For six years the Vienna-based Fritzpunkt theatre collective has been working on the literary fortress project of Styrian author Marianne Fritz, who died last October: one of the most radical, complex and extensive writing projects in contemporary German-language literature.
For the analysis of the 3305-page novel “Dessen Sprache du nicht verstehst” (Whose language you don’t understand) at steirischer herbst, Fritzpunkt have opted for the form of an enacted strategy of exclusion. The language of the work, that transcends the usual literary repertoire of description and experience, calls for the dismantling of accustomed patterns of understanding. For eleven days and eleven nights, seven actors work through the uninterrupted flow of text in a public-view working/living room divided off from the auditorium. Taking turns, one actor – walking around the streets of Graz – reads the text of the novel, words merge with ambient sounds, snatches of conversation, remnants of music, urban noise, and are transmitted by radio microphone to the public headphones in the auditorium, while the visible actors prepare for their entry. “These-here” (the audience) see what they cannot hear (“those-there”: the actors) and hear what they cannot see (the roaming reader).