“Arthur and Claire” at the Rémond Theater at the Zoo
by Karl-Heinz Stier and Ingeborg Fischer
(24.05.2022) One may initially doubt whether it is a tragedy or a comedy, but the play “Arthur and Claire” leaves the theatergoer in the dark. One thing, however, was clear: the path mapped out for two people living separately for a desired or planned end of life should be described.
Cynthia Thurat and Stefan Schneider in one of their many actions
Photo: Helmut Seuffert
Neither of them know each other personally, but their preparations for dealing with the death plans are different, and both happened to be staying in adjacent hotel rooms. Their taste in music is very different. If it hadn’t been for George Harrison’s “terrible” music, they wouldn’t have met at all. After all, these sounds bother Arthur in room 120, especially since he is listening to Ravel melodies through headphones in his room 122 and the “noise” from next door does not fit his evening schedule at all. He is expecting a dinner with culinary specialties that he has ordered and particularly good wine for his final evening before he – as planned – ends his life as an incurable patient with lung cancer the next day in a dying hospital, although he is a sports teacher and non-smoker want to put. He previously wrote dignified farewell letters to his children and ex-wife and skimmed them over. Musically annoyed by the loud music from next door, he knocked hard on the neighbor’s door. A pretty young woman opens up and forbids such criticism. What then amazes Arthur is their preparation for suicide with a rope on the window, a gas filled with sleeping pills and a knife to open the wrists. The realization that both want to put their suicides into practice comes as a surprise. The consequence: Arthur cancels his dinner and both decide to spend the evening together with a nocturnal stroll through Amsterdam under the guidance of Claire, a trained tourist guide. The stroll then ends with bottles of wine in Arthur’s room and in his bed.
The story continues to develop between tragedy and comedy with polished dialogues. A very human story is offered to the audience in order to have to die and be allowed to live.
Cynthia Thurat as Claire and Stefan Schneider as Arthur play their roles brilliantly. The debates, arguments and arguments are polished and presented credibly. Stage designs Tom Grashoff designed the stage in such a way that the audience was always aware of what was happening in both rooms.
Stefan Vögel as the author of the play, which has already been filmed, lets the two suicide candidates stumble over each other in their fate. It’s true that the end times are getting tight, especially since Arthur’s intention to die has been set, but his sad starting situation can also be played as a light comedy. You can feel the painful sides of earthly existence and still make the audience laugh. The dialogues between the two, who are tired of life, are lively and reflect the reality in our society, including what constitutes life.
The audience thanked the actors and also the author for his varied ideas with a long ovation at the end of the performance. It was proof that tragic elements can have their place in comedy.
Further performances until June 26 (TUES – SAT at 8 p.m., SUN at 6 p.m., no performances on Mondays).
Tickets from 19 euros on Tel. (069)435166 and at www.fritzremond.de