Bees and Wiesenburg

At Isabelle Schad’s Wiesenburg studio last night for the development showing of her new solo, Solo für Lea (which is a phenomenal, tough work). The bees were drowsy from cool afternoon rain.


Platanaceae, –a, –um! — The last performance at the Saalbau

After the last performance, we made some photos in the Saalbau under the trees. While it was still light, I took photos of the suspended installation, and once it was dark, we moved things around, turned on some lights, got back in costumes and played around. After that we packed everything out and back into the van before early morning wine in my room. Sunday morning I was back to climb trees and strip all the rigging. Of course, it pelted us with rain. The drive back was long-ish, diverting off the Autobahn and onto Landstraßen, past forests and castles and hills. More photos!


Heppenheim & Starkenburg

Saturday morning I took off up the hill through vineyards and forests to Starkenburg. Yes, it rained.


Platanaceae, –a, –um! — Performing in the Rain

Much rain for the whole week in Heppenheim. The premiere rained out, the next day had even more rain but we performed anyway. Some photos from Friday.



Siegfriedstr. Wurms. Odenwald. Much Wagner. A late-evening Döner for dinner. We are in the Park Inn on the edge of the old town. The houses are 2-3 stories, whitewashed cut with a grid of dark-painted beams. Across the street from my window a vineyard creeps up the hill to the Starkenburg castle. The other direction wends through narrow streets to the museum and further to the two-spired, one-domed church. Breakfast and then to the cinema.

Originally we were to perform Platanaceae in a vast tree of that species, hence the name. That became not possible, and so a beautiful set of several Rosskastanie (Horse Chestnut) trees in the large courtyard of a neighbourhood cinema was proposed. We arrive at Saalbau (Lichtspiele seit 1910!) around 930, rain coming and going. Dasniya has already visited with Stephan, the Gassensensationen Festival artistic director, but for the other four of us it’s the first time. We meet a couple of the family who own and run the cinema, and over the day are gradually introduced to the many buildings and their history.

More rain. Pizza for lunch.

By the main driveway gate a long, low building commences, small square windows march along its length, each with soft peppermint green shutters. At the cinema end it meets a larger building, four sets of closely spaced windows long. I thought it might have been stables at first, but it was both too low and too narrow for that. The rain continues and we are shown in via a door at the farthest end from the street, offered the use of it to store our equipment and to warm up, stay out of the rain. It’s a single-lane, fully-mechanised bowling hall, the alley running the length of that long building, the larger one having tables and chairs, and on the walls photos crossing a century of groups of old men, the Polizei Pensionäre Kugelbahn Verein.

More rain and the Genie arrives. Dasniya and I throw slings and metal in and levitate to 8 metres above the ground, to begin hanging the ropes and building the installation. Still more rain and the others warm up inside while I enjoy the damp and navigate between several trees. The festival opens tomorrow and so far the weather gave us no respite in which to finish, let alone rehearse. We went for dinner to celebrate Dasniya’s birthday, echt Deutsche Küche und Wein at the vineyard across the street. Tomorrow is more rain. We’ll try to finish the rigging in the morning, the forecast though is noch schlimmer.


Platanaceae, –a, –um! — Days 11 & 12

Yesterday was without Florian. Today day was the four of us. We made some photos in the garden at the far end of the Uferhallen Gelände. The new ropes arrived yesterday: 500 meters of hemp rope from Spain. Solène and I spent the hot part of the day dragging the half of that through rings to soften them up and get rid of some of the rope fibres and dust. Dasniya arrived with bags of stuff: a portable radio; a gas jet burner to scorch the ropes; an impact drill; bags of costume and prop materials, all towed on a trolley. Later we wandered through music and playing around in the middle section. I’m spending evenings watching The Legend of Korra.

Today all of us. Dasniya arrives with more stuff: a new compact camera and assorted accessories. We worked through the first section and into the crossover to the second. I made my costume: a jute sack from Spain with holes cut for head and arms and tied over the tutu with a rope. It’s hot, scratchy, dusty, and perfect for a troll. The puppets are making more of an appearance. I’ve discovered mine is a Kiwa hirsuta, otherwise known as the Yeti Crab. It’s beginning a conversation with the Tardigrade.

Then outside to the garden for photos. Only a trio as someone had to be the photographer, but there was time for a self-portrait.


Lainzer Tiergarten Once Again

When the weather forecast in Berlin says ‘Wolkig’, it means a certain overcast, not as thick and heavy as, say ‘Bedeckt’, which I think of as beneath a flooring of clouds in the same way one might be besieged in a crypt beneath a stone ceiling, but nonetheless, an absence of the blue stuff. Basically any forecast of clouds in Berlin is merely referring to how near the ground the blanketing is, and how grey, rather than any sky-to-cloud ratio one would expect in normal conversations about meteorology.

So today, on my day off and with plans once again to wander through Lainzer Tiergarten (I’d deserted my other hiking possibilities as I’m less than sure of the other forests girdling Vienna) and with the forecast being wolkig, I was expecting a nice, shady hike with perhaps some wild boars foraging, and to mostly follow the route I took while working with Hans, that cold, very rainy and windy day last time I was here. Lucky I slathered on the sunblock as the day was mostly absent from cloud, except for the half hour or so I spent reading and taking lunch at Hubertuswarte.

Last week, I cut my wandering short, feeling the onset of blisters, and spent the next two days hilariously sore in hamstrings from the ascent – that’s what happens when you live in a city where the slightest rise of say, half a metre in the length of a suburb is regarded as a serious hill-climbing challenge. This week, embracing the certainly foolish, “Yup, I got the soreness out last week,” I decided for a longer route, and discovered it’s definitely the easier way to get to the top of the hill, taking about three times as long to cover the same elevation. In turn, on the descent, I was passed in the opposite direction by a staggering bunch of individuals suffering their way upwards by running. Most amusing for me and I wondered how much enjoyment they got out of the actual forest, some with earbuds, and all with pasty and grimly ground-focussed expressions of “this is good for me,” in the high-twenties Vienna temperatures that are the equivalent of ten degrees warmer in Adelaide.

The less steep parts were thankfully depopulated of such stupidity, and I even got to see a family of five wild boars and their several piglets in the fields around Johannser Kogel, heard a couple of woodpeckers, and generally had a smashing time stumping around in my boots. Came home, promptly fell asleep.

Lainzer Tiergarten Again

A very late start, early afternoon I took off to Lainzer Tiergarten for my third visit in as many years. The last time I hiked my way through it was raining, cold, and seriously windy atop Hubertuswarte, some 300 meters above Vienna and the highest point in the forest. Today was quite the opposite, sunny to the point of distracting, pleasantly warm, and full of the type of people for whom mucking about in crappy weather holds no charm.

It’s a curious place, walled in and full of wild animals – I encountered two groups of foraging boars, mothers with a clutch of tiny spot-striped bairns – heavily cropped, indeed despite the mass of mature trees it’s equally a forest of chainsawed stumps and it’s rare to find a stretch without it being framed by some manner of arboreal butchery, and quite limited for proper hiking possibilities as all the attractive looking trails with plenty of vertical variation have signs saying, “Bitte niche betreten”. Whether this is to protect idiot people from being gored by the many horn-bearing beasts, or them from us is unclear, the result however is that almost all wandering is circumscribed to basically narrow dirt access trails.

Still, from Nikolaitor to Hubertuswarte is an enjoyable upward trek broken twice by stretches of downwardness, and both times then followed by more upwardness to regain what was just lost. Some people run it. They tended to be middle-aged or older and, like the 70-ish year old granny who nearly overtook me with her trekking poles, made me feel pathetic.

I made it as far as Hubertuswarte and sat on the top eating and reading Iain Banks. I could have stayed there all day, but it was as busy as a once-daily rural bus stop, so having aired and dried my feet, I retraced my steps. Originally I planned from there to continue a loop, coming back along the east side to arrive at Wiener Blick (a nice uphill stretch to there, having bled off all that altitude down to Hermesville), but having not worn my boots for a long while I could feel blisters would start appearing if there was much more walking up hills.

The way back, once I’d reached Nikolaitor was a most excellent, hilariously fast and smooth bike ride along the Wienfluß Radweg, getting spat out at Hietzing and deciding to go along whatever street took my fancy (Penzingerstr into Mariahilferstr) back to home. And the bike needs servicing again. By God does this one get dirty and whiney. Probably something to to with riding it in muddy rainstorms in the forest. And once again the infernal cantilever brake judder, which is so bad it feels like my forks are going to blow apart. I spent an hour or so reading on possible fixes for this, and besides swapping out the fork for a new one that can take discs, the only other option is a fork-mounted cable hanger. Cantilevers eh? This T-shirt is entirely accurate.