Impulse Theater Festival

Cologne, Mülheim an der Ruhr, Düsseldorf

Save the date: 14–24 June 2020

Great Depressions

Rocky crags, a mammoth, swaths of mist: the opulent stage design transports the audience to the cave in the Neandertal, where the skeleton of an early human was found in 1865. Here a fur-clad actor reveals the vulnerability of his soul in a touching monologue and searches for an answer to the question of whether — and, if yes, then how — we want to live together.

20.06.19 19:00 – 20:10 Tickets


22.06.19 20:00 – 21:10 Tickets



FFT Juta
Language: German with English surtitles

Special on 20.06. after the performance:
Audience discussion in German with the artists and Rüdiger Jähne, advisor to the SKM Bundesverband on working with boys and men. Chaired by: Wilma Renfordt, dramaturg, Impulse Theater Festival

© Jakob Engel
© Jakob Engel
© Jakob Engel

GREAT DEPRESSIONS links the story of the performer Malte Scholz’s personal experience of depression with the historical narrative of the discovery of Neandertal man, who, contrary to previous assumptions, was not an aggressive loner but lived in a caring and solidary community. Scholz expresses his thoughts on a high performance society, depression and masculinity. He searches for the emotion behind a controlled façade. He asks how it is that he is still alive and able to share this evening with the audience. Meanwhile the musician Jacob Bussmann sits at the organ in a mammoth costume singing extremely tender versions of hits from the baroque to the present day.

A show that does not try to be anything more than an individual portrait yet creates an image of universal beauty: here it can be enough for a person simply to be present and to have withstood the rigours of the world.


With: Jacob Bussmann and Malte Scholz plus Elias Bollinger, Špela Mastnak and Sebastian Weygold
Director: Jan Philipp Stange
Stage design: Jakob Engel
Dramaturgy: Kris Merken
Costumes: Maylin Habig
Light design: Simon Möllendorf
Technical director: Nils Wildegans
Music: Jacob Bussmann
Text: Kris Merken, Malte Scholz, Jan Philipp Stange
Assistant stage design: Sean Mullan
Production management: Carmen Salinas
Contact for touring enquiries: Carmen Salinas, salinas[a]


A project by Stange Produktionen supported by studioNAXOS, Kulturamt der Stadt Frankfurt, Kulturfonds Rhein-Main and Naspa Stiftung.


Elias Bollinger trained as a state-approved chorus and ensemble leader and since 2016 has studied percussion at the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Frankfurt am Main. Alongside his classical training, which covers the entire spectrum of percussion, he is very interested in jazz and popular music and the drum set playing that goes with them. He can be seen with the HR Rundfunkorchester and the Neue Philharmonie Frankfurt, among others.

Jacob Bussmann works as a musician and performer. He studied Piano at the Musikhochschule Frankfurt and the Sibelius Akademie in Helsinki and then Applied Theatre Studies in Gießen. He works on theatrical, performative and musical projects in a variety of groupings: in collaboration with Rahel Kesselring he created ‘The Living Theatrograph’ and ‘Sophisticated Songs’ and as part of the company ScriptedReality performances including ‘Macchia’, ‘Unser Arm gegen Uns!’ and ‘Wie wir es wollen’. As a performer and musician Bussmann worked most recently with Friederike Thielmann and Julia Krause, Zaungäste and Caroline Creutzburg.

Jakob Engel studied Fine Art at the HfbK Hamburg and Film at the Kunsthochschule für Medien in Cologne. He works as a stage designer, director, filmmaker and photographer. Engel was awarded scholarships by the BMBF and the HfbK Circle of Friends and is a winner of the LICHTER Art Award. His film works have been exhibited at venues including the Kunsthalle Hamburg.

Siria Celine Ertel studies Cultural Anthropology and Philosophy at the Goethe-Universität Frankfurt. For several years she has been a member of the Youth Club at Schauspiel Frankfurt and active in a company at the Schools’ Theatre Studio. She has completed an internship in scene painting at Stadttheater Ulm and a six-month placement at studioNAXOS in Frankfurt.

Maylin Habig studied Art in the Department of Stage and Costume Design at the Hochschule für Gestaltung in Offenbach and Time and Space Art at the Academy of Fine Arts Helsinki. She lives and works as a freelance artist in Frankfurt, creating stage and costume designs for theatre and performance. She is a member of studioNAXOS and the group of artists Eleganz aus Reflex.

Kris Merken studied Applied Theatre Studies in Gießen. Since 2009 he has worked internationally as a freelance dramaturg with directors such as Boris Nikitin, Anna-Sophie Mahler, Corinne Maier, Zuleikha Chaudhuri and in collaboration with theatre collectives and artists including Monster Truck, SKART, Infinite Souls and Mithu Sen. In 2015 he was awarded a scholarship to the KHOJ International Artists Association Residency in New Delhi, and in 2016 the Goethe-Institut Bangalore’s bangaloREsidency. He is currently working with Malte Scholz on the project ‘How my father transformed into a cyborg’.

Simon Möllendorf is a freelance director and lighting designer and a co-founder of studioNAXOS, where he has premiered his own works since 2014. After graduating from high school he worked in films and studied Theology, Philosophy and Theatre Studies in Berlin and Vienna before switching to the directing course at the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Frankfurt am Main. Since 2013 he has devised stage performances with young people in interdisciplinary projects that are part of their cultural education.

Carmen Salinas is a freelance production manager and dramaturg. She studied Art History at the Universitat de Barcelona and Dramaturgy at the Goethe Universität in Frankfurt. In 2018 she took part in the Association of Independent Theatre Venues’ Academy for Performing Arts Producers. She has worked for various institutions and companies in Frankfurt (Tanzplattform Rhein-Main, Ensemble Modern) and for theatremakers such as Felix Kracke, Simon Möllendorf, ravvina/veit and Caroline Creutzburg gearbeitet. She has worked together with Jan Philipp Stange since 2017.

Malte Scholz is a freelance writer, speaker and actor. He studied Theatre, Film and Media Studies in Frankfurt and Applied Theatre Studies in Gießen. His principal interest is in the grey zone where the biographical, the sexual and fiction merge. His last production ‘Production of a False Sermon on Death’ (together with Boris Nikitin) was presented at Staatstheater Nürnberg. Their previous productions ‘Woyzeck’, ‘F is for Fake’ and ‘Martin Luther Propaganda Play’ were presented at the Impulse Theater Festival and numerous other festivals in Europe and beyond. ‘Great Depressions’ is his first collaboration with Jan Philipp Stange.

Jan Philipp Stange is a director, writer and performer. He studied Literature, Philosophy, Directing and Theatre Studies. His productions operate around a theatre of failure. In 2014 he co-founded studioNAXOS in Frankfurt, and has been part of its Leading Team ever since. His most recent productions include ‘Combina’, an adaptation of Bertolt Brecht’s ‘Messingkauf’ (2015, Ringlokschuppen Ruhr), ‘Daily News’ (2016, studioNAXOS), the operetta ‘Blue Mask’ (2017, Theater Osnabrück), the spacewalk ‘All in All’ (2017, Künstlerhaus Mousonturm, Frankfurt) and ‘The Weather’ (2018, Thalia Theater, Hamburg).