1 9 Monologue
2021, 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 long since eradicated, it still presents one of the deadliest pandemics worldwide. In the Romantic period, it was the 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, yet more than one million people worldwide fall victim to it every year*. Its social perception has changed fundamentally throughout the epochs: from the glorified malaise of the romantic Bohemian poets through the painful proletarian death during the 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 about tuberculosis.
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 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 ultimately 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, 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 marginalized'. This makes it rather unlikely that consumption will once again become a literary or artistic subject.
–Ulrike Moser, In: Schwindsucht – Eine andere deutsche Gesellschaftsgeschichte
Considering how common illness is, how tremendous the spiritual change that it brings… it becomes strange indeed that illness has not taken its place with love and battle and jealousy among the prime themes of literature. ... But no; with a few exceptions ... literature does its best to maintain that its concern is with the mind; that the body is a sheet of plain glass through which the soul looks straight and clear,
– Virginia Woolf, In: “On Being Ill", Selected Essays, 1926
A VestAndPage production 2021
Based on 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
Endecameron | Incubatio, Castle of Rocca Sinibalda (IT), August 7, 2021
Strangelove Festival, Quarterhouse, Folkestone (UK), September 17, 2021, 19:30
Milan (IT), February 2022
OPEAN Festival, MUG Einstein Kultur, Munich (DE), December 11, 2021 / CANCELLED - New date to be announced /