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ich schlafe was ich denke
Musictheatre with words by Fernando Pessoa
for two singers, for actors,
Violine, Violoncello, Saxophone, Piano, Tape and Live-Electronic
(co-author Susanne Stelzenbach)

First performance: 21.4.1996 Hebbel-Theater Berlin

Co-production Hebbel-Theater Berlin – ACARTE Festival Lissabon
with the support of the Goethe-Institut
and the German Embassy in Portugal.

Susanne Stelzenbach, musical direction
Frank Schleinstein, staging
Lother Holler, sets and costumes
Ralf Hoyer, sound direction
Andreas Fuchs, lighting design
Matthias Kirschke, sound technician
Daniel Hammer, allestant director
Ana Maria Nunes Pirl, dramaturgy assistant


Rosa Enskat
Daniel Minetti
Andreas Pirl
Wolfgang Krause-Zwieback


Katia Guedes de Sousa
Marta Roza

Matthias Leupold, violin -
Adelheid Schloemann, violoncello
Gerald Gnausch, sxophone
Susanne Stelzenbach, piano

The dream is the main theme of this play where it is impossible to perceive any action.. The textual basis is constituted by Fernando Pessoas’s static drama „O Marinheiro“ (1913-1915) and by the poem „Passagem das Horas“ (1916) of Alvaro de Campos, one of the poet’s heteronyms. „Passagem das Horas“ is a day dream of excesses, in which Pessoa/Alvaro de Campos, in almost hallucinating thirst for living, in a self-unfolding ritual, transports himself into the interior of the most varied characters, situations and things, with the declared purpose of „feeling everything in all ways, living everything from all points of view, being the same thing from all possible ways at the same time...“ The couterpoint to this poem is „O Marinheiro“, inserted here in „Passagem das Horas“, a totally different world, crossed by slow and mysterious rhythms. Three damsels mourning another one that has died, have to talk to each other all night long to make sure they are real. They speak of their past, but at this exact moment fiction and memory begin to mingle. One of them starts telling a strange dream: a sailor, shipwrecked on a desert island, because the memory of his land is making him homesick, starts to dream of another land, of another past. When he comes to the point where it becomes impossible to remember his real past, he recognizes that he only has the past he has dreamt of. This dream and the morning dawn instils in the three damsels a fear of the world’s mysteries and strangeness. By posing a question: „Wy can’t the seilor be the only real thing in all this, and all this here be just a dream of the sailor?...“ The dreamer tries to find a possible explanation, an acceptable answer to that situation. Next, „Passagem das Horas“ begins symbolizing life that starts to bloom: „Everything passes, things parade, all the cities in the world ramble inside me, my mouth receives the kisses of all the meetings, in my heart flutters the handkerchiefs of all farewells...“ But also this life is passing by, more as a dreamt possibility than as a living reality - just like the vision the dreaming sailor had on the island (which was dreamt of by one of the damsels). During the play, when the sorano solo returns („Song to the Night“), for a moment a distension enters the cavalcade of feelings, but this is soon destroyed by an ironic observation, not being possible to stop the unstoppable. Using alternative musical structures, deliberate noise and dissonances from the piano and the string instruments, the music intends to make its own autonomous interpretation of the text, with its paradoxes and its dilacerated movement between thinking and feeling. The spoken texts must not be seen as semantic configurations alone, as they also constitute one of the sonorous ingredients, especially in the moments when the words are simultaneously
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