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Horror theater at an unknown location: “Relics”

Unfortunately, it is not only tourists who are unaware that the city of Cologne has the largest independent theater scene in Germany; most Cologne residents themselves are also unaware of this. It's a shame, but that's exactly why we feel obliged to provide a little information and make recommendations. "Relics" is the title of a unique horror theater performance that took place in the middle of Cologne's old town in May '24, almost unnoticed by the hectic tourist crowds. But the audience doesn't initially know where this room, or more precisely the rooms, are. The event description states that the performance is supposed to be scary in places. Reason enough for us to set out to test this experience for you. Unfortunately, we only found out about this very late, so this fun is now only reserved for those of you who decide at the last minute. Nevertheless, we think it's definitely worth it!



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Not for claustrophobics


The meeting point for this extraordinary theatre experience , before heading into a nearby basement with dark, cramped rooms, is the Cardinal Frings Memorial on Laurenzplatz, right next to the Cologne Citizens' Centre in the old town. But have no fear, the horror of this horror theatre does not lie in the bureaucracy of the city administration. Although the apocalyptic scenario , about which we do not want to give too much away here, does have something to do with administration and political mistakes. It thus combines fiction with reality, unites the past, present and future and reminds the audience of a topic that may seem distant these days, but also reminds them that there is still a huge, unsolved problem that will continue to preoccupy humanity for a long time to come.



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Horror meets research


Now, through the collaboration between the FreAkademy and the Nö Theater, something has developed in this production that is truly unparalleled. Horror theater is fun, of course people like to get scared. And of course you also expect the "shallow" horror factors, fictional stories that conjure up a dark mood paired with surprise elements that make your heart sink. And that is always nice. Nicolas Folz has dedicated himself to horror theater and performance art, out of love for the special atmosphere that the genres offer. But the influence of the Nö Theater cannot be overlooked in this production.


Anyone who doesn't know the Nö Theater , but is interested in politics and likes to go to the theater, should definitely keep an eye on the troupe around founder and director Janosch Roloff . And the Nö Theater is also highly recommended to everyone else. Why? It's simple: The ensemble has made a name for itself with profound in-house productions that address the political issues of our time. Researched down to the smallest detail, confronting the audience with verifiable, uncomfortable truths , held to the measure of reason and humanity, so that after leaving the plays you keep shaking your head and wondering why people are not able to

To act according to Kant’s maxim: “Do not do to others what you do not want done to yourself.”



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Multiple awards – rain of prizes for the Nö Theater


Of course, there is room for debate about Kant, because it is evident that Kant did not live up to his own maxim either. For example, consider his attitude towards homosexuals, whom he would have liked to see castrated. And in doing so, he went further than the usual homophobic demands of his time. But that does not diminish his message in any way in today's understanding. The Nö Theater has already shown in many productions how citizens, the state or their organizations have violated the maxim. Plays such as "The Case of Oury Jalloh", "V for the Protection of the Constitution" or "The Hannibal Complex" are impressive works that have also led to various awards . Janosch Roloff has received the coveted Cologne Theater Prize several times, as well as the well-known Kurt Hackenberg Prize for political theater .



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Excellent voices and remarkable bodywork


And of course we cannot and do not want to ignore the actors. The young actors impress with their wonderfully trained voices , which skillfully fill the room and are clearly understandable to the audience even when the tones are quiet. And of course, in a performance like this we also have to deal with abstract elements, with jumps between different roles, which are wonderfully implemented by both actors and actresses and which elicit appreciation from the audience for so much physical control and perception . And of course the director deserves respect here too! It's just a shame that the ensemble cannot receive the well-deserved applause because of the sudden ending.


Conclusion: Come back in quickly!


Unfortunately, the play is almost over, so we recommend that you quickly grab a ticket for the last performances this weekend (May 17-19) . And otherwise: just follow the Nö-Theater or the FreAkademy and look forward to what other projects will follow soon. And for those who would like a theater tip soon, we can also highly recommend the Ensemble Integral , who will soon be premiering "Contra Spem Spero", a tribute to Lesja Ukrajinka, a Ukrainian poet. It goes without saying that the name Ensemble Integral is no coincidence. We hope you enjoy the diversity of Cologne's independent theater scene and of course we look forward to welcoming you on one of our entertaining brewery tours !


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