Before the premiere: “His interest is blood” – “Macbeth” by Florian Köhler in the portrait

Completely inadequate comparison: Florian Köhler was pregnant with his “Macbeth” longer than the calf-calf elephant cow. The latter matures after 22 months. The premiere in Graz, directed by Stephan Rottkamp, ​​was originally scheduled for March 2020. Today it is finally happening, 26 months later than planned.

The role is a programmed climax in the career of Florian Köhler. He is 37 years old, the right age for Macbeth. Using the example of a Scottish general who murdered his king in the middle of his career to crown himself, Shakespeare tells a story of murder and witchcraft, unscrupulousness, seduction, over-ambition and a void of guilt. For centuries, the character, and with it the art, has been considered so amazing and even cursed that theater people in Anglo-Saxon countries prefer not to pronounce its name: they call it ‘Scottish art’. And even Köhler calls Macbeth “Scot” when he talks about him. After the mandatory pandemic hiatus and five premier postponements, you are entitled to a bit of good old theatrical superstition, especially with a character who ultimately loses everything, wife, power, life: “Then the Scotsman realizes there’s a little shit in the universe in the middle of a lot of nothing.” Says Köhler.

He has already played in a play once: Banko, a friend who was murdered by Macbeth and who appears to him as a ghost. It was in 2009, his first year in Graz. And it’s still there. In a theater that has been unusual for a long time: an actor fresh out of school (Reinhardt’s seminary), who stays in his first home for so long. Anna Badora brought him. Primarily for small roles in small pieces; Ego brake for the ambitious young mime. On the other hand: it allowed him to develop in the team. Badora’s successor, Iris Laufenberg, saw his true potential and soon gave him “hard, big, big roles” including the title role in Werner Schwab’s “Faust :: My Rib Cage: My Helmet.” “Then I realized,” says Köhler, “that I could lift such a mountain of text.”

Later, plays such as “Der Zauberberg”, “Vernon Subutex” and of course “Heldenplatz” appeared, in which Köhler was nominated by Nestroy as Frau Zittel in 2020. This is not the only reason he has long been the alpha in the team. Linguistic virtuosity, stage presence, plasticine facial expressions: in his best roles, Köhler harnesses this in captivatingly charismatic, expressive performances. It’s hard work: “I have to cut through my head, sharpen my inner images, understand the character, its motives and thoughts. No matter how complicated it is, ”he says. “Without thinking about it sharply and precisely, I just pretend. Only after breaking it can I really show it off. “

“Heldenplatz” by Thomas Bernhard: Florian Köhler as the hostess of Zittel (here with Raphel Muff)
© Karelly Lamprecht

Removing the text from the body paper: there was indeed an awakening in his biography. Born in Göttingen and raised in Trieben in Upper Styria, Köhler was preparing to study at the Academy of Fine Arts in a shared apartment in Vienna. When his roommate and later Graz teammate Claudius Körber, a student at Reinhardt Seminary, asked him for a text query, “suddenly the letters disappeared from the newspaper and came out of my mouth in the situation.”

Graphic studies were history, Köhler played improvisational theater with Karl Wozek, read the Reclam brochure every day, looked “completely obsessed” with new art every day, and pushed his way to the Burgtheater and Volkstheater in an additional role after others – from director stars such as Breth and Ku (s) ej, but also to take a closer look at the acting styles of stage stars: “How do Beglau, Moretti, Maertens, Bechtolf, Kirchner do it?” The audience in Graz has seen Köhler do this for 13 years. In the next season, director Laufenberg will move to Berlin. She leaves open the question of whether Köhler, his wife and three sons will follow her: he could imagine playing in Berlin, he says, “but Graz is a great city. And now it’s all speculation. “

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