HOLLYWOOD – Film composer Hans Zimmer, Director Werner Herzog and actor Christoph Waltz have debuted their long in production mystery project Der Kaiser von Mäusen (The Emperor of Mice) at a Hollywood Kindergarten.
The project is a concept musical for children using groundbreaking audience participation techniques, live interactive film-making and most controversial of all, the marshaling of a real army of white mice. We spoke to a visibly moved Christoph Waltz after the first performance.
So Christoph, that was…powerful. How did you think it went down with the audience?
It was electrifying! the buzz was palpable. I’m so jacked on the vibe right now, I could go again.
So where did the idea for this project come from?
Every German child has the same dream every night, the dream of Der Kaiser von Mäusen. It’s just not something we talk about. So this was an experiment to see how an American audience would react to it, and to see if we could perform a kind of cultural exorcism using these sweet children as a conduit to expunge His Majesty from our collective psyche. I think it worked particularly well, considering the mice chose their new Emperor and gave to him by way of blood magic their obedience. There was just a great feeling in the room.
That was a powerful moment, when you stand naked in front of the children and demand they chose a champion to sway the vermin hoard, lest they be consumed by tiny teeth.
YES! YES! The whole piece builds to that moment. It’s a movement symphony and the kids will either fall in line with the dark undulations of the evocation or they won’t, it’s the thrill of live theater/cultural exorcism.
And some bitchin’ synth from Zimmer too!
We used some artistic license there; in the dream, all is roaring and wailing in the face of the terrible truth of Der Kaiser von Mäusen!
Could you explain Herzog’s role? I was a bit confused as to what was happening.
I thought it was obvious! he bears witness to the rising of the new Emperor. The black bag over his head symbolizes the ‘dream eye’, all seeing yet in the dark. He films the event blind to better get to the truth.
So what happens now to the child who has been chosen as Der Kaiser von Mäusen? Does the kid get to take his army of mice home?
He must now tour with us and be tested by each performance. If he is truly Der Kaiser von Mäusen he will be re-born night after night until every German child is freed of the dream. That’s the hope. The show will run and run.
Der Kaiser von Mäusen will tour until every child in America has taken part in the evocation of the Furry Lord.