Erich Kästner’s children’s book »Der 35. Mai oder Konrad reitet in die Südsee« (The 35th of May or Conrad’s Ride to the South Seas) (1931) is still enjoyed by readers today, who find themselves transported into strange and magical lands. To kick off the 125th birthday celebrations of the popular Dresden author, choreographer Raphaël Coumes-Marquet and librettist Manfred Weiß have drawn inspiration from Conrad’s crazy adventures to create a thrilling piece of dance-theatre. Underlaid with Gordon Kampe’s lively new score, the work expertly combines song, spoken text and diverse forms of dance. This world premiere is sure to be a unique experience!
Every Thursday, the Dresden pharmacist Ringelhuth picks up his nephew Konrad from school. At home he serves him rather peculiar menus, since he is in fact quite unable to cook. For example, they sometimes have cherry pie with English mustard, or boiled ham with cream, and then they romp through the apartment. On Thursday, May 35, however, everything is a bit different.
First of all, on the way home they meet the former circus horse Kaballo, who can talk. In addition, today Konrad also has to write an essay about the South Seas, although he is actually a math genius and not so interested in creative writing. But it is thanks to this circumstance that Konrad and his uncle experience an adventure that they will probably not forget for the rest of their lives.
The kind Ringelhuth promises to help Konrad with his essay. But before they can get down to work, an unexpected visitor shows up: the mare Kaballo is standing at the door of the apartment, and before they know it, the three of them are immersed in a stimulating conversation about literature. When Kaballo learns of Konrad's writer's block, she suggests they take a trip to the South Seas in order to inspire his imagination. So the trio climb through Ringelhuth's old closet in the hallway, and simply keep on going. Their trip to the South Seas takes Konrad, his uncle, and Kaballo from the hustle and bustle of everyday life in Dresden through the land of Cockaigne to a legendary castle from the past, a place where children are in charge, and the high-tech city of Electropolis. After crossing the equator, they finally reach the idyllic South Seas …