We enter parliament in order to supply ourselves, in the arsenal of democracy, with its own weapons. If democracy is so stupid as to give us free tickets and per diems for this work, that is its own affair. To us every legal means is welcome to revolutionise the current state of affairs. […] We do not come as friends, not even as neutrals. We come as enemies!
Joseph Goebbels, 1928
As has already happened in the past, today we’re experiencing anti-democratic forces being legitimized by democratic means once again, acquiring media and real spaces to present themselves and making their views socially acceptable. Then, quite legally, they can overthrow democracy and demand an authoritarian dictatorship. Not only in Poland or Hungary, but also in Germany. Oliver Frljić led the national theatre in Rijeka for three years, was enthusiastically supported by his audience, and bitterly opposed by Catholic Croatian nationalists. Since then he has staged productions in various countries, most recently in Austria and Poland, where his production Klątwa (The Curse), which appeared at the Gorki in June 2017, caused both jubilation and protest in Warsaw. At the Gorki, Frljić wants to follow the logic of politics in order to question the theatre. But only to show the anti-matter of representation: if representative democracy allows fascistoid parties to enter the parliament, then we have to rethink the democratic system. On the 200th birthday of Maxim Gorki, Frljić tries to figure out whether Gorki can help the Gorki understand the Alternative for Germany. And whether the Alternative für Deutschland can help in understanding the GOKI. Or the other way around? What is democracy worth, if its opponents can put on a big display on its premises? What is theatre worth, if its opponents cannot put on a display on its premises?
Premiere: 15 March 2018
Photo: Esra Rotthoff