A man with a wit of words and pictures

A man with a wit of words and pictures

What distinguishes actor markus veith is his unpretentious way of bringing texts to life with just a few accessories and facial expressions. Wilhelm busch had probably recognized himself.

"Every fool does what he wants." With this gallop through wilhelm busch’s verse, veith gave a guest performance at the frankenwaldtheater in stadtsteinach this weekend. In the one-man play, veith slips into the role of the quirky recluse, who is initially less than thrilled that the public wants to look over his shoulder. Wilhelm busch was a bachelor all his life and was proud not to be dictated to by anyone.

Indulging in tobacco and alcohol as he saw fit was perhaps the ultimate sign of the artistic freedom he needed to create something completely new in his time: caricature – comparable to the gifted draftsman horst janssen, who created a distorted world of images in suff and chaos – quite the opposite of his fellow student vicco von bulow, alias loriot, who calculated the humor of his figures very well.

Loriot’s bulbous-nosed men are nevertheless just like busch’s stories of "max and moritz" becoming an integral part of german cultural history. Wilhelm busch also painted over 1000 oil paintings, but he never showed them to anyone because he thought they were not good enough. Perhaps because he came to the conclusion early on: "you often meet someone who paints pictures, but much more rarely someone who pays for them."

Nevertheless, busch was not a needy artist: he could live very well from his picture stories alone. Markus veith only needs a few, but all the more significant requisites to portray all the diverse characters from busch’s picture stories: palette and brush, an easel, chair, pipe, beer mug and, of course, pen, sharp pencil and notebook. The picture stories are told by veith with full use of his body, sometimes philosophical, sometimes quirky, sometimes bitchy, sometimes whiny, sometimes loudly rumbling.

When veith slams from the edge of the stage onto the parquet, it was not a misstep, but effectively calculated. For example, in the story of balduin bahlamm. The administrative clerk, who, however, has become a "higher feeling called and struggling to be kissed by the muse – bush’s caricature against a supernatural concept of art. Just at the moment when bahlmann wants to put his thoughts on paper, he is interrupted by reality: a flock of larming children, his wife, a loud mooing cow or the village louse boy jorg. And finally, bahlamm suffers true hollen torments from toothache. At least that will be nothing with the poetry.

Painter klecksel" is not to be missed, who takes the bourgeois connoisseur of art to task; the fuss about it, as if works of art that are in themselves free of purpose touched the earth from nirvana – and are not also craftsmanship and skill. In the end, klecksel changes professions and becomes a barkeeper in his home pub.

For almost two hours, markus veith gives an insight into the work and life of the witty humorist wilhelm busch. He plays it without lecturing. There is a lot to smile about, but there are no big laughs. The audience discovers itself behind the rhymes – and thus the self-discovery stifles the laughter for the grin.


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