Alte Knacker

Premiere on 19.09.2022
at the Irgendwo Cultural Center Bremen

 

by/with:

Markus Hoft

Valeria Martis

Günther Grollitsch

                                 

Age versus beauty, strength, vitality, life energy, movement.

"Alte Knacker"

This colloquial German term has accompanied and impressed me since my first encounter with the German language. The many different fantasies that it triggered in me when I heard it for the first time, occupy me permanently and fuel the desire to illuminate it artistically.

 

First the question arises for me, what is a Knacker? May the person to the term according to the definite article be exclusively male, or is that, as so often in the language evolution, only traditional version? Research on the tradition shows that the term probably has less to do with the English "knackers yard" nor with the cracking of the joints of old people; although in these ideas quite a lot of theatrical potential is contained, which I would not want to throw out "with the bathwater".

According to various Internet sites, however, the term "old geezer" comes rather from pre-industrial weaving. At that time, mostly old people were employed to control the knack counter for the yarn length on the yarn packages.

Perhaps sailor's yarn was often spun in the process - to reach into the colloquial language box once again.

 

Colloquial language, however, should not only serve as a metaphor in the research. The social and cultural value/appreciation of old people and in particular old people in culture and on stage is on the test bench.

Should this potentially value-adding segment of the population be relegated to the margins of the cultural production cycle - as in early weaving - or does it hold unique qualities that are WELL worth bringing to the center? 

Despite some very well known examples, the creative potential from, on and around this group of people is far from exhausted.

 

Another exciting research context lies in the illumination of the transition from "mid-life" to "the exile of old age". This creeping process manifests itself very individually and is also fixed at very different points, actively carried out or imposed from the outside. For one person it is the decline of physical or mental capacity, for another the ebbing away of social contacts or professional successes, etc.

Different life stories of great and small artists offer the basis for a reflective reappraisal, which can serve as an entrance or addition to the creative process.

 

The terms beauty, power, vitality, movement, etc. usually refer to images of youth. I want to counter this and attribute aspects of the same to age. Old people with experienced looks, matured qualities and lived bodies are my beauty ideals here and shall become the anchor and pivot for a new stage production in this research.