Die Kueche ("The kitchen")

"Man does not live from bread alone,he also needs the roses" - Arnold Wesker

Die Kueche is the title of a piece by Arnold Wesker from the year 1964, which was published in Germany in 1969 in a translation by Erich Fried. During the circumstances of the year 1990 in west Germany , it was updated and rewritten by J.U. Lensing through arrangements with the author. Die Kueche is the London author's first piece. It takes place in the large kitchen of a restaurant from 7 in the morning to 7 in the evening. This environment shapes the hopes and anxieties of the protagonists, their activities, as well as their daily conflicts.

In his preface to the piece, Wesker writes: "For Shakespeare, the whole world might have been a stage, but for me it is a kitchen, where men come and go, and cannot stay long enough to understand eachother, where friendship, love and enmity are forgotten just as fast as they come into being." Wesker was for a time a confectionner. He knows the environment of his piece: the kitchen of a gigantic dining establishment , the wear of the day on the kitchen helpers , confectionners, waiters, the cook for roast, fish, soup, broiled items, the confusion of the languages, the inferno of the clattering dishes, the whistling gaspipes, the orders and the cursing.

The piece offered the Theater der Klaenge on the one hand its first concrete involvement with spoken theater, while at the same time the potential for work relevant to the times, in view of the millions of unemployed, the influx of foreigners, emigrants, people seeking asylum, the rising animosity towards foreigners, which was and still is socially and politically highly current material.

This piece was for Theater der Klaenge close to ist own sociopolitical reality, but also a highly interresting speech composition for a large "actor-orchestra". 15 actors and 9 actresses are for the almost two hour long performance, simultaneously actors, dancers and talking orchestra. The polyphonic text is treated in sections like a rythm and dynamics composition, while at the same time a precisely choreographed ballet of steaks, vegetable soup, and lambchops runs along.

This piece was also at the same time a first involvement with speech , to which one could in this way get closer. The Theater der Klaenge was, following this piece, in a position to develop ist own pieces based on written text. Die Kueche lived to see in 1990, 23 performances in the then newly opened Duesseldorfer "Theaterhaus" and was thereafter, due to the size of the production and of the multitude of the people involved , not absorbed into the repertoire.

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