Review: KATAKOMBE - I JUST WANT TO LIVE at Kilen Stadsteatern

The musical drama company Katakombes´first play

By: Feb. 24, 2023
Review: KATAKOMBE - I JUST WANT TO LIVE at Kilen Stadsteatern

This is a newly written performance based on the lives and destinies of Walter Richter (Stefan Clarin), Stella Goldschlag (Anki Albertsson) and Mildred Fisch-Harnack (Anna-Maria Hallgarn) during the Second World War. Three Jews in Berlin who have not met but experienced similar things and their parallel stories weave together in a fantastic way without ever meeting. We get to follow them from the carefree time when they were enjoying life, until small signs started coming that something was going on, but it wasn't going to happen to them. As Stella says "I'm blonde and blue-eyed, I'm German". But bit by bit, life changes drastically for them and they choose completely different ways to deal with the constant threat to their existence. There is an incredible presence, nerve and intensity in the acting. The pain, fear and denial is so strong it can almost be touched. It becomes extra strong when you know that this is based on the fates of real people and no matter how many fates you hear about from this time, you are affected by them and it hurts to watch this show. A theme throughout the performance is "I just want to live" and what is most interesting and at the same time most painful to see is how Stella chooses to become an informer of other Jews. It is the most unforgivable thing you can do and how do you live with yourself after that? Is it worth the price to live? She is the only survivor, but was it a life worth living with the lives of so many people on her conscience?

The plot is carried forward by spoken monologues, but in the background, newly composed music by Kristina Issa is heard, which builds up and reinforces the fateful atmosphere. The tone of the music changes as reality becomes more menacing and terrifying. But there are a few songs interspersed and become an extra emotional layer. Stefan, Anki and Anna-Maria are all well-established musical artists and have the ability to convey a story and emotions in song. Their voices complement each other and suit the different characters they play very well.

This is a play that I was extremely affected and shaken by, at times I almost sat and held my breath because what was happening on stage was so strong, but at the same time something was rubbing at the back of my head. Can you really see this as just a historical event, or is it a reminder of what can actually happen in our country? Just before I went in, I had read in Aftonbladet how there was a passage in the Public Service investigation that they should investigate whether a journalist should not be prosecuted for his job. Another article in DN mentioned that SD reported a sermon for the parts they didn't like. These are frightening signs that something is changing in our society. Are we now the ones who choose to ignore the signs because we don't believe it can happen to us just like Walter, Stella and Mildred didn't believe what happened next could happen? Is there anything we can learn from their lives before it's too late? Or are we like Stella willing to do anything to save our own life?

This is Katakombe's first set and it will be really interesting and exciting to see what they do next, because this was really good. An extremely well-acted, interesting, shocking and thought-provoking performance that I really think you should see. It's an hour of your life you won't regret.

Also, this is a play that would be excellent to perform in schools.


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