"Dschabber" by Marcus Youssef: The question of the "veil thing"

By Susanne Zobl

“That’s called the Taliban, isn’t it?” Marcus Youssef leaves open in “Jabber” whether Jonas means the question about Fatima’s hijab seriously and really wants to find out more about the “veil thing” or is just looking for a conversation. In his entertaining piece, the native Canadian, son of an Egyptian father and an American mother, looks at the headscarf issue from different perspectives.

Anja Sczilinski shows it with young people from the studio ensemble of the Burgtheater in the vestibule. Fatima, a teenage Muslim, is played by three actresses. At her school, Fatima formed “Dschabber” with her colleagues, a community of opinions that says yes to the headscarf. When graffiti threatening Muslims is discovered on the school wall, the parents worry about Fatima’s safety and send her to another school. There she meets Jonas. The two get closer.

Youssuf illuminates the cosmos of the young people in brief scenes and brilliantly juxtaposes two cultures in just 70 minutes. On the one hand that of the strictly protected Fatima, on the other that of Jonas, who acts as an inattentive nuisance in class and doesn’t even shy away from Holocaust jokes. It soon becomes clear that he is acting this way out of desperation, because his father was sentenced to three years in prison for being a violent offender.

The young ensemble (Miram Bahri, Lukas Coleselli, Jihen Djemai, Kevin Koller, Emilia Mihellyes, Johanna Singer), complemented by Dunja Sowinetz as a resolute, friendly teacher, acts excellently on Peter N. Schultze’s dark stage. Bastian Häfner’s translation impresses with its rhythm and authenticity. It is a joy how precisely these young people deal with the text. That has a pull effect.

Dates: June 20th and 21st

Leave a Reply