The text was created after the premiere of The Clown, the photo by David Balzer shows a scene from it.

I myself was and still am a theatre enthusiast from an early age and have even lost my high school diploma as a result: at some point I spent more time in a Munich private theatre (Gunnar Petersen’s theatre tent “Das Schloss”) than in school. At the beginning of the nineties I worked technically extremely advanced and very experimentally (as the first theatre in Munich with digital editing and playback technology). Many of the surround- and sound-space experiments of that time do not have to hide from today’s production standards.

What I still had no idea about back then: how and when one can, should and/or must get involved in the creation process of a theatre production. It sounds more natural than it is often practiced: good theatre work is teamwork. You enter into a collective process of development and give yourself over to the other. One’s own ideas and views only carry as far as they continue to resonate in the actors involved and the rest of the directing team. If one’s own idea does not trigger anything in the others, it will decay as a stillbirth in the corner of the stage.

The most important driving force should therefore be curiosity: first of all curiosity about what the text triggers in me and the others and what energies arise in the rehearsals. In the end, curiosity about what shapes itself in me, what sounds I hear. The great theatre composer Laurent Simonetti once told me that he would not make music until he heard it inwardly. I found this immediately plausible and took it to heart. And so it can happen that I watch other people (the actors, the director, the outfitters) working for weeks before I myself know what I can contribute. This knowledge comes from listening, not only to others, but to myself. In the meantime, I can reliably judge whether an idea is right for the piece or not: namely by how concretely the sound or the music is formulated in me.

A lot is also about patience here. The fact that you sometimes sit passively next to it for weeks on end is a matter of self-confidence, and I am still susceptible to that today. Sometimes the inner sound is created just a few days before the premiere. Then everything must (and can) be produced within a few days.

In the final rehearsals, the process of handing over the piece to the sound department also takes place, which runs and supervises the repertoire after the premiere without me. The friction losses that can occur are a real issue. You rehearse for weeks and your fingers on the controller intuitively do exactly what you want them to do and then you have to laboriously formulate all this and pack it into many small and precise appointments. In principle, it’s like composing a score for a musician. How do you formulate your ideas, your inner sound, in such a way that the other understands it, but doesn’t just have to reproduce it slavishly one to one, but can find himself, his own inner sound in it? I think one should try to take the other along on his own journey, to involve him in it. This is possible if you are interested in him and curious about his contribution.

(The fact that I speak of my colleagues in male form throughout is due to linguistic simplicity or laziness. In fact, the quota of women among the theatrical sound engineers seems to me to be pleasingly high.)

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