“5000 Love Letters” allow one to listen to letters written by lovers of every age over the course of one hundred years. At a bar one can choose from twelve hours of declarations of love, parting words or secret messages arranged on fifty cassettes.
The project was first produced in 2004 by Mats Staub and designer Barbara Pulli at the Theater Neumarkt in Zürich – the letters came from the ‘Zürich Love Letter Archive’ an unpublished academic collection of over 5000 love letters.
In February 2005 Mats Staub and Svetlana Marchenko developed a Russian version in St. Petersburg that subsequently toured to Moscow, Novgorod and Ekaterinburg.
For the Wiener Festwochen 2006 love letters were collected from all over Austria, recorded by 84 speakers and presented in five coffee houses in Vienna during the Wiener Festwochen.
“The letters offer the broadest possible picture of what love is, show that it is not exclusive to one age group and illustrate the troubles it often has to overcome to survive.
The St. Petersburg Times, 15.02.2005
“The project 5000 Love Letters that began in Zürich, continued in Moscow and has now arrived in Austria is essentially a piece of investigative research into the history of mental attitudes, whose highlights are presented in artistically-processed form. It offers insights into how our understanding of love has changed emotionally, erotically and sexually over the course of one hundred years and how intimate with each other people might then and may now become through language.”
Wiener Zeitung, 17.05.2006
“The sentences flow or stick in your throat, your pen… The world is seen afresh, reinvented along with the words to describe it regardless of the fact that letters have acquired a different status in the age of the telephone, e-mail and texting. The team has edited together ten hours of love stories and anyone who fails to recognize any part of themselves in the hells and heavens of these completely normal people has never been in love.”
Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 14.02.2004
Vienna, Wiener Festwochen, May 2006
Winterthur, Museum Lindengut, March 2006
Bern, Museum für Kommunikation, February 2006
Lucerne, Luzerner Theater, December 2005
Ekaterinburg, Festival Na Grani, September 2005
Novgorod, Zar-Skazka Festival, April 2005
Moscow, Teatr.Doc, March 2005
St. Petersburg, Baltijski Dom, February 2005
Wohlen, Festival WortArten, September 2004
Solothurn, Solothurner Literaturtage, May 2004
Zurich, Theater Neumarkt, February 2004
Concept, Dramaturgy: Mats Staub
Concept, Design: Barbara Pulli
Colaboration (St. Petersburg): Svetlana Marchenko
Dramaturgy, Casting (Vienna): Elisabeth Schack
Assistant Dramaturg, Transcription: Ana Latsanich
Dramaturgy and Production Intern: Susanne Pirker
Production Manager: Celestine Kubelka
Assistant Production Manager: Nora Wolloch
Transcription Gothic Script: Eva Gutmann, Josef Handzel
Sound Supervisor: Ernst Zettl, Uli Guggenberger, Volker Werner, Florian Widhalm, Hans Wagner, Ulrich Treutwein