There is a discreet knock on the upper deck that on this cold April 14th 1912 heralds the catastrophe that is said to cost the lives of more than 1,600 people.

The slot that the ice drills into the Titanic after the Atlantic liner collided with the iceberg at 11:40 p.m. is two hundred meters long.

“It passed black and silently - a crunch, a scrape, a crack”, and in spite of this, porcelain is still served in first grade, gymnastics lessons are offered and cigars are smoked, while in third grade people are already up to their necks stands.

Kevin Hanschke

Volunteer.

  • Follow I follow

The catastrophe is filmed more than fifteen times, and the sinking of this ship, which was considered unsinkable, is also often used as a model in literature.

Hans Magnus Enzensberger set a literary memorial to the misfortune in 1981 with “The Downfall of the Titanic” in “33 Chants”.

In it, he projected the socio-political debates of the Federal Republic of the 1970s onto the Titanic catastrophe and dissected the social hierarchies on board the ship.

The third grade is a wall made of wood

The Schauspiel Stuttgart and the University of Music and Performing Arts have dared to adapt Enzensberger's book to the stage, staged by Nick Hartnagel with a seven-person ensemble. The stage set rotates in circles every few minutes, like the social carousel that is taking shape on the ship in front of everyone. The first class is a glamorous, silvery shimmering mirror hall, the third class a wall made of wood. The interior already reveals the social class. The costumes are eccentric. You dance in a sequin dress, with frills and side parting. But the water is about to arrive at the top too, calls the iceberg, which is played by Wiktor Grduszak and dances around the ship in a ballet performance. “The iceberg is melting, actually is nothing. This is the course of confrontation with nature ",the ensemble whispers softly.

Hartnagel ironically dissects the small and large human questions before the end.

There is the young girl on the upper deck, played by Liliana Merker, who is stuck in the golden cage of her family obligations.

The emigrant who, shortly before drowning, argues with a factory owner about socialism, or the revolutionary who sees the catastrophe as an opportunity to overthrow.

The ship's band hums its last song

“People are looking forward to the sinking too early,” says one of the officers on the bridge. The captain and the shipowner caused the disaster because they wanted to break a speed record. At Hartnagel, the principle of always higher, faster and further becomes a nemesis. This is enhanced by an impressive scene in which Jakob Spiegler portrays an engineer in fur who believes in innovation and who, despite the obvious sinking, sticks to the thesis that the ship is unsinkable. While he is eating his steak with relish, he laughs and talks about the progress of mankind. In the background the ship's band hums fearfully its last song.

Hartnagel depicts the catastrophic conditions on the Titanic as a social parable and has Félicien Moisset, the strict head waiter, recite the last menu of the evening - "Caviar, Consommé Fermier, lobster and roast beef". Enzensberger wrote his text under the impression of the anti-nuclear movement and climate change. However, the references to the present seem too intentional in the staging, for example when all the ship's passengers sing first Zarah Leander (“That doesn't make the world go under”) and then KIZ (“Hurray, the world goes under”).

The end shows the legendary millionaire lifeboat, which actually had room for forty people, but on which only two women and three men of the first class were saved by bribery.

Despite the death screams that night in the Atlantic, they did not go back.

In the spotlight, the actors' faces turn into grimaces, into figures that could have come from a George Grosz painting.

And a voice from the off calls out: "We're all in the same boat, but those who are poor go under more quickly."

Keywords: hans magnus enzensberger, titanic, deck, catastrophe, knock, stage, chants, slot, schauspiel stuttgart, downfall, nature, course, confrontation, class struggle, woodthe schauspiel stuttgart