Theater im Bahnhof Graz

Death of a Cardholder

Theater im Bahnhof is one of the largest independent theater ensembles in Austria. This collective of around 20 artists has been creating radical work and daring productions for over fifteen years. Theater im Bahnhof is a contemporary Volkstheater (popular theater) which finds itself waking up between the forces of Tradition and Pop. Theater im Bahnhof insists on disturbing and questioning what is accepted, and recognizes the audience as willing partners in our daily struggles. Theater im Bahnhof occurs at possible and also 'impossible' places, combines the concepts of entertainment theatre with unconventional styles, tries to advance ideas of theatre beyond its limits, uses digital media and film as non-theatre genres, moves from the known to the unknown, makes self-devised plays with/without authors.

Death of a Cardholder is a play for a shopping centre with a cash dispenser. It is the story of people who could have been rich (they're quite sure of that), but who in fact belong to the ordinary middle class (or rather, who did not get beyond the ordinary middle class). Gathering at their favorite ATM is a ritual they share: having coffee at the cashpoint, performing a ritual dance around the cash dispenser. Daily movements and habits are quite telling. Voluntarily or not, daily moves are played out before bank machines and are monitored and controlled. Through the camera (placed "for your own safety" at the ATM machine and recording the place, time and amount of the withdrawal) the individual is participating in society.

Actors, spectators and passers-by will gather in a spot where money emerges from the virtual world of finance and becomes a daily reality. The card is one of the great signifiers that you belong in modern society. To be precise, you belong to two-third of society (or less): The Cardholders. Only those who have permission have full participation in modern society. The poor have no credit card. They can vote, but cannot withdraw cash. Of course, a society can be seen best from its edges. Our show, however, portrays the middle of it. The performance is social pornography. The voyeur's gaze is on the Common, the unspectacular portion of society. Here, we liberate the money itself from its fate of virtuality. We give it back its original purpose. Real currency. We pick up a little cash, and we get freedom, a piece of reality.The performers come and go in the crowd, but spectators can still hear them converse thanks to their headphones. But where does this game end? Uncertainty creeps in, right in the heart of a consumer paradise..

NXTSTP partners: Kunstenfestivaldesarts (Brussels), steirischer herbst (Graz)