A Night at the Theatre
Karl Valentin Evening
A great artist of words, an ingenious performer of his own texts, a writer who employed artful nonsense to touch all the raw nerves of the political and economic times he lived in, a man whose quotes are as familiar to German-speaking audiences as biblical quotes: This is Karl Valentin, whose death on Shrove Monday in 1948 reads like the bitter punch line of one his own texts. Valentin caught a cold when he spent the night in his unheated wardrobe after a guest performance in the theatre “Bunter Würfel” and died on 9 February from pneumonia (following a bronchitis from which he had not fully recovered). The circumstances of Valentin’s life and death set the scene for an evening of biting, even painful comedy full of delightful contradictions: Young director Alessandro Visentin presents a selection of texts comprising monologues, dialogues, scenes and couplets by Karl Valentin. Together with the ensemble of the Salzburg State Theatre, he thus lights a comedic, musical and political firework.
Bertolt Brecht called his dear colleague one of the “most haunting intellectual figures of our time”. In his texts, Valentin elevates the absurdities of life to grotesque dimensions and confronts us, as we laugh until we cry, with the mirror of our world. The accuracy of his observations is undiminished – as if he were sharing our daily reality.
“Karl Valentin (1882–1948), the comedian of absurd daily life, encountered eventful historic developments with a questioning mind that insisted on justice and he often reacted with wonder to the changes he saw. Reality had, for the most part, surpassed the horror visions of the clown and had almost hushed his language.” Helmut Bachmaier
Alessandro Visentin studied at the East 15 Acting School in London. He worked at the Corbett Theatre in London and toured Europe and Asia with the White Horse Theatre. His productions as a director include “The Shape of Things”, “Hamlet” and “Circus Furioso”.