Mabbach: declaration of love to reading

Mabbach: declaration of love to reading

Now let's get real! "Education for rita – how that already sounds! A theater piece can hardly be less inviting and curiosity arousing. This doesn't sound like entertainment at all, but like popular education in the sense of georg kerschensteiner. The original english title is something quite different, although it doesn't really mean anything else: "educating rita". That has a melody of speech, even a beatles song could be like that. But "education for rita?

But the skepticism already decreases when you learn about the stucco: "pygmalion" we can leave out george bernard shaw, it is not too well known. But "my fair lady" – a crowd puller from a time when musicals were not yet put on roller skates – known to everyone of a certain age: the story of the linguist professor henry higgins, who makes a bet with his friend colonel pickering that he will manage to get the flower girl eliza doolittle, whom he has pulled out of the gutter, into high society through language education alone. He wins the bet, but eliza immediately slides back down into the gutter because higgins had taught her the language but no content and even less the necessary social background. The human being eliza was completely indifferent to him.

Out of the mental confinement

The musical is often used as a comparison when it comes to "education for rita" because here, too, a girl from a working-class background and a university professor clashed. But the comparison is false. For in the play by the englishman willy russell (in the absolutely coherent translation by angela kingsford rohl), it is not the professor who is the driving force, but the girl: rita, the hairdresser, wanted to break out of her intellectual confinement, no longer wanted to be the court jester, no longer wanted to read only dime novels, but "real books, literature – and she also liked to understand it. That's why she enrolls at the "open university an offer of english universities, for lateral, late, lateral entrants and school dropouts, which once existed, until margret thatcher came along. And it gets to the frustrated literary scholar frank, who really only needs the books on the shelves in his study to hide the high-proof bottles behind them. He is to be fired because he fell off the podium twice in a drunken lecture.

It takes frank a while to get used to the constant verbal bombardment of his student, until he realizes that she asks spontaneous, supposedly naive, but quite interesting questions, which should be answered. Because rita still takes literature literally, assumes that what is written on the paper is what is meant. And if there's anything she hates, it's writing essays.

Driving word changes

Willy russell has turned this sprouting, at first academically dismissive basis into a brilliant piece of dialogue in twelve pictures for two people with driving word changes, all kinds of allusions to english literature – which you don't necessarily have to know in order to be amused anyway. And he still found room for the extra-literary, such as the personal relationship crises of the two, which are dealt with in passing. But in the end, both have gone through a development with which they can be satisfied – unlike in "my fair lady".

Perfect timing

And after all, this is about education, not "high german". A text that can leave you breathless with great pleasure. And incidentally, it is also a declaration of love to reading.

Rolf heiermann has brought the play with anna schindlbeck as rita and ingo pfeiffer as frank onto the stage (of the lauertalhalle), and that too in a highly corona-like way, without it being noticed. Which is helped by the fact that even in non-corona times, the two had never intended to kiss. The result is a production with an enormous tempo and perfect timing, which requires absolute concentration, and which nevertheless always spans a very clear red thread. In a cleverly devised direction of the people, in which even the smallest movements, the smallest jerking of the mobs have their meaning. In the spurbar a breath of fresh air in the stuffy university world ("under the talars …") is blown. In which a rough tension is built up: you can guess what will happen in the next scene, but you're never sure.

Both figures win

The realization is also highly professional. Anna schindlbeck is a rita who can not only get on frank's nerves with her artificially high, squeaky voice and her mugging permanent logorrhhea, behind which she tries to hide her insecurity. But the moment she realizes that her professor is beginning to take her seriously, she calms down, plays with her naivete, gains more and more self-confidence, benefits from her immersion in the culture of the university. On the other hand, frank is not freed from his alcoholism – that would be too much of a good thing – but, because he feels challenged and after he has said goodbye to the feeling of being overtaxed, he regains a taste for literature, for discourse, for life outside the study room, despite his failed marriage relationship.

Like a prison

But one quickly notices the high degree to which stage design (robert pflanz) and costume (daniela zepper) play a role here. The musty, narrow study room seems like a prison, the books like bars. At least: through the rearrangement of tables and chairs, changes in the relationship between frank and rita can be seen. And even the jammed lock on the door, which rita struggles to open, shows how difficult it is for her to enter the new world. On the other hand, the changing clothes of rita in every scene – from hippie-grellbunt to strict, monochrome costume – and frank – always professorially unimaginative, but with jerky neglect – seem like a commentary on the development of their wearers.

Ware "educating rita or "education for rita an averagely good play, then in the end rita and frank would probably end up in bed and maybe even get married – although that wouldn't matter then. But it is a very excellent piece, and so it ends with a big surprise. For … But stop! This will not be revealed.

One leaves the theater wondering what to admire more: the stucco or the realization. And you decide very quickly for a good compromise: both!

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