Published on Spiegel Online International, by Aaron Wiener, January 20, 2012.
A new musical coming to Berlin turns the euro crisis into an amusing fairy tale, with Hansel and Gretel-like characters and a gingerbread house. But the author says he wants to point out the euro’s weaknesses, and he lays some of the blame for the crisis on Germany. The Germans, he hopes, will have a sense of humor about it all … //
… Do Germans Have a Sense of Humor?
Much of the fault, he says, lies with Germany. “There’s a huge reluctance in Germany to do what it takes to pay the bill,” he says. “And it’s understandable reluctance, but it’s likely to destroy the euro. That’s my fear.”
Shirreff’s critique of Germany’s role comes through in the musical. More than once, the heavy-handed Papa Kohl lets slip that his secret goal is to make Europe more German.
All of this makes taking the play to Germany a risk. “In a way, it’s a test,” Shirreff says. “Can you see the funny side of what’s happening? Do the Germans have a sense of humor? The answer is they do, but” — he chuckles — “if they don’t laugh at my jokes, I’ll be able to say, ‘Well, you see, it’s an uphill struggle.’” And if he passes the test, if German audiences are willing to endure a little ridicule for the sake of theater, might he push his luck and try to take the show elsewhere in the euro zone?
Shirreff says he’s looked into Brussels as a possible venue, though it hasn’t worked out. As for Germany’s troubled southern neighbors, whose profligacy earns them a song in Shirreff’s musical, Shirreff says: “Athens? Maybe not.”
(EuroCrash! will play at the Prime Time Theater in Berlin-Wedding Jan. 24-26 at 8:15 p.m. – and at the Frankfurt House of Finance Jan. 27-29 at 8 p.m.).