The new play "Frau Ada Thinks the Unheard-Of" is about the world's first female programmer, Ada Lovelace. It describes Ada's life in two parts: A biographical yet starkly alienated first part, rather dreamlike due to its dialogues and cast, and a realist second part, in which a future is imagined where one of the machines Ada once invented takes over humanity.
The backdrop consists of a semi-translucent curtain that divides the stage in the middle. In the first part, the audience sits on the stands. For the second part, they change sides and sit on low platforms at the back of the stage, on the other side of the curtains.
In order to show the dream-like quality of the first part, Paula Klotzki and Cara Kollmann show only Ada in front of the curtain, while the other three actors, who represent the figures of the mother and two puppets, remain behind the curtain, only visible through their shadows. Whether Ada is talking to real people, whether the events really happened or whether everything is just happening in Ada's head, is left up to the viewer. This blurring of feverish dream and reality is articulated by the shadows on the curtain. To give the audience a feeling for the real Ada Lovelace, however, her life-facts are constantly projected onto the curtain.
In the second, very realist part, where the audience is on the other side of the curtain, the three actors are now on the side of the audience in the roles of three scientists. Ada, now a robot, stands softly illuminated behind the curtain and appears cloudy through the fabric like a dream image. The moment she awakens to independent life, she changes sides of the curtain, steps out of the dream and takes over reality.
Apart from the blurring of dream and reality, the piece also focuses on power relations: In the first part, Ada is dominated by her mother and her many illnesses and has to lie down a lot. The actress sits on the floor for the entire first part. The shadow of the mother behind her is large and threatening. The audience sits in a raised position on the stand and looks down at Ada.
In the second part, Ada takes the form of a robot, the audience becomes subordinate and they sit on low pedestals skimming the floor. The scientists are overpowered by Ada and gradually leave the light cone on stage.
Director: Liss Scholtes
Dramaturgy: Nele Lindemann, Anna Haas
With: Marie-Joelle Blazejewski, Anna Gesa-Raija Lappe, Tom Gramenz, Gunnar Schmidt
Location: Karlsruhe State Theatre
Supervision: Anna Haas, Nele Lindemann, Constanze Fischbeck