The Influencer

Cyber-Thriller about power and influence

nominated for Kurt Hackenberg-Preis 2018

30. Januar 2020, 20 h, Zeiss Planetarium Bochum - a full dome projection

"And what do you do professionally? Oh, I blog, I'm an influencer"..
Blogging, 6 hours a day, at least. The 100,000 was already a magic number, now NatNike has over 250,000 followers. She is a star, authentic, communicative and she influences her community: what she wears, her subscribers want to buy, what she does, they are interested. And it is profitable: Influencer marketing is booming like no other. Nothing is impossible, people are paid to document their lives for the public via social media. A beautiful new world, if it wouldn't be that meeting of the Big Five, the five largest corporations fighting for world domination. The venue is absolutely secret. No observer allowed. But we managed it! Under-cover we are reporting live from the center of power and the fight of the giants.

THE INFLUENCER is a cyber-thriller about power and influence, a fight of the giants, comparable with the forces of mythological stories. Interwoven with the daily work of a blogger, the play asks questions on the influence of the great global powers, the world corporations that operate hidden in the background. Can NatNike escape the Hate Speeches with her authenticity or will the bashers succeed in penetrating into their real lives?

with: Asta Nechajute/Helena Aljona Kühn
Voices: Oliver Schnelker, Kai Hufnagel, Miriam Pauli, Max Landgrebe, Elmira Bahrami, Patrick Khatami, Mareile Metzner, Ilka Teichmüller, David Fischer
Voices of the Bulgarian cinematic radio play: Ivan Grigorov, Vladislav Violinov, Petko Kamenov, Zoya Shopova, Vasiliya Drebova, Svetlomir Radev, Plamen Dimitrov, Mila Bancheva, Mariela Topalova
Director: Andrea Bleikamp
Concept, Text & Dramaturgy: Rosi Ulrich
Features: Claus Stump | Music/Sound: Sibin Vassilev | Video: Jens Standke | Technics: Jens Kuklik | PR: mechtild tellmann kulturmanagement | Public Relations: neurohr & andrä

PR: 15.11.2018, 20 H / 16.-18.11. / 29.11.-2.12.2018: Orangerie Theater im Volksgarten, Cologne; 29.5. - 1.6. 2019: atelier mobile in Quartier am Hafen, Cologne; 24.8.2019 (as filmic radio play): Kunsthof Galm, Brandenburg, as part of JÄTEN IM PARADIES, 14.9.2019 (as filmic radio play in Bulgarian), Drama Theater, as part of THE NIGHT, Capital of Culture Plovdiv 2019 BG; 23.11.2019, 20-minute excerpt for: Dive, immersive festival, Zeiss Planetarium Bochum; 3.12.2019, 20 h, Zeiss Planetarium Bochum - a full dome projection


Ulrich places the piece on several levels. There is the mythological story of the Golden Fleece, the battle of a few large corporations to become global power, and the individual fate of a girl who only recommends a few "healthy" and "environmentally friendly" products - until she agrees to buy shares. Ulrich doesn't hesitate to discuss the big issues. The concentration of economic power on fewer and fewer corporations, the dwindling influence of the nation states, the privatization of military technology. All play into this, as does the meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, an assembly of powerful people who care for the destiny of the world autocratically and without legitimation.

Director Andrea Bleikamp wants to turn it into a "cyber-thriller" with one person and many voices. Claus Stump will furnish the hall in the Orangery at the Cologne Volksgarten. The grandstand for the audience, which is almost fully occupied at the premiere, is set up at the head end. In the foreground in the middle a table with computer and some utilities that NatNike will recommend. On the left and on the right behind her two hanging bars, which are wrapped with coloured cables. In the background is the projection screen, on which Jens Standke throws the image of the monitor, on which also in the course of the evening the rise and merciless decline of the sympathy excursions are displayed. He also provides the video projection of an imaginary starry sky in which star images are sometimes drawn. Sibin Vassilev is responsible for the music and the elementary sound. Elementary in that Bleikamp only lets the blogger appear on stage and the other voices play in from off. That works excellently. No less than nine voices take over the levels of the corporations that are overheard on the "world stage" or tell the story of Jason and Medea. Exactly that's quite demanding, because you have to constantly listen to people you can't see and assign, but genius in the genre-overture. The detachment and anonymity makes you angry, while on stage the personal fate becomes more and more concrete and pathetic.

Those who believe that at some point a few corporations will have power over us do not think far enough. Because in the end, there is only one power. And that is the private military, which will ultimately ruin the world. That's why it doesn't matter that NatNike, who is portrayed enthusiastically by Asta Nechajute in a natural joy of playing and later despair, stops asking her community to stay - and inconspicuously disappears from the playing field. The off-screen voices are wonderfully selected and very differentiated.

After so many truths, mythological interferences and so little prospect for the future, the audience is tired but enthusiastic after 80 minutes. In all honesty there is an effort to applaud as long as possible. There are follow-up performances and hopefully many invitations to other stages. Because this piece is the most impressive thing that could have been experienced this year.
(Michael S. Zerban in 15.11.2018)

In a virtuosic downward spiral, the plot spins straight into a disaster scenario in which analogies to today's world situation are pointedly and harmoniously brought closer to the viewer. Doubtful corporate deals and practices concerning the control of worldwide food production, artificial intelligence used against humans and nature, risky financial and stock market speculations and the outsourcing of military and security equipment to private hands all seem very familiar. In their cyber-thriller, the makers succeed in packing these complex facts into catchy plot elements, in which the radio play-like starting position is transformed into a haunting theatrical experience not least by Asta Nechajute's intense play.
(Norbert Raffelsiefen in Kölner StadtAnzeiger 29.11.2018)

The shift of the war of the corporations into the acoustic also illustrates their intangible nature. Finally, the parallelization with Jason's theft lends the fight an additional mythological timeless component. A final insight that then makes us wonder.(Hans-Christoph Zimmermann in Choices 12.2018)

text excerpt

Infinite expanses, dark depths and glittering dots in between, that is the sky at night. Far away, inaccessible, the stars shimmer, they move their orbits. This universe above us is a world of its own connected with myths and gods.

And yet: everything human is found in these superhuman vastness. Stories of hate, jealousy and greed. Passion, envy, greed for power, devotion and other very human emotions are not unfamiliar to the gods themselves.

In the schedule of WEHR51, produced 2017 by the, in cooperation with Freihandelszone - ensemblenetzwerk köln

supported by: Ministry of Culture and Science of the State of NRW, Cultural Office of the City of Cologne