Ten years after winning the acclaims of the Bitef audiences with his unforgettable play Do the Europeans!Do it! Do it! Do it! Do it!, Christof Martaler is visiting us on the 42nd Bitef 08 with yet another merciless and lucid analysis of contemporary society and its anxieties. Lack of Space deals with well-to-do middle class people, people with health insurance. Grotesque images of egsistential despair appear beneath their wealth and provisional well being.
The surreal landscape of a sanatorium, is reminiscent of a panoramic view-point where you arrive by an egg shaped lift! The well-off clients/patients are unaware that there is no return from this place, and that they have been stranded in an infernal machine, or some kind of contemporary labor camp, in which they will survive only if they learn to conquer their own personal space.
Skillfully directed, with humor and sobriety, intertwined with songs, the play Lack of Space metaphorically depicts the spectre of relationships and values of an increasingly global world, which can sometimes be reached even with a lift!
Christoph Marthaler was born in 1951 in Zürich and studied music and theatre in Zürich and Paris. He worked as a composer and musical associate in many big theatres in German speaking territories and produced his own musical productions. Since 1988, and during the time when Theatre Basel was headed by Frank Baumbauer, he studied Switzerland and Swiss people at Baden-Baden train station.
After the staging of his play Do Away With the European! Do Away With Him! Do Away With Him! Do Away With Him! Do Him In! (Murx den Europäer! Murx ihn! Murx ihn! Murx ihn ab!), a requiem for German Democratic Republic that he directed for Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz in 1993 in Berlin, his new theatre language became well known on the German stage. For the next seven years he worked as a director in Schauspielhaus in Hamburg and Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz in Berlin. Christoph Marthaler was twice proclaimed the director of the year, he was a recipient of German awards for theatre Konrad-Wolf-Preis and Fritz-Kortner-Preis, ands was also awarded the Bavarian theatre award, as well as European award.
From 2000 to 2004, Christoph Marthaler was Director of Schauspielhaus Zürich, which was twice voted the best theatre of the year during that period. In 2001, he directed, among others, Franz Schubert’s The Miller's Beautiful Daughter (Die Schöne Müllerin) which was invited to Berliner Theatertreffen and RuhrTriennale, and was nominated for Nestroy award.
In October 2002, he directed In the Alps by Elfriede Jelinek (coproduction with Kammerspiele from Münich), and in February 2003 he directed Groundings – A Kind of Hope (Groundings-Eine Hoffnungsvariante) for Schauspielhaus Zürich. In April 2003 there was a world premiere of a new project entitled Better not – A Thinning Out (Lieber nicht – Eine Ausdünnung) based on the story Bartleby, the Scrivener by Herman Melville at Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz in Berlin. In July 2003, opera Invocation – Moderato cantabile premiered at Züricher Festspiele, based on texts by Marguerite Duras and on music composed by Beat Ferrer. In September 2003, Marthaler, Meg Stuart and Stefan Pucher collaborated on the project The Golden Age, which premiered in a shipyard hall, and Büchner’s Danton’s Death premiered in December in Pfauen theatre in Zürich. Another world premiere took place on March 3, 2004: a poetry evening O.T. – A Substitute Passion, and on May 10 Christoph Marthaler and Anna Viebrock received Berlin award Stiftung Preussische Seehandlung in 2004.
In 2004/2005 season, there were world premieres of productions Sailor Songs (Seemannslieder) in Ghent, Belgium, and Protection from the Future (Schutz vor der Zukunft) at Wiener Festwochen; the second production received Nestroy award for best directing. For Bayreuth Festival, in July 2005, he directed Wagner’s opera Tristan and Isolde.
For Berlin Volksbühne, in December 2005, he directed The Fruit-Fly (Fruchtfliege), and in May 2006 at KunstenFESTIVALdesArts in Brussels, he directed Winch only. This production was awarded the Premio UBU award in Italy. Tales from the Vienna Woods premiered in November 2006 in Berlin Volksbühne. After the project entitled Maeterlinck in Ghent, he directed La Traviata in Paris Opera, and for Salzburger Festspiele musical theatre he directed New Wine from Italy (Sauser aus Italien) about the composer Giacinto Scelsi.
In December 2007, he returned to the venue where he directed his first productions, in off-theatre Rote Fabrik in Zürich. There he created a theatre evening Lack of Space (Platz Mangel) which was nominated for Berliner Theatertreffen 08. After this he directed Woyzeck at Paris Bastille Opera.