© Arno Declair

4.48 Psychose

Reviewer's Rating

When entering the salon of the theatre, one can almost grasp the whirl of expectation about the upcoming premiere. In the rhythm of sheer madness heads are turning to the speed of the revolving stage. On the turntables (sub?-)consciousness marches through a circular tunnel. Touched upon the weakest light source, low beats of kettledrums will drench you into deep. A nightmare of broken souls.

Sarah Kane, loved for her input by other dramatists, hated for her outcome by society, brought punk to the millennial theatre scene. Wild insights of abusing men were too much for the pop culture of the late nineties. In her last play, the playwright creates an edgy portrait of an author. Often confused with the actual protagonist, Kane fulfilled the expectations of a judgmental society regarding voluntary death as the only option left to live with. To director Ulrich Rasche, psychosis is no autobiographic final but the outcome of many: First of all, the personality is split. Secondly, roles of doctors and patients overlap and eventually get entangled. Doctor Who says I am not to blame for my condition. But am I to blame for his?

On stage you will see whining that is not to be pitied. The pain exposes the strength to destruct the concepts of body and mind as we know them. Both are torn apart when the clock strikes at 4.48. Physical pain is what you see, psychological malady what you perceive. The actors walk the forthcoming path of anguish with outstanding endurance. Synthesized humming and dull aches from the drums transmit the creeping and paralyzing emotions that will get under your skin. The production comes off as a climax of the worst thrust: depression, disappointment, devastation. Hate is spit in yer face. On top of it, fear before death becomes the engine on the walk of lunacy. There is no medication that will interrupt steady decadence.

Single appearances of women are hollering troubles in their purest form. The so-called choir screams not only the diagnosis of a suicidal stream of consciousness, but the resemblances of becoming mental. As uniform as their expressions is the intensity of their suffering. Still, the performance in the manner of a choral psychotic warp expires by the length of its stagnation. Constantly experiencing movement on stage, the continuity helps one rather to lapse into a bewildered snooze.

Rasche’s debut at Deutsches Theater Berlin changes the definition of hysteria and will leave you miserable, break your neck and distort all senses. And last but not least, it will take you further questioning your own happiness. On your way out, please do not forget to see someone you like. Or make an appointment with your therapist in advance.