When I read “Magic Mountain” for the second time I was struck by the following message: “Time goes by quickly here…” thought Hans Castorp out loud.
“Quickly, or slowly. Depends what you want.” replied Joachim. “It doesn’t really go by at all. It’s not time, and it’s not life. A lot happens in a year these days, so many changes down there in the world. So many advancements… and I’m rotting away up here, like rancid water in a dirty puddle…” These words were echoing in my mind when I learned that one of the participants of our theatre workshops in the past went back to drugs after thirteen successful years of sobriety, completing education and getting a good job. I felt totally helpless but I wanted to do something anyway. This is how I got an idea to weave these two stories together and create a performance inspired by fiction and life. This idea worked very well for our show and contributed to conveying a new and powerful message.
SCRIPT OF THE PLAY by Grodzki Junior Theatre, Bielsko-Biała, Poland
Thomas Mann – Magic Mountain and A Few Facts from M’s Life – a true story
M was 13 when he started getting high. An only child, raised with no father. He ended up in a halfway house, but ran away after a few days.
The main character in “Magic Mountain” – Hans Castorp, is 23 as our story begins. He has just finished university, is an engineer, and he wants to build ships. Before he begins his new job in the shipyard, he travels to a renowned health spa in Davos to visit his cousin Joachim, who is undergoing long-term treatment. He goes for 3 weeks, but stays in the mountains 7 years…
M decided he needed treatment after all. In the centre he found his passion. He decided to become a journalist. He got through high school, and got a place at university easily. He really does have talent.
New environment, university, adult life. M is doing really well. His first successful articles, and a diploma. He’s a journalist. What now? He’s offered a job. He’s writing, and travelling the world. He feels successful.
“Time goes by quickly here…” thought Hans Castorp out loud.
“Quickly, or slowly. Depends what you want.” replied Joachim. “It doesn’t really go by at all. It’s not time, and it’s not life. A lot happens in a year these days, so many changes down there in the world. So many advancements… and I’m rotting away up here, like rancid water in a dirty puddle…”
A year later, and M is getting high again. He lasts a few months, then ends up in detox. One hospital, another hospital, yet another .. An unsuccessful visit to rehab.. Still partying. He loses his job. Now another rehab – he’s been there a month. How long will he manage this time?
Magic Mountain is a story – a work of fiction. M’s story is real, and ongoing.
You can listen to the script: