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Festwochen explores our memory through “Memory of Humanity.”

Festwochen explores our memory through “Memory of Humanity.”

The memory of humanity is stored deep in the mountain: Through his book “Memory of Humanity”, Austrian Martin Kunze attempted to preserve the knowledge of our civilization for future generations on ceramic tablets. Swedish theater director Markus Linden took what was stored in the Hallstatt salt mine as an opportunity for a show bearing the same name, in which four narrators enjoy remembering and forgetting, as the festival’s premiere showed on Thursday evening.

At the Modern Art Theater in Steinhof, I entered a little intellectual capsule, so to speak: in a wooden courtyard with steps rising on all sides, there were discussions for an hour and a half about what we should keep. Most important scientific achievements? Knowledge about the plant world and the animal kingdom? Or just everyday events in humanity, a treatise on gangster rap and my mom's gingerbread recipe?

Linden, who is responsible for the concept with Marianne Segol, has designed an evening of stories based on Kunze's project and conversations with him, featuring humorous undertones and thought-provoking interjections. An archivist outlined the “Memory of Humanity” project on Kunze’s behalf, as also illustrated by the paintings on display. However, another man described his sudden memory loss, which also posed significant challenges for his partner, as she made very clear. A young archaeologist set out to search for the remains of strange civilizations.

These levels of conversation were constantly alternating, but also intertwined with each other as the four heroes asked each other for details, always showing genuine interest. It was not uncommon for people to smile, for example, when a USB stick in their shoe was used as a solution to impending memory lapses (“I feel like a secret agent”) or when super-intelligent raccoons would one day decipher what was there. Left of humanity. Who doesn't want to read the diary of a depressed dinosaur?

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“Memory of Humanity” succeeded in adding lightness to various topics despite the heavy nature of the text. Ultimately, it was also about who decides what is worth preserving and what is not, and from what perspective history is written. The four actors knew how to present all of this with a charming relaxation that never threatened to turn shallow. At the end, there was a huge applause for the entire team as well as the “real archivist” Martin Kunze. You can remember this for a long time.

(By Christoph Griesner/APA)

(Service – Markus Linden and Marianne Ségol: “Memory of Humanity”. Text, direction, concept: Markus Linden, concept, drama, translation: Marianne Ségol. With: Sofia Aouine, Driver, Axel Raffier and Jean-Philippe Ozan. Music, sound design: Hans Appelqvist, staging: Matthew Laurey-Dupuy, lighting: Diane Guerin, costumes: Charlotte Le Gall, French with German and English subtitles, Jugendstiltheater am Steinhof More performances on June 7 at 8 p.m. www.festwochen.at)