based on J.W. von Goethe

Willingness to make sacrifices, gentleness, tolerance, and the ability to be communicative: girls and women are still confronted with these stereotypes of femininity today. These stereotypes find their mythological concentration in the Atridian daughter Iphigenia – often interpreted by mostly male authors such as Euripides and Goethe. For this reason alone, the figure is highly modern in connection with current discussions about gender roles, discrimination and equality.

With her new version, Angelika Messner examines the morally demanding role of Iphigenia, which brings women into inner distress. Messner relocates the classic plot to a red-light district. As a young girl, Iphigenia was sold by her father, and ended up in a brothel. There, for twenty years, she worked her way up to a “Mother Theresa of hookers”. Her pimp Thoas, who leads a mafia-like organization, proposes marriage to her, which she rejects. This hurts his male pride. As punishment, he gives her the order to kill two strangers from her homeland whom his men have picked up…

With the cohesive language of blank verse, the text acquires a compelling rhythm. As the musical develops, condensed spoken word texts are added. The themes that Angelika Messner negotiates with the of today are on the one hand the examination of the existence of genuine humanity in the present day and the roles of women as being determined by others. How do we evolve beyond our current patterns of thought and action in this regard? And questioning, if it’s possible to act humanely within the framework of this liberation.

“Iphigenia powerfully eloquently resists all of these attributions and impositions […] a clever, strongly played evening, which is worth seeing and listening to, just because of the jazz tubist Jon Sass, who gives the language rhythm and structure with his playing. (The Standard, 12/2/2022)

“In a rapid 70 minutes, she managed to write a coherent, up-to-date version. […] Take a look at that!” (Die Presse 2.12.2022)

“Messner’s work, despite all the tragedy, is an entertaining evening that […] gets to the heart of today’s women’s issues in their exaggeration.” (APA, December 1, 2022)

Photos: Anna Stöcher