Premiere: January the 24th 2004

Last performance: February the 29th 2004

On the 15th floor of the Sokos Hotel Viru, Tallinn

Author and director RICHARD MAXWELL

Translator KATRE KOIT

KARIN LÄTSIM (Estonian Puppet Theatre) and ANU LILLBY

The Von Krahl Theatre meets loneliness in the hotel rooms on the 15-th floor of the Viru Hotel.

I close the door of the hotel room behind me, and the only thing I want, is to feel myself completely alone. There are no candid cameras in the toilet. I checked. Just in case I turn the TV faced to the wall. I turn the lights off. The window is now the one-sided mirror. I can undetectable stare the others in THEIR rooms. Today I am by myself.
Who is still looking at me, if nobody does?

Richard Maxwell staged the “Showcase”, that is written on the theme of solitariness, for the first time about a year ago in New York , the original version is performed by two men. In Tallinn , the “Showcase” is going on simultaneously in three hotel rooms, three versions have been made of the play.

Richard Maxwell, the author and director describes the processes “I work with every performance individually, but at the same time I shall keep track, that all three of them would make a new integration”, and suggests to see all the versions in three nights.

There is room for ten persons per one hotel room during the performance. 

After the show all the theatregoers are welcomed to extend their evening in the newly opened restaurants of the Sokos Hotel Viru, where 25% discount for the dinner is offered on showing the theatre ticket. Restaurant Amarillo on the ground floor of the Hotel serves Mexican food, the newly restored restaurant Mermaid on the first floor flatters with canorous piano music and the new a la carte menu.

/-/ Few theatre artists since the mid-1990s have caused such a stir in Manhattan’s downtown theatre scene as playwright, director, and songwriter Richard Maxwell. Maxwell’s productions have been alternately attacked and praised for their flat acting style and inex press iveness, but there can be little doubt that Maxwell is one of the most innovative theatre artists of his generation. His unique vision has been recognized both nationally and internationally. For his play House, first shown in New York in June 1998, Maxwell was awarded a Village Voice OBIE the following year. His work has also won critical acclaim in Europe where most of his subsequent productions have toured major theatre festivals. Maxwell was also recently invited to direct Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part I at the Brooklyn Academy of Music this fall.

What clearly sets Maxwell’s work apart from most contemporary theatre is its minimalist, formally rigorous and anti-ex press ive style that deliberately runs the risk of being mistaken for heightened amateurism or bad theatre. The settings of Maxwell’s plays are always distinctively American and often suburban, though the geographic locations are rarely specified. There is a documentary quality to Maxwell’s dialogue that is strongly suggestive of unedited transcripts of overheard conversations between ordinary people. The hypernaturalism of the dialogue, however, is not replicated in the staging. Maxwell’s performers tend to render their lines haltingly and without emotional inflection while their movements, gestures, and occasional fight scenes are staged in a stiff, but at the same time, sluggish manner. This deliberate rejection of theatrical mastery is further emphasized by awkward pauses — moments of “non-acting” — that function like the continual background static from which the mundane conversations of the protagonists emerge in the first place. Since his protagonists burst into song from time to time, Maxwell’s plays are in fact musicals, but of a very different kind than the traditional American musical: The singing in Maxwell’s plays is very restrained and formal — and as stylishly “bad” as the acting.

Maxwell’s Showcase is about a businessman who is in town for a conference. Absorbed in conversation with his “shadow” — which appears in his hotel room — the businessman tries to come to terms with his past /-/

Markus Wessendorf


Richard Maxwell


  • S 24. January 00:00


  • S 24. January 00:00