Archiv der Tränen

Archive of Tears

(Archiv der Tränen)


variable cast, min. 2F / 2M

A dark archive room, its walls piled high with exhibits that are nothing less than a documentation of human emotion: tears, in every form imaginable. They are preserved here as liquid, dried as salt, processed as text, audio or sound. Among these treasures sits an old archivist, who has long since become part of the room. She has devoted her whole life to the tears. Together with her colleague Fiume, she tries – with the utmost passion and meticulousness – to combat the transience of crying. She busies herself with mysterious equipment, tear centrifuges, conveyor belt machines and vials, trying to record this deeply emotional impulse and preserve it for posterity. The archive becomes a space of remembrance in which everything that has existed lives on, and is constantly added to – since more and more visitors come to deposit their own tears. But the archivist also has to come to terms with incompleteness, with the fact that a single exhibit can never bear adequate witness to the stories around its edges, that some things will never be more than intuitions. Until the flood of tears becomes almost impossible to contain, and the archive itself starts to speak.

Magdalena Schrefel invents a fantastical cosmos with a life of its own, full of contradictions: the shelves are overflowing with tears and yet never sufficiently full, the silence is almost magical, and yet everything that is collected here speaks. The only thing that comes to a standstill in this archive is time itself – thereby opening up an almost eternal space of narration.

World Premiere
03.02.2023 Residenztheater (Marstall) München (Regie: Elsa-Sophie Jach)

Commissioned by Residenztheater München

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