This play serves as a stark reminder of the horror that unfolded on 11 March 2009 in Winnenden, Germany. The mental and emotional instability of a single person resulted in the destruction of 16 other innocent lives. The victims will never have a chance to describe the terror that struck them the moment that the gunman raised a 9 mm Beretta semi-automatic pistol to their heads. This play endeavours to capture those dark and truthful moments in a narrative which includes every perplexing detail of the events that unfolded that dreadful day.
The play touches upon the turmoil in the life of the murderer, Tim Kretschmer, and tries to make sense of his bizarre and inexplicable deeds. To this day, the motives behind his killing spree remain a mystery. Some state it was his over-protective mother and others propose that it was a mental condition which was undetected. What triggered his desire to kill? Why did he do it? What did he hope to achieve? Unfortunately, we may never know.
However, based on the evidence available, this play draws some conclusions as to what strange and unnatural forces could have driven a seemingly innocent 16-year old boy to commit such atrocities. The superbly written script forces you to consider the balance of status and power between all characters and how the slightest shifts of this balance can leave people on the verge of insanity. The narrator’s dialogue, also expertly crafted, invites well-seasoned theatre critics to ponder the difficulty in portraying something that cannot be explained, something that has no meaning.
The cast are extremely talented and work together like cogs in a clock. The set changes were simple and effortless; however, had a strong impact. The narrator broke past the fourth wall and took the audience on a journey – a journey through her mind, the writing process and the real and symbolic aspects of the play. She intrigued the audience through her apt delivery and rhetorical questions. The overall pace of the play seemed to be a little inconsistent but it did not draw away from the material that was presented. The use of props and costumes (or lack thereof) was rather interesting and added several layers to the acting and storyline.
Historical plays can often be seen as tedious re-enactments of events which once upon a time startled the human race. However, this play is different. It’s a tragic story that contains little logic and one that remains as mysterious today as the day it happened. This play makes a great attempt at presenting a possible conclusion and explanation to the shootings that occurred in Winnenden on 11 March 2009. It is challenging and though-proving; it’s definitely worth watching.
By Benjamin Samuel
Image courtesy of La Mama