Are Indians Turks

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The Indians speak Turkish - Karl-May-Magazin 03/20

Karlsruhe Puppet Theater brings "Silbersee" to the (virtual) stage


This year's compulsory stage break not only affects the open-air theaters: The Karlsruhe “marotte” puppet theater, which has been showing plays in both children's and evening programs since 1987, has had “Winnetou - The Treasure in Silbersee” on the program since autumn 2019 . When the game had to be stopped for known reasons last March, the marotte broadcast its first Karl May play live on the local broadcaster BadenTV in the program “Curtain up”. The reviewer also watched from the couch at home.
The Wild West is big, but the stage of the “marotte” is small - that's why two actors had to suffice to implement May's youth novel published in 1890/91 in “Guten Kameraden”. Marotte manager Thomas Hänsel and Rusen Kataloglu, who own a local intercultural theater, mastered this multiple division.
"Intercultural" is also the right keyword here, because the adaptation does not start on the steamer "Dogfish" on the Arkansas, but - in an integration office in the Federal Republic of Germany. More precisely: in the office of a clerk (Thomas Hänsel) who is also a Karl May enthusiast, so to speak, and instead of integrating immigrants, prefers to transform his desk into the Wild West with Elastolin figures.
How annoying that he will soon be torn from his dream world by a Turk (Rusen Kataloglu) willing to integrate. He passes his integration test clearly too exemplary for the processor, can even quote Goethe and Schiller, so that the diligent officer demands Karl May next - and promptly receives quotes from Karl Marx. . . Because of this ignorance and the connection between Indians and Turks established by Karl May in his foreword to "Winnetou l", the officer sitting at the longer lever sees himself incited to a real mission: In order to obtain citizenship, the client must help "Silver Lake" perform.
Fittingly, the two actors, who act as themselves, now go behind the screen, onto which various backgrounds are projected: The piece in the piece is staged as a shadow play, Kataloglu and Hansel serve and speak all the characters themselves, sometimes alternately.
The "Silbersee" plot does receive strong ruffles, but due to the short playing time (almost 90 minutes including the framework) and the limited staff, they are only too understandable and mostly also implemented in a credible manner. That z. B. Firehand is omitted where Shatterhand is sufficient, is almost a basic requirement on Karl's stages. Replacing Aunt Droll with Sam Hawkens (and its e in the name with an i, oh gray) may be explained by the greater popularity of the latter and the filming - but it is actually a shame and (once again) overlooks Droll's potential.
There are also other film loans: Like Shatterhand in 1962, Sam is allowed to fight a rope fight on the screen. The changes will probably hit the Big Bear hardest: he has to bless the time on the Dogfish. But in the end all of this is petty, one is used to much worse things from the Reinls, Stölzls, Bludaus and Stamps of this planet.
If Hansel and Kataloglu had only brought a shadow play to the stage under the direction of Carsten Dittrich and re-enacted “The Treasure in Silbersee” in abbreviated form, the matter would still be of marginal interest at best.
The actual incentive is provided by the general plot, which in the quirky staging not only forms the springboard for a “classic” staging, but is also taken up again and again when, for example, Hansel, complaining in the most beautiful official manner, explains to Kataloglu how to operate the puppets or one behind The gunfire started on the screen is continued by the actors in front of the same with carnival weapons.
In addition to these comical elements, the framework story also emphasizes the intercultural potential that Karl May's novel offers through its location in the integration office: The fact that "Kataloglu" means "Son of the Eagle" in German is one more confirmation for integration consultant Hansel that the Turks can get closer to the Indians. Here, one German imagination is projected onto another in a fitting and yet tongue-in-cheek manner. - And just undermined by the one-voice representative of the one constructed "group" who was present: The catalog, which actually speaks perfectly German, consistently lets all natives appearing in the play speak in Turkish. Obviously to the displeasure of Hansels, who quickly claims Winnetou for himself and lets him speak German as the only one. Again: Winnetou, the most German of the Indians.
When the federal eagle floats through the prairie instead of vultures and at the end of the search for the German passport ... pardon: the treasure map the blood brotherhood officially seals the naturalization, it becomes finally clear: The quirk succeeds in humorous way to essential aspects of To update May's work and to show that Karl May is neither outdated nor reducible to riding in a circle and bang effects.
Jonas Remmert

"Whenever I think of the Indian, I think of the Turk"

In conversation with Thomas Hänsel, head of the Marotte Puppet Theater

Mr. Hansel, intercuiturality and integration are the main themes of your piece: What came first - the intention to play Karl May or the one to take part in the intercultural discus?
The intention to play Karl May was there first. Then we came across the first sentence in the introduction to "Winnetou I" with May's comparison between Indians and Turks. Since I've been playing “Alibaba and the 40 Robbers” with Rusen Kartologlu for five years, the idea was born.

Do you have a personal connection to Karl May?
I come from near Dresden (Neustadt / Sa. - 30km from Radebeul) and as a teenager I read many Karl May books. They came from my godmother from Regensburg in parcels with a double bottom, since books were banned in the GDR and were only published in the 1980s.

Looking back: What surprised you most when dealing with Karl May in preparation for the piece?
His immense knowledge of the flora and fauna of America and his description of the way of life of the Indians. And that Klara May was the widow of her friend, Kaulmann Richard Plöhn, in Radebeul. . .

It is currently difficult to make predictions, but do you intend to put the play on stage again when the performance resumes?
In any case, the piece will continue to be played in the quirk and outside as a guest performance. We are now applying to all locations with the Karl May Festival as an enrichment to the large open-air performances.