The day after the American election in 2016, the Nobel Prize-winning Austrian author Elfriede Jelinek began to write a play inspired by President Trump's surprising victory. The result was ‘Am Königsweg ’.
Jelinek is best known as the author of the novel ‘The Playing Teacher’ ('Die Klavierspielerin') from 1983, which inspired the 2001 film ‘The Piano Teacher’ by Michael Haneke. Jelinek's Nobel Prize in 2004 was awarded for her︱“musical stream of voices and counter-voices in novels and plays that with extraordinary linguistic zeal reveals the absurdity of society's clichés and their submissive power, "it read in the Swedish Academy statement. And just that, is also characteristic of Jelinek's untraditional plays; her linguistic amok, can almost best be understood as currents of thought - A bombardment of words without indications of who is speaking or where we are. It is reminiscent of the throng of thought in our own heads, where the self fragmented, and voices leap forth and speak to one or from oneself. When watching one of Jelineks plays one must accept that one does not have a chance to stop and go back to try that understand, and instead pick their own meanings out of the total mass.
The same is true of the KING OF THE PEOPLE (Am Königsweg), which is a fierce rage over the political, economic and cultural forces that have brought us an unprecedented - and for many, unimaginable - crisis situation for modern democracy. Mythical figures, taken from Greek mythology and Shakespeare, mingle with pop cultural references and run together through the voices that speak︱The new King, his followers and opponents, the blind seers and the sighted blind. Trump is never mentioned by name, but the narrative outlines an undisciplined, unusual monarch created by obscene wealth, a non-stop media circus, and with a remarkable talent for megalomaniacal statements about their own abilities. Draw your own conclusions.