Monster Truck

Photo Florian Krauss
Photo Florian Krauss


Made for Love tells us of the tragic love story of a shampoo bottle and a milk carton. When mankind has vanished from this earth, only our things remain and continue the customs they have learned. Love and hate, sex and violence. But can shampoo and milk even form a bond of romantic love? Will a new Aphrodite be born from their foam? Or will things remain as an eternal misunderstanding at this recyclables trash dump in nowhereland? A relationship drama in between education about commodity aesthetics, romantic infatuation and the longing for the inner heart of the doubly-coated packaging.

Jury Statement, Alexander Kerlin "Favoriten" Theater Festival 2016


A young man, a performer, shuffles onto the stage – equipped with nothing but a broom, a step ladder, a tub full of glue and various large sheets of printed photographic paper. In the middle of the stage his adversary for the next 60 minutes is already waiting: a black billboard proclaiming one of advertising history’s greatest strokes of genius to the audience: “JUST DO IT.” This is accompanied by the post-metal and bleak-y hardcore band “ABEST”’s uplifting overtures’ reverberations.
What follows is probably the world’s most often-told story in between “Romeo and Juliet” and modern Hollywood cinema: girl meets boy. The protagonists on this picture story’s perfectly-lit advertising stage, picture by picture dutifully and accurately plastered onto the background by the increasingly sweat-soaked performer – those two protagonists are two product containers (and rather famous ones), each of them filled with liquids necessary for survival – but that is where the similarities end. On one side the blue- white milk carton, deep in the mountains: the man, the cuddly bear mascot, the jaunty Alps dude. On the other side the pink shampoo bottle with printed flowing hair, luxuriating in the waves lapping at the shore, who seems to look at us to say “Look how pretty I am!” On the one side the provider, on the other the hygiene. Can this end well? Five pictures are enough for MONSTERTRUCK to tell this most famous of all tragic romance stories. This is him. This is her. This is where they meet and fall in love. This is where they sleep together. This is where they die. At the end of the 60-minute drama the containers start to leak, are dented and old, their best-case scenario a trip to the recycle bin. And the bear mascot lies dead in the Dove-white foam which, in the tragic critical moment, spilled across the dead ex-lover too late. This mundane tragedy of products in late-stage capitalism, this eternal tragedy of gender relations. The play uses the bizarre question of how products can LOVE as a springboard to unobtrusively, humorously and nearly en passant introduce other topics: which images of masculinity and femininity are cemented by the advertising industry? How are the “Imagospheres” of commercialized life attitudes orchestrated around these products? How do pictures speak to us? How do they manipulate us? What is the relationship between metaphors of nature, sexuality and consumerism? Why do products always promise us a gain in love? Why does it have to be this over-the- top?
Using a thoroughly innovative device MADE FOR LOVE proposes a way to comment on the flood of images from social media critically and with relish on stage. The play is like a message from the other side of the internet. It brings to mind that unbearable feeling during the early days of the web when images still had to load for many agonizing minutes before you could gaze upon them. MADE FOR LOVE is a great poem about the world of products, the brilliance of their designers and the wisdom of copywriters. Monstertruck execute their idea with great precision and without detours, humorously, rhythmically and with spatial accuracy. Nourishing for both mind and heart!

Lisa Kerlin: "Milk Carton meets Shampoo Bottle" Theater der Zeit

“Made for Love” was the title of the unusual evening presented by Monster Truck, an evening without words where images spoke. When mankind is no more, it’s the things that carry on the tales and rituals they watched as elements of human life. We witness the romantic tragedy unfolding between a shampoo bottle and a milk bag. Layer by layer (and with a lot of glue) the performer Mark Schröppel applies the bizarre pictures of this photographic love story on a billboard. After the romantic climax (“Nights in White Satin”), however, all ends in tragedy and death for both bag and bottle – and the bear mascot of the Baerenmarke brand is buried under a hill of foam. But the distinctly referenced simple Boy-Meets- Girl storyline can’t hide the fact that there is more at stake here: the advertising industry’s methods of manipulation as well as role models of masculinity and femininity.

Georg Kasch: "A Poem About the World of Products", MoPo April 2017

Can true romance nowadays only still be found in the world of advertising? In Monster Truck’s “Made for Love” that is true. Because that is where a milk carton and a shampoo bottle fall in love – both products of rather famous German brands. But, just like in “Romeo and Juliet”, young love cannot last forever. A jealous rival strikes both of them dead. In the end they lie next to each other, joined only by their leaking liquids: milk and shampoo, white and foamy, pouring into each other.
The group of Monster Truck, founded in the German city of Gießen and now long-time resident of Berlin, belongs to that part of performance artists that are always good for a surprise. Constantly pushing at the boundaries of what constitutes theatre, they have made artists with Down’s syndrome directors, turned various social groups into actors and declared productions of opera and ice hockey games readymades. In “Made for Love” which recently celebrated its premiere in Berlin they are asking just who is actually acting here. And what romance is: a feeling? An epoch? A product? First on stage in the Sophiensäle are the three members of a hipster band, coolly blasting the audience with deafening hard rock. Then Mark Schröppel enters with his little cart and starts lathering glue onto the large green billboard which proclaims “Just do it”. Schröppel is a minstrel of wordless murder ballads, who bodily suffers from exhaustion through the events he tells with the help of pictures – five advertising posters reveal the tragic love story of the milk carton and the shampoo bottle. Again and again he slips on the glue, desperately he tries to pull the sheets flush with each other; a clown against his will, he fights against gravity with an intensity that is heartbreaking. And against the audience’s feeling of secret glee that they don’t have to suffer through this sticky ordeal.
As is often the case with Monster Truck, one has to be patient and give the slow pace of the narrative a chance, accept the dramatic schism between hard rock and the leisurely pace of the scenes. Yet slowly but surely over 60 minutes the tension builds, broken only by occasional laughter and leading up to a climax as surprising as it is dramatic – a pointe that no soap opera could have presented with more heartbreak, which exposes the true romance of products as romance simply being a product and yet still moves us. At the last Favoriten-Festival in Dortmund, Monster Truck won one of the three main prizes, the Jury’s verdict reading: “’Made For Love’ is a great poem about the world of products, the brilliance of their designers and the wisdom of their copywriters. Nourishing for both mind and heart.” How true.