In 2003, the Maxim Gorki Theater at Festungsgraben in the shadow of the boulevard Unter den Linden (which lies on the last 1.5km of the course of the real,- BERLIN-MARATHON, had the chance to "experience” the final spurts by Paul Tergat and Sammy Korir for the new (and still current) world record time of 2:04:55 followed by Sammy Korir’s 2:04:56 and 30,707 other runners.
In 2005, the director of the theatre, Joachim Meyerhoff, ran the 2005 real,- BERLIN- MARATHON himself (12,528th in 3:58:26) in order to truly have experienced what it is that he is writing about. He wanted to find out why people would do this to themselves and to experience the kick himself. Meyerhoff is also a member of the ensemble of the Vienna Castle Theatre. “The theme of the evening is exhaustion,” Meyerhoff says.
Both the theatre and the marathon are based on myths of the antiquities: “The myth of the runner from Marathon is really the only true myth transported to another world that is completely alive.
40,000 athletes run in a myth of the BERLIN-MARATHON. That is completely unique!
This is not the first time that the marathon theme has been taken up in the theatre. Parallel to the marathon in 1989 (from September 29-October 1, 1989), Tony Dunham and Robert Sian, both actors in the "Confederacy of Fools”, presented excerpts from their play MARATHON in the "Schauplatz” theatre (in a tent near the Philharmonics).
More and more people are seeking the challenge of the marathon in the world’s great metropolises. The 40 km race of the first Olympic Games was not altered until London 1908, when it was extend to the famous 42.195 km, which was the distance between Windsor Castle and the stadium, so that the royal family could comfortably follow the event from their balcony. In non-heroic times lacking challenges, the legend of the death of the first runner adds a great element of fascination. Still today, runners do sometimes die in the pursuit, albeit mostly due to remnant illnesses.
Three Act Drama
The course of a marathon race is similar to a three-act drama. First there is the preparation and start phase, in which the masses of people hope to flush away their fears in the countless Dixi-latrines. Then, after they await their start in groups according to their best times, they are able to cheerfully take off on the first kilometres, accompanied by the terror of the most crude music mix.
In the second phase, when the metabolism has changed from burning carbs to burning fat, many meet the infamous ‘man with the hammer,’ their legs get heavy, and time becomes endless, until finally redemption comes in the form of endorphins, which produce a “runner’s high”, and the pain is transformed into a euphoric delirium which allows for the wildest dream sequences.
Return to reality
The final phase is the finish, success, warm blankets which are hung around those arriving, the massage camp beds, and a return to reality.
»Marathon: 2 Hours, 4 Minutes, 55 Seconds«, an evening that will last exactly as long as the current world record, told in a kaleidoscope of stories of driven people, who seek their luck at the limits: a family man, who dreams himself into the world of the first marathon runner, Pheidippides, in the battle by Marathon and victory of the Athenians over the Persians; a man who runs for fun, who learns to fear; the ambitious professional runner, who fantasizes his way back into the highlands of Kenya; the apocalyptic man, who prophesises the demise of the motionless; the business man, who hates to sit still and longs for the extreme experiences of the Asian monks; a young woman, in whom mythical huntresses like Atlanta come alive; the lascivious man, who finds his personal porno in the marathon; the business woman, who is running from her fear of flying; a young woman called ‘bomb,’ who after trying extreme dieting like “losing weight through fear’ is looking for high-calorie treats on the course.
At the end, one will find his death.
For the third time, following the pieces SAUNA – A TRIBUTE and WHEN WILL IT FINALLY BE LIKE IT NEVER WAS BEFORE AGAIN?, director Joachim Meyerhoff is presenting his own screenplay at the Maxim Gorki Theater.
Director: Joachim Meyerhoff - Costumes: Sabine Volz - Music: Matthias Trippner
With Anya Fischer, Bettina Hoppe, Francesca Tappa; Ulrich Anschütz, Thomas Bischofberger, Horst Fischer, Tim Hoffmann, Wolfgang Hosfeld, Rainer Kühn, Thomas Müller, Dietmar Obst, Felix Rech, and others.
Debut performance on Thursday, 13. April 2006 at 7:30 p.m.
in the Maxim Gorki Theater
The next performances will be on April 17th and 27th,
May 6th, 19th, and 25th,
always at 7:30 in the Maxim Gorki Theater.
Two further dates in June are not set yet.
Maxim Gorki Theater
Am Festungsgraben 2
Tel. (030) 20221-356
Fax (030) 20221-365