Isabella Sedlak

Portrait Isabella Sedlak
Photo: Esra Rotthoff

Isabella Sedlak was supposed to do her first larger-scale production as director but it turned out very differently.

What are you planning with the bogeyman Krampus?
I’ve known Krampuses since I was a child. They would roam in groups through villages and towns to punish people according to tradition. I would like to question the cultural function of frightening people. To that end I want to put the Krampuses in unusual contexts and enter into a dialogue with them.

I thought there would be a war against the bogeyman.
We will find out what these demonic figures really stand for. This is a devised work after all. In the process we’ll certainly have to confront other bogeymen as well. I’ll find out which in rehearsals.

Because the actors will contribute their own bogeymen? 
Definitely. The goals of the work are to present bogeymen or establish how they function. It also depends on who is behind the mask, who appropriates these mythical figures and for what purpose they are utilised and performed. 

The premiere was supposed to be last May. Then Covid came along.
It was supposed to be my first larger-scale production as director. But that was put on pause. Right before the borders were closed, I flew on one of the last planes from Berlin to Vienna. The care service providers were completely overwhelmed because the nurses coming from other countries were no longer available. Social disparities have been exacerbated by Covid. A long-term care system, for example, that is built to maximize economic benefits and only functions because workers from Eastern European countries are paid less, collapses very quickly. The disadvantaged nurses lose their jobs. And often it is the women in families who fill in. 

What do you think of people who don’t wear masks?
When someone feels so limited by this little piece of fabric, then I have to ask how fragile their personal expression must be, to be so endangered so quickly.

Interview: Arno Widmann

Krampus: Pelz und Puderzucker

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