A post-heroic debt cantata
by Thomas Köck
Directed by Thomas Köck & Elsa-Sophie Jach

Premiere November 9, 2017
An inheritance! In his debt cantata for a choir of young people and an actress Thomas Köck is reflecting on the individual and collective inheritance.
A night in the far future: a sleepless child in front of a screen. On the screen a report about old times. Archaeologists have made a spectacular discovery. Buried deep down in the desert sand, they found a strange bundle of sheets, documents of a since long extinct culture. But the scientists cannot read this prehistoric book. It is written in a language that is completely unrelated to any known language. How can one translate this text that could reveal so much about a foreign culture? Finally the explorers find a woman who is the last survivor and who might be able to read the book. Chain smoking, the old lady starts reporting about the past, with a chuckle she tells from a different world. A culture that doesn’t know any difference between future and present time or past. She describes a cosmos of concurrency. Also a society where brightness is the greatest good, but that is lead to the edge of demise by its insatiable desire for light. Will lead? Or has already lead? What time and culture is the chain smoker actually talking about?
Again in a different time. An inheritance, for a group of young people. A choir. Well-off, educated in many ways and supposedly having the best chances, they grow up – are they the new elite in a safe distance from the world’s devastations? The direction of their future seems to be defined. Yet looking at their own timeline catastrophes, system failures, wars and violence characterize the presence. Their origin assigns family tasks to them that are as auspicious as challenging that cannot be rejected offhand. They grow up in a world of infinite possibilities. Your biography has to be as perfect as possible in order to survive the competition. The absolute freedom threatens to become a burden. The biographies of their parents still held the capitalistic promise of social advancement – if you followed the rules of the system, you could hope to be protected from the insecure down sides of capitalistic society, if only you functioned so well that you managed to acquire the necessary financial cushion. Yet the babyboomer generation of social climbers has also left a mortgage in the shape of a gigantic national debt to its children. In addition, those who grow up in the early 21st century are confronted with the burden of a fast warming world climate. It is unsure if the threatening rising of the sea level might one day question the privileges of there sheltered life in Middle Europe. So what are the chances of this inheritance? Can it be turned down? Have the young people got the same perspectives as their parents? Or is there not enough future for everyone? Köck lets the group fall apart more and more.
A woman is wandering through her parents‘ house in the night. The time passes without dreams and a thought is ripening: The thought of murder. Does one have to anticipate time? She is looking for revenge, wants to get what belongs to her allegedly. Does one have to fight ones own inheritance? At one point the question will come up in 5th Avenue, if blood has to change the run of events.Can violence only be ended by violence? Will there be a future without bloodshed?
Schauspielhaus and Thomas Köck are connected through a close continuous collaboration, since the first world premiere of one of his plays in Austria was produced with „Strotter“ (directed by Tomas Schweigen). Since then Thomas Köck has become one of the most important young voices of German language drama. Meanwhile his play „Paradies fluten“ – for which he was awarded with the Kleist-Förderpreis for young writing in 2016 – has been staged at various theatres, e.g this season at Burgtheater. His linguistic philosophical tilme reflection „Die Zukunft reicht uns nicht (Klagt, Kinder, klagt!“) is after „Strotter“ and „Kudlich“ the third play that will have its world premiere at Schauspielhaus Vienna – also Thomas Köck will direct for the first time (together with Elsa-Sophie Jach).
The director Elsa-Sophie Jach, born in Vorwerk in 1991, studied directing at Theaterakademie Hamburg and theatre writing at UdK Berlin. Workshop productions of her texts e.g. at Deutsches Theater Berlin. She directed e.g. at 100º at Ballhaus Ost, Kampnagel and Schauspielhaus Hamburg. Together with a group of young people and an actress, Köck and Jach are questioning the inescapability, the lack of alternatives of our present. They show history as as a space of possibilities and remind of the variability oft he world, demand resistance against the times past and coming.


Thomas Köck »Subject: A letter from August 7th, 2018« (PDF)

»Laudatio zur Verleihung des Mülheimer Dramatikerpreises 2018 an Thomas Köck« von Tobias Schuster (PDF)

»Im Prinzip schreibe ich immer noch Songtexte, nur sind sie jetzt etwas länger und oft chorisch« Thomas Köck im Gespräch mit Tobias Schuster (PDF)


Theaterwunder der Saison (…) Vierzehn fulminant als Chor der aufgebrachten Trotzköpfe auftretende Jugendliche, sprech- und spielbegabt wie nur je eine klassische Mahner-Meute, lesen auf grandiose Art und ungehörige Weise all den Katastrophen-Verursachern und Perspektiven-Verhinderern die Leviten.“ NZZ

Vierzehn Jugendliche sind, während Löffler immer ekstatischer ihren Monolog hält, auf die Bühne gekommen, und man muss sie an dieser Stelle alle beim Namen nennen, denn sie sind eine Schau. (…) Was Thomas Köck und Elsa-Sophie Jach mit diesem auf so kluge Weise uneindeutigen Abend schaffen ist: Man fühlt sich gemeint. Was hier verhandelt wird, geht einen an." Nachtkritik

„Ganz großartig“ Falter.
Thomas Köck ist wieder zu Hause. Künstlerisch zumindest ist das im Schauspielhaus Wien, wo die Texte des oberösterreichischen Dramatikers aufs perfekteste für die Bühne umgesetzt werden. (…) Mit dem Chor entwickelt die Aufführung im doppelten Wortsinn eine ungeheure Wucht. (…) Man fühlt sich gemeint und gemein, der eigene ökologische Fußabdruck sich plötzlich wie der eines Riesen an. So macht man das, macht Texte, wie diesen, fürs Theater unverzichtbar.“ Mottinger’s Meinung

„Eine packende Performance. Kurier

„Aus dieser Dynamik entwickelt sich ein prächtiger Abend, der diverse Textgattungen in sich vereint und dessen von kühnen Wendungen und Stilbrüchen getragener belletristischer Redestrom lebhaftes Denken verursacht. Köck liefert als Autor und Koregisseur an der Seite von Elsa-Sophie Jach keine eindimensionalen Bilder oder Aussagen, er schafft unverbrauchte Denkfiguren als Diskursangebot aus dem Geist von Poesie und Heiterkeit.“ Standard

„Am meisten beeindruckt die Dynamik des Chors, der die jelinesken Sprachstürze kraftvoll vorträgt. Sie hallt noch lange nach.“ Wiener Zeitung

Sinnliche und amüsante Produktion. (…) So schafft Theater nach dem teilweisen Verlust des Bildungsbürgertums neuen Gemeinschaftssinn. Die Presse