The ruthless Zeus has her on her conscience too – this Harvey Weinstein of Olympus, this divine primal woman wearer and abuser. He once hired the nymph Echo to tell his wife Hera stories and thus distract her when he went to other women’s laundry. Hera found out about him, of course, but the victim of Zeus’ attacks was Echo: Hera robbed her of her voice so that she could no longer beguile anyone with her engaging stories. From then on, Echo could only parrot the last words that someone addressed to her.
Until the poet Jan Wagner took pity on her. In his radio play Echo. burlesque the nymph finds her voice again – laboriously and only very gradually, hesitantly groping, often getting muddled, promising. But it turns out to be a speech. How terrible the time when her own language dried up and her name became a synonym for the stale echo of what others said and thought: “I can’t remember the words anymore. Syllables lose like change.”
Eventually only sounds. This radio play, which Leonhard Koppelmann staged and to which Sven-Ingo Koch contributed his compositions, also begins with a ripple of water, a rumble of thunder and a whisper of the wind. Together with the author Jan Wagner, a well-known radio play trio.
At some point, Echo will be able to complain and bicker, fight and reject again
The cast is also a trio: Maren Eggert, Lou Strenger and Bettina Engelhardt “stutter long at the sound”, as it says at one point. Echo is once disparaged as a stuttering aunt and stammerer. But both the low self-esteem of the nymph and the ridicule of others about her fail to recognize the power and sense of poetry, the love of language and the awareness of the sophistication of meaning and tonality with which someone here regains interpretive sovereignty.
Eggert, Strenger and Engelhardt play it in a very delicate, finely balanced and yet determined way, their voices become an organic part of the very musical and noise-affine staging, part of a holistic composition. And at some point, Echo regained enough expression to be able to complain and bicker, fight and rebuke. She loves Narcissus, but as is well known, he only loves himself. But can’t say anything here, it only exists in Echo’s memories. So she turns the tables, is again the one who determines where the stories develop.
Whether her longing for Narcissus will be fulfilled, meanwhile, is another question. Jan Wagner does not answer them in Echo. burlesque, he doesn’t even hint at a happy ending. But the fact that Echo no longer has to please others makes it seem at least possible that she can win what she hopes for. In any case, as you can see in the course of this story, she has learned one thing: to be calculating. Especially regarding guys.
Echo. burlesqueDLF, March 18, 2023, 8:05 p.m.