"Cocaine" Salzburg Festival

Cocaine 2

Cocaine 2

Commissioned by the Salzburg Festival 2004

Pitigrilli (1893-1975)


Adaptation by Frank Castorf based on the novel of the same name

Guest performance by the Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz Berlin


A large part of the cultural achievements of our civilisation would not be possible without the excessive use of permitted or illicit drugs. This phenomenon, which is as self-evident as it is dizzying, is neither suitable as a taboo nor as a scandal. However, it points to a fundamental ambivalence of social processes that goes far beyond questions of addiction, social hygiene and deviant behaviour. Drugs can also be an indicator of the imbalance in which a society finds itself that declares purposive calculation to be the only condition for survival and thus succumbs to a functionalism that becomes all the more intolerable the more successful it is. Drug as a metaphor and as an ideal bond between elite and dregs, between those who no longer want to calculate and those who never could. Pitigrilli's novel from 1922, which has been banned several times and which Fassbinder was already determined to film, provides fascinating material and personnel for Frank Castorf's Theaterversuchsanstalt, which deals with extreme states and the transcendence of unbearable living conditions beyond ideologies. Carstorf places weakness and obsession in an analytical context that makes clear the homeostatic and sytematic function of drugs. How much drugs does man need?

Commissioned work: "Cocaine" 2004 80 x 60 mixed media on canvas

Eva Kaiser

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