Festwochen explores our memory with “Memory of Mankind”.

The memory of mankind is stored deep in the mountain: with the “Memory of Mankind”, the Austrian Martin Kunze tried to preserve the knowledge of our civilization for posterity on ceramic tablets. Swedish theater producer Markus Linden took the chance for a show of the same name stored in the Hallstad salt mine, in which four narrators enjoy remembering and forgetting, as Thursday evening’s festival premiere showed.

In the Art Nouveau theater at Steinhof, you entered a small thought capsule: a wooden theater with steps rising on all sides, and an hour and a half of discussion about what we should keep. Major scientific achievements? Knowledge of the plant world and animal kingdom? Or an essay on everyday happenings in humanity, gangsta rap and mom’s gingerbread recipe?

Lindein, who was responsible for the concept along with Marianne Segol, has crafted a narrative based on Kunze’s project and conversations with her, with humorous undertones and thought-provoking interjections. An archivist outlined the “Memory of Mankind” project on behalf of Kunze, illustrated by additional projected panels. However, another person described his sudden memory loss, which presented great challenges to his partner as he explained everything clearly. A young archaeologist begins to search for the remains of strange civilizations.

These levels of dialogue alternate constantly, but the four protagonists interweave each other as they question each other about details, always showing genuine interest. It’s not uncommon for people to smile when they use a USB stick in their shoe, for example, for upcoming memory lapses (“I feel like a secret agent”) or when super-intelligent raccoons figure out what one day is. Out of humanity. Who wouldn’t want to read Diary of a Depressed Dinosaur?

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“Memory of Mankind”, despite being extremely text-heavy, succeeds in bringing a lightness to various topics. In the end, it is about who decides what is preserved and what is not – from which perspective history is written. All four actors knew how to deliver all of this with a graceful poise that never threatened to descend into the shallows. At the end there was a big round of applause for the whole group and the “real archivist” Martin Kunze. You may remember this for a long time.

(By Christoph Kriesner/ABA)

(Service – Marcus Linden and Marianne Segol: “Memory of Mankind”. Text, direction, concept: Marcus Linden, concept, drama, translation: Marianne Segol. With: Sofia Ouin, Driver, Axel Ravier and Jean-Philippe Usan. Music, Sound Design: Hans Appelqvist, Lighting: Diane Guérin, Costumes: Charlotte Le Gał, Jugendstiltheatre am Steinhof June 7th at 8pm. www.festtwochen.at)

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