Plays & Performances

MASS & FIEBER / Mass & Fieber OST

Since 1999, MASS & FIEBER has produced nine plays plus various open air performances and musical evenings. Their work is made possible by the generous support coming from various Swiss cultural institutes, private sponsors and foundations. Shows are usually produced in Zürich and then go on tour. Their work has also been commissioned by two World Exhibitions and the steirischer herbst festival in Graz.

The most ambitious and widely received project to date was Tell/Zahhak, a cooperation with Don Quixote collective from Tehran on national myths, heroes and tyrants, developped over three years time, shown at the "500 Jahre Tellspiele Altdorf 2012" celebration and, subsequently, at Theater Spektakel Zürich, Theater an der Sihl Zürich and Fajr Festival Tehran 2013, where it won the award for "best international direction"

In 2011, Mass & Fieber OST, a German franchise of MASS & FIEBER was founded. Mass & Fieber OSTs first production was  Fall Out Girl for Theaterhaus Jena in 2012, which toured extensively through Germany and Switzerland and then went on to win the Thüringen theatre prize. The group, which is made up in part by the same persons creating the shows for MASS & FIEBER, received the grant Doppelpass from the German government which allowed a continuing working relationship with Theaterhaus Jena over a period of two years. The Doppelpass project Black Face Jena led to intense research on vaudeville, variety and dime museums on the one hand, and the city of Jena as a source of inspiration for vaudeville-like shows on the other hand. The result were the two productions Black Face: The Villa (a dime museum installation in an old villa in Jena) in 2013 and The Black Comet (a variety show on the stage of Theaterhaus Jena) in 2014.

In 2106 Mass & Fieber and Mass & Fieber OST joined forces for a concert event  James Bomb. Nasim Ahmadpour from Tehran, Iran, contributed song texts. The concert was realized in 2016 and played until 2017. An album was produced and published on BANDCAMP.

Works by MASS & FIEBER / MASS & FIEBER OST in chronological order

James Bomb - the Concert. M&F and M&F OST, 2016/17. Wishing to join the two branches of MASS & FIEBER for a joint performance and also to work again with our Iranian theatre colleagues, JAMES BOMB was planned as a two step production, 1. The Concert, and 2. The Show. The Concert was realized and played in 2016/17. The Show, despite encouraging interest from several stages and festivals, was postponed owing to lack of finances. We’ve got an album out:  James Bomb live @ Bogen F on BANDCAMP.

 Sturm in Patumbah M&F 2015, produced with Heimatschutzzentrum in der Villa Patumbah for Festspiele Zürich 2016, was the second "Villa" parcours play by Mass & Fieber, this time produced in a Zürich villa and offering five different paths for spectators. Taking-off-point was Shakespeares’s "The Tempest", which was used as back story of a not-so-fictional Swiss family-owned trading company. Prospero, Miranda, Ferdinand and Gonzalo are shown decades after their return to their (Swiss) homeland. Caliban and Ariel have accompanied them, and and now all their relatives stand in front of the gates... Meanwhile, Miranda has decided to be completely open about the slave-owning past of the family.– A time-shifting performance balanced between Shakespeare, postcolonial studies, and Prosperos vision for a future world. With accompanying programs (walks through colonial zürich, a day-long conference with young academics working on post-colonial themes in Switzerland). VIDEO from the SHOW HERE.

Der schwarze Komet (The Black Comet) M&F OST, 2014, produced with Theaterhaus Jena, is a variety show that provides a sequel for several of the characters that already appear in "Black Face: The Villa"; however, while the dime museum installation in the villa concentrated on characters and stories from the beginning of the 20th century, "The Black Comet" takes a giant leap into a time after the fall of the Berlin Wall, lets director Samuel Meyer disappear after having murdered his faithless girlfriend, and puts Gustav Schott, theater policeman and ex-informer for the state, in his place as head of the company.Big acclaim at the opening, can be enjoyed without any prior knowledge. VIDEO-TRAILER HERE.

Black Face: Die Villa, M&F OST 2013, was the first production in Mass & Fieber OSTs cooperation with Theaterhaus Jena under the umbrella of the government grant "Doppelpass". In a villa turned cultural center by the city of Jena,our company installed a "dime museum" with cabinets and characters from Fatty Arbuckle and mechanical dancing girls to Friedrich Nietzsche (who was in a mental hospital in Jena) and the zoologist Ernst Haeckel. Under guidance of director Samuel Meyer and his variety actors, the spectators were lead through the villa in six separate paths, experiencing similar, but never the same scenes in various cabinets and larger rooms; many viewers came a second or third time in an attempt to see all there was to see in the villa (on account of external logistics, the show was only shown 8 times, meaning that the acclaim for tickets could only partially be met). VIDEO-TRAILER HERE.

Tell/Zahhak, M&F 2012. In 2012, following a preparation period of three years, Mass & Fieber joined forces with the Tehran theatre collective Don Quixote for "Tell/Zahhak", an exchange of myths. The show was commissioned by 500 Jahre Tellspiele Altdorf for the celebration of Wilhelm Tell plays in Switzerland. For this play, Don Quixote brought a version of Schillers Wilhelm Tell on stage, Mass & Fieber a version of Ferdowsis story of the blacksmith Kaveh in his fight against the demon Zahhak. Actors from both groups played in both parts, while during a third part, the audience left their seats to stroll through the installation "garden of heroes" that contained a large panorama wall connecting mountains from Switzerland and Iran, pictures and information on heroes from both groups, and a list of questions on the nature of heroes, read by Iranian and Swiss actors. They were also invited to play a hero card game with the actors, listen to more stories from Shahname, and hear Swiss mountain myths told with the Iranian pre-cinema storytelling device Shahre Farang. The event was widely celebrated in the national and international press, radio and television. It played 10 times in Altdorf and 4 times at the Zürich Theater Spektakel. It was shown at the Fadjr Festival in Tehran in January 2013 and in Zürich, Theater der Künste, in February 2013. TV-REPORT IN ENGLISH HERE.

Fall Out Girl, M&F OST 2012. In 2011, Mass & Fieber OST, the German subsidary of Mass & Fieber, was founded in Hamburg. Its first play,"Fall Out Girl" a radioactive roadshow about nuclear waste, mutants and the future of mankind, opened in March 2012 the Theaterhaus Jena and won the Thüringen Theatre prize and the Audience prize at the Avant Art Festival in Weimar. It has since played over 30 times in Zürich, Baden, Hamburg, Berlin, Mülheim, Oldenburg, Dresden, Erlangen and with further shows planned for 2013. See the VIDEO TRAILER.

Geld und Gott (Money and God) M&F 2010. In summer of 2010, Mass & Fieber came out with "Geld und Gott", a superhero-comedy after Dante. The play opened to packed audiences at the Theater Spektakel Zürich and was well received by spectators and critics alike. It was invited to play in Mülheim, Hamburg, Jena, Bern, Altdorf, with further options in the wings. VIDEO-TRAILER HERE.

In the summer of 2008, Mass & Fieber developed the performance The Garden of Animals for the Zentrum Paul Klee in Bern, "mad colonial teaparty", Safari booklet with riddles and croquet on the lawn included. The Museum of Natural History in Bern contributed a stuffed elefant, a flamingo, a komodowaran and several mounted exotic horns. The performance lasted 4 hours, was played 4 times and repeated at the Theaterspektakel in Zürich.

At the Theaterspektakel Zürich 2008, the group also showed their mockumentary Wilde Detektive, a musical evening with many original songs from previous productions that gives the answer to Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Free Theatre But Were Afraid to Ask.

The Black Chamber, M&F 2008, is a gothic opera on civil war which opened in Bern at the Schlachthaus Theatre. The ghost story about a young man in the clutches of three witches iwas shown at festivals and theatres in Germany, Switzerland and Austria. An english language Dossier on the show can be downloaded here. See the VIDEO-TRAILER FROM ART-TV.

Houdini (the last liberation), M&F 2006, was produced in and with the rock’n’roll club and former vaudeville house Mascotte in Zürich. The show included real and mysterious magic tricks, Jack Bauer, mexican wrestling and enforced disappearances and played in many cities until the end of 2007. More english language material on the show can be downloaded here.

In January 2005, the group opened with a play commissioned by the Basel City Theatre on the pharma industry. „King Placebo" covered the range, musically and otherwise, from the Basel death dance to the pharma-empire of the Queen of Saba who eventually performs a moving duet with King Placebo. However, disaster lurks in the wings.

Autodrom, M&F 2003, was a theatrical expedition into life with cars, which experimented with Händel and surround sounds and ended in the future; conceived for a large space, it was shown in Basel, Hamburg, Frankfurt and Cologne. A short VIDEO-IMPRESSION HERE.

2002/2003 Mass & Fieber took part in the hotel-installation Bad Hotel at Theaterhaus Gessnerallee Zürch as the occupants of the Villain-Room and with the performance "Sleepers" in the Ancestor's Room. Bad Hotel was conceived and coordinated by Mass & Fieber's Dirk Thiele and Brigitte Helbling and was one of the largest and certainly the most successful cooperation of musicians, actors and artists that Zürich has ever seen.

Red Cross Over, M&F 2002. In 2002, Mass & Fieber was invited by the Swiss Expo 02 to produce a play for the „Arteplage du Jura", a boat-installation that toured four lakes during the Exposition. The result was "Red Cross Over", a show on Switzerland, Neutrality and the ICRC, which ended with the actors jumping into the lake - an instant crowd pleaser. The play got excellent reviews from the national newspapers as well as critical acclaim from various delegates and officials from the ICRC.

Krazy Kat, M&F 2001, was Mass & Fieber's third music-theatre-event. The show opened in 2001 at the Theaterhaus Gessnerallee in Zürich and toured in, among other places, Bern, Basel, Berlin, Cologne and Hamburg. Both Bambifikation and Krazy Kat have been produced as radio plays by the Deutschland Radio.

Präriepriester, M&F 2000, a pocket-sized Western-play featuring the group's first arrangement of original country songs, was produced in Hamburg and Zürich for Theaterhaus Gessnerallee Zürich and Kampnagel Hamburg and toured in cities in Switzerland and Germany. Präriepriester was invited to the Festival Theaterformen in Hanover and provoked the interest of the steirischer herbst festival in Graz, which led to a spin-off of the production, The Dead Cowboys Radio Show, which was shown both in Graz and at the Expo in Hanover. A short VIDEO-IMPRESSION HERE.

Bambifikation, M&F 1999, a theatrical Rock-Show for two musicians and one actress, was produced in Zürich in cooperation with Winkelwiese Theatre and won instant acclaim as an underground cult event. Bambifikation then toured through Switzerland and Germany and won both the festival award and the audience award at the Impulse Theatre Festival in Germany, as well as the Förderpreis at the Bodensee Theatre Festival in Switzerland.