. You can be the latest love guru in town once you know the secrets. – I senseless-ize around. If I had work I wouldn’t have to think about sex that much.
  1. Memory of a wailing woman coming up to me begging. Her body swaying in her singsong. I don’t understand what she sings. She’s holding a battered Starbucks cup with a bit of change in one hand, in the other she’s holding a Polaroid of a dead, laid-out man. He’s lying on his deathbed and underneath, in handwriting, reads: “Pleese help mi. Man dead. 3 kids.”
  1. Enjoy. I can’t enjoy anything anymore. Except maybe a glass of good wine. Or a meal here and there. Sex? Pffft. The people’s expectation appears to be fundamentally exaggerated there. Sex. Please. Toiling with a bunch of tepid deficiencies.

Pause.

And then your therapist tells you: The sun is shining. It’s a nice day. Enjoy that. Go sit in a café and enjoy the nice day.

What is that?

The sun is shining, that’s nature. Just like if it were raining. Sure, it’s more comfortable when the sun is shining. But that’s got nothing, absolutely nothing to do with me. The sun is shining. What’s that got to do with my joy? He’s acting as if rain were unenjoyable. That idiot.

Fucking therapist. Get sunburned yourself and enjoy that!

  1. In all the magazines you browse… the models.

You wonder whether they actually have a pussy. No seriously, did you ever look at what these women in fashion ads look like? You probably did, but not real close. Because otherwise… the privates are a photoshopped spot. Completely indifferent.

No pussy underneath their clothes. Never be too specific. Never risk a lawsuit.

Back then, they put a banana in David Beckham’s trousers. Really, they did. Well, that’s what I read. In another magazine.

  1. You make me laugh but it isn’t funny

 

 

Insert 7

 

 

FUCK

IRONY!

 

 

Interlude / Continuation

On

It goes

On

For anything to go on

For anything to stay

Temporarily

Something goes

It goes on and something else stays behind

Temporarily

What’s in front stays

For anything to stay

What stayed behind

Will be forgotten

Look back? – No thanks

On

Better on

It goes

On

For anything to stay

It goes

On like that

 

 

100 Applications for life (64-67)

  1. How does clarity evolve? What do I believe, what do I think, what do I know? (oh, what do I know!)
  1. I looked at the sea until there was nothing left but a coloured surface. I counted the lightning and the distance of the thunderbolts. What an opera-like death, I thought. What a Caspar David Friedrich-like death.

Life on screen. “I” is the enormous solitude of my entire life.

  1. Dialogue n°3

 

You wanna know something?

Leave me alone

You wanna know something

Piss off

Yeah, but I’m gonna tell you something first

And what?

Everything is gonna be alright

Asshole

  1. Chorus n°4

 

The clouds outside

No more money – no money

Sunshine

We saw it come

And go again

Lines of cars – lines of cars

 

 

100 Applications for life (68-74)

  1. Everything is related. To everything. In this house. For example, all beginning lies on the street in front of this house. With the head at the window, eyes closed, able to feel how the bus is passing the house on the street below, how the window vibrates when the bus passes, feel …

It’s all between my ears

  1. What patterns connect us with the world?

What patterns connect us with the fish on our plate. And the fish with the world? And with other fish, with urchins, the sea and love’s waves?

Where is the sea in me, after I swallowed the fish? How is my stomach connected with…

How are the frontal sinuses connected with the paranasal sinuses? – All right, I can google that. I can wikipedi-ize that. That will be connectible. But another question: who fucks whom?

There is an imbalance in the soul.

  1. Greed is great – says his shopping bag. His fucking tightly packed shopping bag, the sack of truth.

How he carries it in front of him, both hands always tightly pressed around the handles. Because that’s his life in there. But he doesn’t understand what the bag says, the sack, but it suits him well, suits his look well, too, (hounded), because such a tightly packed sack attracts attention. Attracts it and draws it onto itself and with the others’ looks their hands come closer, too. That’s only very remotely got to do with tenderness.

  1. The journey from A to B. The journey from B to… A? Or C? Or stay?

(iStay in iPlay)

You mark time until

The ground disappears from under your feet

You slip and fall

On your nose

Into the arms of your fellow

Daytime and night-time welcome you

Sweet dreams

Escape routes

  1. Everything is in motion, everything is guaranteed to be connected with everything. Our thoughts – dancing monkeys. A universal network, alive in waves. The threads of this network spanning over our heads. They come from the past and split up into the future. A constant remembering and forgetting. (And who knows, maybe we’re all sitting on the bottom of a terrarium that someone put up in his very extensive laboratory a long time ago, and now is watching what’s going on in there.)
  1. Dialogue n°4

 

You’re probably not gonna go for a drink either

Yes

Yes what?

Yes, right, are you

By myself

Well

No

Well then

Right

 

(Pause.)

Too bad actually

You’re the one who doesn’t

And you do

Yeah

But what makes you think that I wouldn’t

No clue, self-protection

Alcohol is no threat to me

No, my self-protection from disappointments

I see. Because I

No. Because I, but you were saying

No, you were saying

All right, so would you wanna go for a drink with me

Sorry, I can’t, I

See. Shit.

But

Shit, it’s always like that. Always always always.

Insert 8

 

 

Don’t leave your money in your account

no matter what!

 

 

100 Applications for life (74-80)

  1. The finance minister says, the state bankruptcy of… can’t be excluded

The chancellor feels that the salvation of … is feasible

The president puts her fullest confidence in the rescue fund

The finance minister locates a shift inside the Union regarding the opinion about…

The president believes that Europe won’t abandon…

The chancellor says that aid payments for… are no longer guaranteed

Without a compromise by… the central bank won’t purchase any more issues,

The president says.

The finance minister says

The chancellor feels

The president

  1. go to http://www.crisis.com/lastactioneuro
  1. Whoever isn’t burnt out by the pursuit of success at the end of the day is a deadbeat!

If you, yes you, aren’t able to raise your creative potential, to convey your ideas passionately – then forget it!

If you, yes you, just want to keep your job, then your life is senseless.

Suffer aches, make an effort, consider yourself a doctor, your idea is a remedy saving the world! Trust your idea, turn it into money! You’re happiest when you’re creative and sleep is your enemy. It steals away a third of your life, of your working time. An 80-year-old is awake for an average of about 230,000 hours of his life. So when you’re 80 and sleep one hour less from now on, you will have an advantage of years over your competition! You hear?

  1. There’s always someone who is worse off.
  1. Inside the doctors’ waiting rooms. Where to put all the pain?

The air is full of it up to the ceiling. The magazines have hardly any colour or shape left. Neon light tires the eyes. The receptionist and her perm rock when she’s on the phone. The patients eye each other suspiciously. Never catch anything and never go to the toilet lest you lose your starting position.

Chance to get well! Dammit! That’s my chance to get well! Antibiotics! Give me antibiotics.

  1. Blood donation! …………………….. Blood donation centre!
  1. I’m allergic. Fucking antibiotics! First they help you, and then they finish you off. Ruin your stomach, make you susceptible.

I’m allergic, dammit! Fucking creditiotics! First they help me and then they make me relapse. Ruin my car, if I don’t pay, make me go crazy. Of course I relapse. Gambling machines are the oracles of our time. I’m pro abolition of all drugs and absolution of all debts.

Will that be the justice of God then?

Commercial intermission

We.

Live.

More.

Simple.

She.

Here.

I.

Naturally.

Good.

 

You.

Know.

Better.

With.

Children.

I.

Performance.

Value.

Insured.

 

 

Applications for life (81-82)

  1. Dialogue n°5

 

You can’t do that, you can’t just tell me that I’m clumsy during sex

You’re drunk

That’s got nothing to do with it

It does, every time you’re drunk, you get horny

I’m absolutely unhorny now

Me too

But you can’t just say to a couple of strangers over dinner that

He is your brother and she is your sister-in-law

But everybody at the next table heard that

You’re hallucinating

You really think so

Yes

No, I mean, do you really think that I

  1. In order to get to know the world, one has to lick it. In order to know who the next one will be, one certainly has to lick them. When you know who tastes like what, it doesn’t matter what else he or she is blathering on about to present themselves, you know the taste level and it’s not lying. You are what you taste like. That being licked may also be pleasant makes reproduction possible. If it all depended on blathering, we’d probably be extinct already.

 

 

100 Applications for life (83-91)

  1. There are people who take a little daylight with them when they go.
  1. Loneliness is a person sitting down next to you. A person without a face.

She comes and sits next to you. Even if others are with you. Loneliness may appear at any time. Everyone for himself, only for himself alone.

  1. You call this life? – This muck!?
  1. Options for departure/Escape routes

(from Vienna between 10am and 11am)

 

Zurich, Bagdad, Budapest

Vilnius, Moscow, Paris

Skopje, Prague, Verona

Iași and Linz

Zagreb, Barcelona

Warsaw and St. Petersburg

Erbil, Graz, Sofia

Bucharest, Larnaca, Oslo

Dnipropetrovsk

Washington, D.C.

Tel Aviv

Cairo, Athens, Toronto

Podgorica, Linz, Malta

Donetsk, Istanbul, Düsseldorf

New York, New York, New York

Reus, Odessa, Cluj

Berlin, Belgrade, Stockholm

Athens, Frankfurt, Düsseldorf

Munich

  1. Why do passport pictures always turn out so bad? No matter what I do, how big an effort I make. The machine will always give out bad pictures. I believe it’s a state issued secret law. With the help of these ID pictures, the state wants to let us know: look at you, we give you such a nice ID card, we grant you an identity, let you participate in elections, endow you with human rights, let you drive a car and so on. But why? As ugly as you are, pale in the face, crazy look, hair greasy and thin. Why does it do that? Because the state wants to tell us, I’m better than you are, you little ID card gnome. Look at you, then you’ll know why we rightfully demand taxes from you.

But are there any pictures of the state?

(An uneven fight)

  1. What are you looking at? Yeah you, what are you looking at?
  1. go to http://www.crisis.com/mirrorimage
  1. I regret that I can’t help you with that. My circumstances don’t allow me to fulfil your wishes. Please spare me your request. I’m very angry, but it is absolutely impossible that I…

The moment is unfavourable, maybe another time something can be done, believe me. Believe me that I truly regret it from my heart.

  1. Chorus n°5

 

Storms outside

Electricity Gas Water (Bills)

 

 

Alternative occupation

  1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 e6 5. Bg5 h6 6. Bh4 dxc4 7. e4 g5 8. Bg3 b5 9. Be2 Bb7 10. Qc2 Nbd7 11. Rd1 Nh5
  2. d5 Nxg3 13. hxg3 Qb6 14. dxe6 fxe6 15. Nxg5 Bc5
  3. Bh5+ Ke7 17. Nxe6 Ne5 18. Nxc5 Qxc5 19. Be2 Raf8
  4. 0-0 Rhg8 21. b4 Qxb4 22. Qd2 Qc5 23. Qxh6 Bc8 24. Qh4+ Ke6
  5. Qh6+ Ke7 26. Qh5 Kf6 27. Qh4+ Ke6 28. Nd5 cxd5
  6. Rxd5 Qb6 30. Qh5 db8 31. Rfd1 Rf6 32. Rxe5 Qxe5
  7. Bg4+ Rxg4 34. Qe8 mate.

 

 

100 Applications for life (92-99)

  1. When you come home, there won’t be any home left.

Yes, you are gullible if you think that your life is not in danger. Shots, bombs, grenades, cancer. A wrong-way driver, a fishbone. Murder and homicide, death of love and jealousy. A car for your garage? It’s burning long since. Better walk on foot, that’s an honest death, maybe it’s of some use to the murderer, at least as long as he or she is the next victim.

  1. And after life? Will, on the next morning, begin the next life, in which you can do much differently. Move abroad. Or become anorexic. Join a community of faith. Beget children. Look for god. Find god? Anyway, there are enough new kinds of disappointments to be discovered.

But stop blaming someone else at once!

  1. I’ll start counting now
  1. I’ll start defending myself now

and I’m angrier than you can imagine

  1. Dialogue n°6

 

I’m sorry

No

I couldn’t

I know

I know that you

It’s my fault

No I

Doesn’t matter, we still got time

 

(Pause.)

I felt something inside, here. Inside. It hurts so damn bad.

We got time

Help me

We got time

Help me, I love you

(Pause.)

I’m sorry

No

  1. I’m free. So free, that I lock myself up inside me

and inside me and

inside my flat

Orientation

Outside is gone

I’m there. I’m in the right place. I don’t have to.

I’m good.

I play.

Am on the lookout

An area of tension in my face

I’m better than

I’m not like that, I’m like that

I’m already dead. No. I’m no

Alive

Outside is gone

I’m there. I don’t have to. I may.

I’m good. I

Believe me, I …

  1. I remember the sudden twitching in the moment before falling asleep
  1. A lullaby (and then)

 

 

Insert 9

 

 

3

2

1

0

 

 

100 Applications for life (100)

  1. I stopped counting

Eyes still closed

I stopped (living)

 

 

Epilogue

 We sit there and cry. Cry and laugh, laugh and cry and everything happening all around us, in the neighbouring house and on the telly, in the lives of others, is not important to us. We sit and cry, we don’t want any sympathy, because it was our decision to sit and to cry, and from time to time we laugh because we know that it’s right because we know we need to laugh because we would die otherwise, because we know we need to cry, because otherwise we’d…

Later we go to bed, to sleep. There will be a tomorrow, very certainly indeed, but what it will bring we don’t know – so what – we will see. We will see and the ones among us still alive will carry on.

Cry and laugh. Cry and laugh.

 

 

END OF PLAY

 

 

Insert 10

 

 

POP

IS

DEAD

 

 

(You make me… but it isn’t)

 

 

iPlay Additions n°1 (no extra fee)

  1. Number 101

Crow with veggies

Didn’t catch it

but brought it

in a cardboard box

Chopsticks to go with it (tasty)

  1. With them – I mean the sticks – you can make a fire

not me, but it’s possible, only the friction needs to be strong enough

the friction

  1. I burnt myself

pricked my fingers

on the shrub

thorns broke off and

fingernails have black edges

(like in obituaries)

in the middle the fireplace

My hand

Holding yours

Who are we anyway

A footnote in history, at best

  1. You want anything else?

Want me to put anything on the barbecue?

  1. First there

where I used to

waiting for a long time

the space empty

inside the head

abandoned

by everybody – no, not by good spirits!

Abandoned by all ideas

 

Later then

Still there

in a room with four walls and a window to nature

but then never back

the thought stayed on

still hanging in-between the curtains

unable to drop

the notion

First and then

elsewhere

first elsewhere

second nowhere

(third in between?)

and then there

eventually there

in a green room

wall traded for woods

defiantly set down into

Nature

I was here first!

Fucking ants!!!

  1. Overcome your fear

and solve the problem!

Is what my psychiatrist recommended

No, my counsellor said:

Go take a walk, bit of fresh air is gonna do you good.

 

No, my coach says:

Nowadays, people sit in their offices in front of the computer all week and shy away from all risk. Never take a risk, or the job is gone! And then, on the weekend, they tie a rubber band around their waist and jump off of an autobahn bridge. In your leisure time, there is an obligation to the kick!

 

My best friend (that encourager) says:

There used to be more action

  1. The secret of all power lies in knowing that others are even greater cowards than we are. Can you hold that for a moment?

Just for a sec.

  1. (reprise)

There used to be more action.

  1. I remember that there used to be trees here everywhere.
  1. Dialogue n°7

a mobile phone rings, for a long time

Listen

What?

Is that you?

What?

Well that thing

What?

That’s your mobile, the ring tone …

Oh that, yes

I thought we weren’t gonna take them along?

Yes.

But?

Yes, I … oh shit …

You’re not gonna take that?

No, yes, yes. Hello?

(Pause.)

Strange actually, that you got reception here?

Yeah, right.

Middle of nowhere.

Yeah, as long as you got reception, you’re not in nature.

And?

What?

Who was it?

Oh, nothing.

Then toss it.

What?

Toss the bloody thing.

But…

Do it, toss it, throw it into the river, dig it up, crush it, now! Give it to…

What if something happens to us now?

Are we Hansel and Gretel? – See.

Fucking nature.

(Note: or it might continue like this.)

And?

What?

Who was it?

The playwright

What?

He was just gonna ring up and ask how things are.

So, what did you say?

Good.

That’s all?

Yep.

Tuh. Good.

Yeah, and he said that he bought a small bathing hut on the Danube river. That’s built on stilts because of the floods. And they separate the trash. Paper, bio, plastic, cans, and the rest.

He said that?

Yeah.

Loony. Gimme that mobile.

But you’re not gonna call him back now, are you?

Hey, that was my… you can’t just throw my mobile into that pond.

Fucking nature.

 

(That’s it.)

Epilogue / Author’s note

 

 

I have no clue what this is about. I wrote it as much as it wrote itself.

Maybe it’s about saying: “Hello, here I am. I am here. I’m still here.” – Nothing more.

I have no clue whether others might get any ideas from this. (Would be nice. J)

But I have a feeling that it’s become obsolete to meet the world I live in – and maybe you, too, but who knows, anyway – with a play in 3 acts with 5 characters and a linear plot.

There’s nothing more to say about that.

Beyond that, there is unrest. There is enormous unrest.

Bernhard Studlar, Vienna, 2012

© Bochert Translations 2013 for the translation;

Kiefholzstr. 1

12435 Berlin

henning@bochert.com

Phone: +49 30 48494673

and

© henschel SCHAUSPIEL Theaterverlag Berlin GmbH 2012. Produced as inalienable manuscript. All rights to the text, including single paragraphs, reserved, particularly of performance by professional or non-professional stages, of public presentation, of book publication and translation, of transmission, film adaptation or recording for radio broadcast, television or other audio-visual media. Licences for use may be contractually received through:

henschel SCHAUSPIEL Theaterverlag Berlin GmbH

Alte Jakobstrasse 85/86

10179 Berlin

verlag@henschel-schauspiel.de

Phone: +49 30 4431 8888

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