English Mondays at the Schauspielhaus are a mad scientist’s laboratory of experimental theater.
An effective antidote to theatrical ennui, the anarchic, absurd and anglophone English Mondays are experimental theater with a subversive smile, showcasing Vienna’s cosmopolitan provocateurs while offering free crisps and English tea. This season, the monthly fixture at the Schauspielhaus has been devoted to realizing the lifelong dream of creator Jesse Inman (pictured): to found the “World’s Smallest Theatre,” a one-man show run by the hugely passionate performer himself and grown from audience participation – but not too big, of course.
For the May edition, Inman and his assistant director, Gabriel Zschache, previewed the long-anticipated Smallest theatre in the World #3: Murder (a work in progress). Inspired by Fritz Lang’s 1931 thriller M, Inman’s deep, intriguing voice drew out the full potential for genuine fear: “They say three is a crowd. Eeny, meeny, miny, moe…”
Afterwards, spoken-word artist Christopher Hütmannsberger, a.k.a Selbstlaut, deconstructed the concept of masculinity in free verse, followed by Josh Fur of the band Porcelain Hip, who enthusiastically performed tongue-in-cheek songs like “I Love my Smartphone”, “Frowning” (on the Viennese default facial expression) and “We Eat Like Dogs”. The monthly competition had the audience guess movies upon hearing famous dialogues spoken under the influence of helium: Titanic’s “I will never let go, Jack” sounded very different, to say the least. I guess you had to be there.
For this month, Inman has plenty more ideas up his sleeve. As part of his Smallest Theatre in the World, June’s English Mondays will host an exclusive vernissage: #2 Art, where local up-and-comers present tiny masterpieces in “the world’s smallest gallery,” complete with miniature gift shop, café and cloakroom. The exhibit will continue over the following days.
Oh, and Mika Vember is stopping by. Formerly a part of local alt-rock band Clara Luzia, the Viennese singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist has garnered a cult following with albums like 2007’s Now or Now or 2010’s Our Lady Of The Loops. According to Inman, still reeling from inhaling an entire canister of helium, “she’s very famous and never performs anywhere.” He, for one, can’t wait, and judging from the enthusiasm of the peanut gallery, neither can the audience. In the words of Fur: “What am I doing? I’m just talking rubbish.” Inman: “Welcome to English Mondays.”
Next edition: Jun 11, 20:00, Schauspielhaus Nachbarhaus, Porzellangasse 19. schauspielhaus.at