Told by a Saxophonist Who Has a Girlfriend in Frankfurt
A man wakes up next to a woman whose name he does not remember; nor does he remember where and how they met, their journey to his apartment or what they did after they got there. The woman is happy to explain, and her recollection of the facts makes him plead with her to stay. She promises to return. He promises to wait for her.
“Nine nights. Fine. But after that, you ask for nothing more.”
Bound by a promise and a bottle of wine, they discover that sometimes all you need to approach perfection are nine nights and a broken alarm clock.
With an international cast and crew – Romanian, Icelandic, German, Danish and Chilean – that connected over Visniec’s writing, the performance highlights the unifying force of theatre and its power to become a common language that exceeds any borders.
“Visniec writes charming, nonsugary dialogue, utilizing that rare element in highly romanticized storytelling: silence.” Tim Lowery: Time Out Chicago
“This play is very dear to me because I try to talk about love, the mystery of love, reincarnation through love, and initiation… about many things that we don’t think about often enough.” Matei Visniec
Matéi Visniec was born in Romania in 1956. From an early age, he discovered literature as a space dedicated to freedom. He draws his strengths from Kafka, Dostoevsky, Poe, Lautréamont. He loves the Surrealists, the Dadaists, absurd and grotesque theatre, surrealist poetry, fantastic literature, magical realism, and even the realist Anglo-Saxon theatre.
Visniec studied philosophy at Bucharest University and became an active member of the so-called Eighties Generation who left a clear stamp on Romanian literature. He believes in cultural resistance, and in literature’s capacity to demolish totalitarianism. Above all, Matéi Visniec believes that theatre and poetry can denounce manipulation through “great ideas”, as well as brainwashing through ideology.
Before 1987 Matéi Visniec had made a name for himself in Romania with his clear, lucid, bitter poetry. Starting with 1977, he wrote drama; the plays were much circulated in the literary milieus but were barred from staging. In September 1987, Visniec left Romania for France, where he was granted political asylum. He started writing in French and began working for Radio France Internationale.
At present, Visniec has had many of his works staged in France, and some of his plays written in French are published. His plays have been staged in more than 20 countries. In Romania, after the fall of Communism, Matéi Visniec has become one of the most frequently performed authors.
Originally written in French, The Story of the Panda Bears told by a Saxophonist who has a Girlfriend in Frankfurt has been translated into many languages (German, Icelandic, Arabic, Japanese etc) and has been performed all around the world.
Photo Matéi Visniec: Andra Badulesco / all other photos: Hani Hamza
- Thurs, January 4, 2024 | 8pmMain Stage
- with 2 additional performances until Jan 6th
Written by Matei Vișniec | Translated by Claire Doucet and Ian Whitfield
with Bianca Radoslav and Gunnbjörn Gunnarsson
Direction/Stage: Johannes Klein | Concept: Bianca Radoslav | Projection Design: Ignacio Soto | Costumes: Johannes Klein and Bianca Radoslav | Choreography: Eva Günther | Stage Management and Production Assistance: Anna Bănică | Directing Assistance: Freja Sande | Photography: Hani Hamza
Special thanks to PRINZIP GONZO & Holle Münster, Catleya Wines, Günther Grosser and Theo Beckler