An opera

read the libretto English original version. (the libretto in German)

Collapsonomics set

Collapsonomics press photos

The background:
Can government fix a broken economy? Two great economists disagreed eighty years ago, and their debate dominates politics to this day.
As we consider all of the great economic and financial issues facing the West today – tax rates, the role of the state, deficit spending versus austerity measures, sovereign debt, monopolies, the money supply, and so on – we see how our thinking about them was moulded by these two giant protagonists, and are still being fought out within the parameters that they set in the Twenties and Thirties.
As the stock market crash of 1929 plunged the world into turmoil, two men emerged with competing claims on how to restore balance to economies gone awry. John Maynard Keynes, the mercurial Cambridge economist, believed that government had a duty to spend when others would not. He met his opposite in a little-known Austrian economics professor, Friedrich Hayek, who considered attempts to intervene both pointless and potentially dangerous. The battle lines thus drawn, Keynesian economics would dominate for decades and coincide with an era of unprecedented prosperity, but conservative economists and political leaders would eventually embrace and execute Hayek’s contrary vision.
The last financial crisis brought Keynes back into the discussion. The Tea Party seems to bring Hayek again. It is a case of economic musical chairs.

The show:
It’s the BBC program – HARDtalk
The stage is made to look like a TV studio. The interview is filmed in front of a live audience.
A simple three chairs arrangement is the main set-up; the moderator sits in the middle, the guests to his left and right. A small coffee table is positioned in-front of them.

The moderator/presenter is Tony Major; a fast talking, no-nonsense jerk.
The guest to his right is F.A. Hayek. A professor of economy and a Nobel Prize winner.
The guest to his left is J.M. Keynes. A professor of economy.

In the background we see a video screen with the Dictionary Scrutinizer – a singing oracle that erases words out of the dictionary/language. The Dictionary Scrutinizer controls the proceeding in the studio without being there physically. (It is the invisible hand of the market.)

Before HARDtalk starts we hear the Dictionary Scrutinizer.

Dictionary Scrutinizer:
Good evening ladies and gentlemen
the good citizens of our global shopping mall
this is the Dictionary Scrutinizer
tonight we get rid of the word
there is no recession, no
re, re, re, re, cession
so, put on your weekend outfit
and go out hopping into shopping…



Friedrich August Hayek: Alexander Mayr
John Maynard Keynes: Jeannie Mayr
Tony Major: Anna Mendelssohn
Dictionary Scrutinizer: Irene Coticchio
Set: Andreas Strauss
Music by Michael Strohmann
Written and directed by Yosi Wanunu
Produced by Kornelia Kilga