Plays

Johanna

"FAN-TAS-TIC. A wonderful play" (Kurier) read more

Cast : 1– 4 actresses
Recommended for young audiences from 13 years onwards
World Premiere: Theatre Dschungel Vienna
© Sessler Verlag
Excerpts from the play

In competition for the "Young Literature Award", Germany. Nominated for the "Stella 2013, Performing Art Price in the category "Outstanding Production for the young Audience". Awarded with the "Outstanding Artist Award" 2014, Performing Arts by the Austrain Federal Chancellery.

Everyone knows the story of Joan of Arc, who changed the world by going to Hundred Years‘ War as the first woman of her time and defying men. She stood up to men and conquered the hearts of an entire nation until she was ultimately betrayed and burned at the stake as a heretic. Countless poets, from Schiller to Brecht, have dedicated works to the legend . The Austrian director and author Cornelia Rainer has adapted the history behind it for children and adolescents of 12 years and older.

The play revolves around the encounter of two young women: Joan of Arc and Joan, a 14-year-old girl from the present day. The historic Joan embodies courage, self-determination, hope and the ability to believe in oneself. The modern-day Joan is a girl going through puberty, who doubts herself and has yet to find her own path. She is preparing emotionally and mentally for a big day that will come tomorrow. The big day represents her venturing out into the world; it symbolises the moment when Joan should take responsibility for her own life. She breaks free from the straightjacket of external factors, which are dominating her life at school and in her family, and she starts following her own voice.

On this journey, Joan is faced with a whole range of possibilities that entail a lot of freedom but also leave her feeling very overwhelmed and disoriented. She feels a lot of pressure to constantly be up-to-date and follow all the latest fads and trends. Expecting herself to fit in while also finding her own path is becoming increasingly challenging for her. Parents, teachers and an ailing economy are putting constant pressure on her. When trying to make her way in this rough reality, Joan finds that the knowledge she was told to memorize at school is of little use to her. All she wants is to hear voices, just like Joan of Arc did; voices that tell her what to do and which decision is best for her. One minute she is courageous and wants to change the whole world, but the next one she doubts her own ideas and thoughts, hopes and dreams; simply put, she doubts herself.

However, she is determined to overcome her fears, immersing herself in the vanished world of the 15th century. She connects to the life of her namesake and imagines being like her: courageous, brave, confident. Joan is looking for something to believe in since she refuses to accept that many of today's children, adolescents and grown-ups feel that there is nothing left to believe in. Joan wants to charge ahead – she wants to be Joan.

But is that still as simple today as it was back then? Can you still solve all your problems with a sword? What is worth fighting for? What are Joan's hopes and dreams? What does she want to achieve? How far can she go? What is really important to her in life? What is the essence of Joan?

This is a play about identity, roles and the quest for one's own self and Joan, who embarks on a humorous discovery of its own destiny. back

The tale of the old man (Libretto, Theatre Play)

"The tale of the old man" is a successful fusion of Georg Büchner's short tale and several motives from H.C. Anderson's work. It is a literary fairy tale, without simple moralities but animated by mystery and poetry. The narration focuses on the transitory and the peculiar state which is created when old age and childhood converge. (Young critic) read more

Libretto & Theatre play, for young audience from 7 years of age
Cast: 1 singer, 2 actors, 1 child
World Premiere: Wien Modern Music Festival
Excerpts from the play

One day, an old man suddenly appears in a young family's home. Nobody knows who he is or where he has come from. During his presence, more and more puzzling things start to happen, things which muddle the family's peaceful and orderly world. While the old man follows the invisible tracks of bygone days gone by, the area increasingly becomes a place where reality, memory and imagination merge. Soon it becomes clear that the journey of the old man has not accidentally brought himself here.

The starting point for the libretto is Georg Büchner's short story "Once there was a poor child" as well as various motifs from fairy tales and stories from Hans Christian Andersen. Cornelia Rainer explores existential issues such as social exclusion, transience, loss and poverty.

Poverty, however, is not described here as a visible sign, but as something hidden. Similar to Büchner's and Andersen's fairy tales, THE TALE OF THE OLD MAN has its starting point in reality, from which it begins a journey through magical fairy-tale images, fantasy worlds and imaginary landscapes.
In this regard, fairy tales give children appropriate access to help in coping with a reality that is not always easy to understand. The play The tale oft he of the old man also uses a pictorial and symbolic language, which young viewers can intuitively detect and understand. The seasons as well as the growth and decay of nature clearly reflect the progress and development of our own life cycle. Winter precisely corresponds to the time when elderly people look back and sum up their lives. Yet even in this period of apparent stagnation, the hopeful seed of spring begins to emerge indicating a time when everything awakens and blossoms again. The earth continues to rotate, the world remains in flux. back

The ability of finding home (Monologue, Theatre Play)

"Cornelia Rainer's text is energized by numerous conversations and, due to the banality of everyday life, often brittle. Yet thanks to metaphors of waiting and reappearance it is also both silent and poetic." (Wiener Zeitung) read more

Monologue & Theatre play
Cast: 1 actor
World Premiere: Burgtheater Vienna, Austria
© Cornelia Rainer & Theater Montagnes Russes

The task and passion of a carrier pigeon breeder is, above all, to send pigeons to unknown places and wait for their return. The text is a snapshot of a person who stays behind alone and, remaining immobile in waiting, delivers a discourse on absence.
It creates a scenario of leaving and returning. The one who stays behind enters an intermediate space full of memories and expectations. The text is not a psychologically constructed story but an attempt to depict a condition through images casually and intuitively painted by carrier pigeon breeders, and thereby to create room for free associations. It is a scenic approach to the topics of farewell, absence and waiting. In writing the play, Cornelia Rainer has taken conversations with carrier pigeon breeders as a point of departure.

"you often try not to wait
while you sit and wait
they often do not come
while you are thinking of something else
not thinking about them
they often return
because you forgot
to think about them

it is good that you do not know
how it will find home
that you do not know
why it returns back home

you sit there
looking at the pigeon clock
looking out the window
looking at the sky" back

LENZ (Adaption, Dramatization)

"Cornelia Rainer has not just brought Büchner's famous novella to the stage. She developed her own version from Oberlin's letters and Lenz's texts, which does not pretend to be able to solve the mystery of what had once vexed the young genius, rather it expresses his desperation and allows him to keep his secret." (Salzburger Nachrichten) read more

Inspiried by Jakob Michael Reinhold Lenz, Georg Büchner and Johanna Friedrich Oberlin
Cast: 2 women, 3 men, 1 child
World Premiere Salzburg Festival, Young Directors Project 2012
© Cornelia Rainer & Theater Montagnes Russes

Jakob Michael Reinhold Lenz, Sturm und Drang poet: unquestionably an extraordinary talent and a much-documented sensitive soul. Praised highly during his youth as a literary genius, Lenz became increasingly solitary and isolated throughout the course of his life. He was too free spirited for the spiritual narrow-mindedness of his strictly religious homeland of Livonia; for the society of poets surrounding Goethe at the Weimar court, he was not elegant enough, not polite enough, not well-dressed enough – in a word, too poor: thus, Lenz remained a "wanderer between countries", without a home and misunderstood.

A few decades after Lenz' death, Georg Büchner described his sojourn at the Steintal, a landscape both barren and impressive. Lenz spent twenty days there at the house of Pastor Oberlin. These twenty days became the metaphor of a life-long search in which recurring themes and states of mind intensified: the gradual shift in perception, the effect of nature, the longing for community and communion with others, his being torn and ambivalent, wavering between religious mania and atheism, between hubris and self-castigation, mania and boredom, dreams and wakefulness.

Cornelia Rainer takes Lenz' well-documented stay at the Steintal as the point of departure for a theatrical portrait of the poet. back

Pünktchen und Anton from Erich Kästner (Dramatization)

"Erich Kästner would surely have rejoiced. Because with the stage adaption of the stage classic Anna Louise and Anton Cornelia Rainer succeeds in making a square peg fit in a round hole. Great theatre for the little ones." (Kurier) read more

Cast: 7 actors, 3 children, for children from 7 years
World Premiere Burgtheater Vienna, 2015
© Cornelia Rainer, Burgtheater Wien back

Richard II (Adaption)

"The Monologue of a King" is a suggestion and not a bad one. Brecht's old (and good) question game would ask, whether we can edit Shakespeare (Answer: Yes, whenever we can manage it!), is received extremely positively" (Deutschlandfunk). read more

by William Shakespeare
Monolog, Cast: 1 woman or man
World Premiere: Thalia Theater Hamburg
© Rowohlt Verlag

Richard II is, in essence, the story of a man who loses his kingdom yet gains his soul, and is told in this "monologue for an actor", beginning at the end of his demise. As a subject without rights, the once mighty ruler finds himself back in prison, deposed by the usurper Bolingbroke, and alone with the reproachful voices of the past, oscillating between self-delusion and knowledge, rebellion and self-destruction.
He lived through each stage of his bitter demise from the throne, imprisoned and abandoned by the world, and once again, the loss of his kingship forcing him to confront and be aware of his own downfall. In the bloody historical plays of Shakespeare, the world descends into murder and bloodiness. At the beginning of this descent into hell is the inevitable Fall of Man: the interruption of the accepted order by the removal of a king appointed by God. This marked Richard's fall from favour as different from all certainties in the uncertainty of his existence, and of the exemplary awakening of his human individuality, which begins as a revolutionary discovery of the ego in the Renaissance and leads directly to the complexity and thrownness of our modern life.

"Richard II is a poor ruler and an interesting metaphysical poet. His kingship diminishes at the same rate as his poetry improves. He is a foolish king, unsuitable for the dignity with which he is dressed and he is just as much the victim of his own psyche and his extravagant poetry as the machinations of Bolingbroke." Harold Bloom back