1 9 Monologue

Performance monologue


The personal experience of being as a body home to pathogens flows into this autobiographical performance text, while building a bridge between precise self-observation and a global, historical and literary outside. While many in Europe consider it to be long since eradicated, it still presents one of the deadliest pandemics worldwide. In the Romantic period, it was epitome of muse and poetry and a popular motif in painting, literature and music. As the "firstborn of the mother of pestilence and disease" it has accompanied the primate human through the eras since time immemorial. Today it is a curable disease, and yet still more than one million people worldwide fall victim to it every year*. Its social perception has changed fundamentally over the course of the epochs: from the glorified malaise of the romantic Bohemian poets, through the painful proletarian death during industrial revolution, to the antisocial illness of the lepers during National Socialism. Today it is considered the disease of the marginalized, the dependent and the destitute, hardly noticed by the common public. The talk is of tuberculosis. 

* WHO World Health Organization Fact Sheet 2019 (as of October 2020)

"1 9 Monologue" offers unescapable concreteness and a radical subjectivation, which is declared as valuable. Through densely conveyed personal experience, Stenke draws our radical connection to nature, death, forces we cannot control, and the enigmas of our own origins.

Because literature is this: condensed experience. 

Andreas Liebmann, author and director


A monologue that overflows from exquisite thought images vacillating between pain and amazement, philosophy and feeling, intelligence and the will to understand, emotional wisdom and helpless observation. A reliving of a summer in which everything was on a razor-edge, a life-threatening moment, or even a moment that completely questions life or the right to live.

Stephan Knies, dramaturge


A text that gains its great strength by combining the accuracy of introspection with a position from outside, oscillating between poetry and prose, between poem and report.

Dr Ralf Peters, philosopher


A text that wants to and needs to be close.

A piece to let yourself be caressed by when life once again turns too concrete. 

Marcel Sparmann, artist

"Consumption remains a 'social disease', it has become a 'disease of the marginalised'. This makes it rather unlikely that consumption will once again become a literary or artistic subject." Ulrike Moser, Schwindsucht – Eine andere deutsche Gesellschaftsgeschichte

VestAndPage, Verena Stenke, Thanatos, Hypnos, Skull, Face, Shaved head, Woman
VestAndPage - Verena Stenke in "1 9 Monologue" about pathogens and pulmonary tuberculosisdPage-Verena-Stenke-1-9-Monologue

A VestAndPage production 2021

Song: Zauberberg by Kassel Jaeger / Stephan Mathieu / Akira Rabelais

Based on a research supported by Fonds Darstellende Künste / #TakeCare with funds from the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media

Our gratitude to Dr Bock-Hensley and the German Tuberculosis Archive Heidelberg  for the valuable research assistance

Presented at

  • Endecameron | Incubatio, Castle of Rocca Sinibalda (IT), August 7, 2021



  • Strangelove Festival, Quarterhouse, Folkestone (UK), September 17, 2021, 19:30 > Tickets

  • OPEAN Festival, MUG Einstein Kultur, Munich (DE), December 11, 2021