by and after Karl Valentin and with texts by Michel Decar
In her new work, the director Claudia Bauer, who has been invited to the Berlin Theatertreffen four times and is renowned for her work with fast and furious acting ensembles, now tackles someone who typifies Munich, the brilliant comedian Karl Valentin. In her usual, opulent stage language she will devise a homage to the Bavarian whose anarchic approach to language led the critic Alfred Kerr to invent the term «Wortzerklauberer», someone who steals words and tears them to pieces. Valentin’s tragicomic artistry and «dialect-ical play with language» defies categorisation even now. And these unique qualities have continued to influence subsequent generations, from Bertolt Brecht and Samuel Beckett through to Herbert Achternbusch, Gerhard Polt and Christoph Schlingensief, who described him as «one of the greats». The trained carpenter started out as a «company joker» and folk singer. His stage breakthrough came in 1911 when he met his congenial partner Liesl Karlstadt and they began to perform together. The list of their legendary sketches and films is almost endless: «The Orchestra Rehearsal», «In the Record Shop», «The Visit to the Theatre», «The Confirmation» and «Bookbinder Wanninger».
Valentin’s highly original sense of humour is perhaps most attractively and accurately described by Valentin himself:
«Karl Valentin, Munich comic, son of a married couple. Due to health considerations, at the age of twelve Karl Valentin trained to be abnormal and after due consideration showed a talent for reading newspapers. Karl Valentin’s personal qualities are personal. Something should be written of Karl Valentin‘s physical qualities. His body weight is of no weight or consequence, his height – lengthy; his stride – stretchy; his character characteristic; his position – ridiculous.»