12.2 C
Monday, March 20, 2023

Altenberger: “You couldn’t complain about your hair anymore, I had sagging tits”

Must read

- Advertisement -

Image: Peter Mueller
- Advertisement -

On March 9th, the Salzburg resident will present “stars under the city” in an OÖN film night in Linz (more below).

OÖ Nachrichten: The character of Caro, who you embody in “Stars under the City”, is seriously ill with cancer and is facing death. To what extent does such a role arouse your fear of confronting finiteness? Or better respect?

- Advertisement -

Verena Altenberger: My approach to acting is that we then tell a story in a meaningful way so that it can move something in other people, trigger understanding and empathy once we have understood it really well. I think you can work that out. I had never had anything to do with drugs before “The Best of All Worlds”. But with other stories you don’t necessarily have to because they are very close to you. It was the same for me when it came to cancer, my mom died of it. I almost waited or hoped for a screenplay that would allow me to tell a story like this – about dying and above all about the great fear of it.

From what perspective?
Not necessarily from Caro’s, but against the background of what you notice when a loved one dies and fights a year-long battle. Not without, as you said, having a lot of respect for the role.

Would it be a misunderstanding of your profession to ask whether you were able to work through something else?
Basically, “processing” is not a term I would use to describe it, because our job is not therapy. But I also think that if you think about which stories you can tell well from an artistic point of view, then these are the ones that you have penetrated. And these are often stories from which one has already taken a step back. If you are still stuck in a singular feeling, you are not necessarily in a position to be able to tell about it well. The matter should already be worked up in a form.

You shaved your head bald for the film shoot, which led to many discussions in your first season as a paramour as to whether the paramour should look so “unfeminine”. If you knew that impersonating an illness was behind it, it was okay. Do you see a double standard behind this?
Yes totally. I wasn’t even remotely ill myself. I was very surprised that it was taken as such a provocation. And I found it so ridiculous that in so many interviews I had to say, “I played cancer, that’s why I’m bald.” Then it was fine again. The fact that I needed her for a film was somehow reassuring. But if I wore the bald head just because I liked it, then it would have been a problem.

Were there any positive reactions?
What pleased me the most were the e-mails I received from the festival and my agency from bald women who sent me selfies from the auditorium of “Jedermann” and wrote something like: When the paramour has a bald head , then I can sit in the audience without a wig. That was the most important thing for me. Because my mom was like that too…

To what extent are experiences similar here?
Mom had cancer, she was struggling with this shit, with chemo, with how incredibly bad it is physically, and with the massive fear of death that makes you so lonely because nobody can understand it like the person who is in affected at this moment. That, in addition to all that, you still have to struggle with the fact that you no longer feel feminine and people look at you in the street… That’s why my mum always wore wigs, which always annoyed her because they itch and you sweat under them. I always thought to myself: If only she would dare without. She was so beautiful with a bald head, she looked like a fairy. And that’s why it was so nice for me that women dared to do without the wig.

As an actress and as a person, what did you take away from the Salzburg Festival experience?
It was a fantastic, beautiful time. I was so happy there for two summers – on stage, among my colleagues and all around. As an artist, I felt like I was allowed to grow.

Were there moments when it became too much for you?
Yes, I can remember a moment in the first and second summer when I broke down. The first time because of the hair debate. Now I can look at the postings and letters about it and laugh when someone wrote: It’s not God’s will and it’s ugly. But the moment you read something like that, it just hurts. You can’t push that so far away that it doesn’t hit you for at least a brief moment. And when it comes to this…

What was the trigger that finally tipped you over?
I had the feeling that we had achieved so much artistically and changed the piece and its reception a bit. I was proud of what we accomplished in the woman-man narrative, which was new for the first time. And then so many people got upset about my hair. It was so banal, and this banality disturbed and saddened me. I thought to myself: Please stop talking about my hair, don’t you see what we’re doing here – isn’t this something much bigger, nicer and more amazing?

What was second year?
About eight days before the premiere, my grandmother fell into a coma. My dad, my sister and I sat by her hospital bed every day and night because the word was that she could die at any moment and we didn’t want to leave her alone. I only left the hospital for the dress rehearsals and then I came back, we also stayed in the hospital overnight. It’s been a tough time.

How did you feel on stage?
I was absolutely happy there, I felt good and I knew what we were doing was right. Still, it was a heavy burden. Then, on the day of the premiere, a photo of me from a press event appeared, and when I looked at my cell phone, there were about a hundred reactions to this photo before I turned it off. They couldn’t fault the hair anymore, then I had saggy tits. There was also a photo where I’m sitting a little hunched over, and there my stomach wrinkled, like everyone else’s when you sit like that. I was criticized for having a fat stomach. I had eaten almost nothing the days before because I was only rehearsing and at grandma’s.

Who was dying at the time…
You fight on so many levels, and on the day of the premiere it just became too much for me. I sat in the dressing room and just cried. I was hurt, sad and angry. But then Bettina Hering came (drama director, note) and was just nice to me, built me ​​up and said: You’re great and you can do it all. Then we stood on stage and everything was fine. For me, the film set and the stage are places of absolute safety – I can forget every email, my own life. Realizing that was healing for me. I have given myself a huge gift with my job.

You are still active on social media. Does the positive feedback prevail?
It really outweighs the odds a hundredfold, and maybe that’s even an understatement. Unfortunately, as is so often the case in life, you get countless positive responses, and what can you remember? To the one nasty. But you can work on how to deal with it. Ultimately, for me, social media are places of networking that lead me to interesting people and – the way I use it – a platform for positive and encouraging exchange, also with my fans, who give me feedback, which is always interesting for me. And I don’t want to miss that.

OÖN film night with Verena Altenberger in Linz
On March 9th (6.30 p.m.) Verena Altenberger will present her film in person at an OÖN film night in the Moviemento Linz, tickets and information: www.moviemento.at,
Card Tel. 0732 /78 40 90 She will stop by the Freistadt cinema on March 9 after the projection (film start: 8 p.m.) for a film talk. www.kino-freistadt.at, Tel. 07942/777 11
“Stars Under the City” is a wonderfully romantic, bittersweet love tragedy (director: Chris Raiber) with Altenberger and Thomas Prenn (“Hochwald”, “Große Freiheit”), which magically unfolds in the Vienna underground and is told imaginatively, including snow in summer . Theatrical release: Friday 3 March

more from culture

Alex Pointer on Dancing Stars appearance: “What are you doing there?”

Daughters who dared to do something

In memory of Peter Weibel: “Today we have amateurs everywhere”

Paul Pizzera and his “Creative Tuscher”

: Nachrichten

- Advertisement -


More articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisement -

Latest article