by Nora Abdel-Maksoud / Hamburg version
"Why is the theatre such a good place to joke about poor people? – Because they can’t afford the ticket anyway." A bad joke, especially if one considers who is most likely to laugh at it: a comfortably placed middle-class theatre audience. »Café Populaire« offers countless such subtle stabs. It is subversive satire at its best. Its young author, a discovery, cares about everything, especially about "race, class, and gender," though she rejects any form of political correctness. "The theme of this evening is class, not classicism," explains one of the four figures at the beginning. There is Svenja, a well-educated do-gooder, who, as an artist, wants to improve the world with humour and humanism, but who like many of her fellows in the cultural industry has to earn her money precariously, in this case as a clown in a hospice (she explains why she doesn’t use the female form of ‘clown’). There is Püppi, an old left-wing hospice resident who, following the death of her husband, is looking for a new owner for her old-style pub. And Aram with a migrant background, the "service-industry proletarian" who keeps himself afloat with all sorts of jobs, Uber driver, parcel courier, masseur, etcetera. And finally, Don, Svenja’s evil neo-liberal alter ego who repeatedly bursts out of her against her will and who seeks distinction from the „proles”. Nora Abdel-Maksoud brilliantly lets the latest discourses on identities, ideologies and various -isms collide in fast-paced dialogues and, with a lot of wit and verve, confronts the audience with some very serious questions: How cosmopolitan are we really? What role do money, class, and social clichés play in our society? »Café Populaire« premiered in 2018 at the Neumarkt Theater in Zurich. The author has written another version specially for the SchauSpielHaus Hamburg.