What one wouldn’t give for just an hour’s peace and quiet? Of course, maybe one doesn’t deserve an hour’s peace and quiet. That seems to be karma’s feeling in Eine Stunde Ruhe. The originally French comedy reveals how families can fall apart when priorities are wrong. Michel (Stephan Schleberger) has finally found an LP he’s been searching for since he was a kid, Me Myself and I, his Holy Grail of jazz clarinet. He just wants to have an hour’s quiet to enjoy his find, but is constantly interrupted: if not by his wife, Nathalie (Andrea Wolf), then by her best friend, Elsa (Barbara von Münchhausen), his best friend Pierre (Volker Conradt), their intrusive neighbor Pavel (Francesco Russo) or the clumsy, loud, Portuguese handyman, Léo (Gabriel Spagna), whose pretending to be Polish. And that’s not to mention his son, Sébastian (Florian Mania), who’s going through an identity transition. Cheating spouses, betrayals, and broken pipes build one on top of the other, creating a disaster of Michel’s life and home.
My struggle with Eine Stunde Ruhe is not essentially with the current production: it’s with the play itself. For a play that only came out in 2013 it somehow manages to feel dated. That fault lies in the interpretation of Sébastian as an out of touch with reality punk rocker. While there is a small payoff in a name gag from Sébastian’s hardcore style, the over the top costuming and personality radiate discomfort and awkwardness, rather than humor. The play is trying as hard as Sébastian is.
That being said, the cast performs well overall, adding different emotive layers and comedic timing to a flat script. Wolf brings an air of heartbreak and elegance to Nathalie, giving a genuine performance of a woman laughing with her best friend, exasperated with her son, or watching her marriage fall apart. Her authenticity grounds a script that plays on ludicrousness and inauthentic characters. And while more stylized slapstick than Wolf’s grounded performance, Russo and Schleberger feed off each other well and have great comedic timing with the neighborly….love. Unfortunately, the physical progression of catastrophes and climatic set destruction is not earned, the overturned tables and destruction of the home seem too staged and not properly built up to in emotional hysteria to justify. Like Michel found with his beloved LP, I’m not sure Eine Stunde Ruhe proves worth the hassle in the end.
Michel (Stephan Schleberger) hat endlich die Platte gefunden, die er seit Kindesbeinen suchte: “Me, Myself and I”, sein heiliger Gral der Jazzklarinette. Nichts wünscht er sich sehnlicher als eine Stunde Ruhe zu haben, um sein Fundstück zu genießen, doch er wird ständig gestört: ob von seiner Frau Nathalie (Andrea Wolf), ihrer besten Freundin Elsa (Barbara von Münchhausen), seinem besten Freund Pierre (Volker Conradt), dem aufdringlichen Nachbar Pavel (Francesco Russo) oder dem ungeschickten, lauten portugiesischen Handwerker Léo (Gabriel Spagna), der aus Reputationsgründen vorgibt Pole zu sein. Und dann ist da noch Sohn Sébastian (Florian Mania), der gerade einen Identitätswechsel durchlebt. Betrügende Ehegatten, Verrat und gebrochene Rohre stürzen Michels Leben und sein zu Hause in ein absolutes Desaster.
- By Florian Zeller
- Director: Michael Wedekind
- Cast includes: Stephan Schleberger, Andrea Wolf, Florian Mania, Barbara von Münchhausen, Volker Conradt, Francesco Russo, and Gabriel Spagna.
- Fritz Rémond Theater, Frankfurt
- Until 15 October 2017
- Review by Becca Kaplan
- 12 September 2017