Volksbühne Berlin am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz

Quai West

by Bernard-Marie Koltès / German version by Heiner Müller

Amidst the desolation of a vacant hangar in a closed down port, somewhere in the Western world, transitoriness has a laugh. Not much has been going on here ever since ferries no longer arrive, cargos are no longer unloaded, no more haggling with passengers is possible, and not even essentials like water and power are available. One night a jaguar stops in the middle of the wasteland: Maurice Koch's dream of becoming an international banker is over. Having succumbed to the seduction of big money, he will not bear the consequences of his frauds anymore, and wants to die.
However, there is one last disappointment: not even death comes without a deal. The other stranded ones, lost and homeless, gradually appear. They all have only one longing, the longing for material well-being, and know no feelings anymore. Except for Claire, a young girl, a small light in a hangar of tristesse, they all have little or no soul left. Only the deal matters.
Maurice Koch bargains for the access to the river into which he wants to jump. Monique, his loyal and devoted secretary, for her car keys, which she lost gambling, to be able to disappear again at last. Fak haggles over Claire, who still carries with her love, that valuable secret. Her brother Charles simply wants to leave to the other side. His mother, Cecile, wants to come with him, but her past life overwhelms her, and she convinces herself in her native Inca language to go back, until she falls silent. Her husband Rodolfe, deranged by the wars in his faraway land, hates her in a way that ends up destroying himself.
The arrival of Maurice Koch seems to lighten a glimmer of hope for a short moment. Hope that a deal will be closed or, at least, that there is a way out of the continuous fall.
Koch’s end provides quai dwellers with the relief of a fatal view of the futility of all efforts and endeavours. Abad, a speechless, self-sufficient observer, frees them from all evils, preventing the opposite: he stops Charles from letting the footsteps of a Maurice Koch become bigger.
It sounds tragic, but in Bernard-Marie Koltès’ world tragedy is not dramatic; it is the state of things: “One should never try to conclude anything about the characters' psychology based on what is said; instead, the opposite...."
His poetry can be taken ironically. His humour emerges from the encounters faced by his characters.
After “Antigone/Elektra”, Werner Schroeter stages “Quai West”, by Bernard-Marie Koltès, as translated by Heiner Müller.


With: Peter Kremer (Maurice), Pascale Schiller (Monique), Silvia Rieger (Cecile), Maria Kwiatkowsky (Claire), Uwe Preuss (Rodolfe), Sebastian König (Charles), Christoph Letkowski (Fak) and Toks Körner (Abad)

Director: Werner Schroeter
Art Direction: Monika Keppler
Stage Designer: Werner Schroeter, Jochen Hochfeld
Costumes: Alberte Barsacq
Light Design: Hans-Hermann Schulze
Dramaturgy: Monika Keppler, Sabine Zielke

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