Dirk Stermann embarks on a solo stint for the first time with a new nightclub “Get Together”. Instead of the usual formation with Christoph Griezmann, with whom he directs the weekly talk show “Hello Austria”, he will be alone on the stage of Vienna’s Rabinhof Theater for its premiere on Wednesday (October 12). As in the novel “Maxim” published this year, the focus is on the qualities of the father – this time against the background of his daughter’s wedding.
APA: What do you expect from the new program Together?
Dirk Sterman: The wish is for it to be a funny show, even though it’s very tragic.
APA: Your novel “Maksym” is about Dirk Sterman as well. Are Dirk Steerman in the book and Dirk Steerman in the cabaret the same person?
Stermann: Dirk Stermann in the cabaret is a harder version of Dirk Stermann in the book, but the book and the program are related. The book is about the young son, on stage talking about the eldest daughter and the individual’s account of the role of the father. But like a fantasy. Of course I was an incredibly good father, but Dirk Sterman wasn’t onstage either.
APA: What kind of father was he?
Sternman: He was a very selfish and vain father. Less likable than I am in real life, because I personally am a very likable person (laughs). The guy on the stage is a little desperate, he has a little thing. That evening, it becomes clear why he gave a wedding speech but was not even invited to the wedding.
APA: So you introduce yourself with negative aspects in the book as in the cabaret, why did you decide to do that?
Sternman: I’ve always struggled with the fact that people who are out in public present themselves very well. These people are kind of Photoshopping their own lives. I have always been interested in those who portray themselves poorly, perhaps even worse than they actually are. Even when we started on the radio, at Ö3, everyone there was always acting like they were cool, lively guys. We have always said that we are old, terrible, rich – I found it interesting to assign unpleasant characteristics to ourselves.
APA: Is it important now to take up the role of father?
Sternman: The book is a pamphlet about paternity. On stage, being a dad doesn’t seem like a great thing. As a person, I’ve always been a fan of having kids.
APA: Were you a modern father yourself?
Sternman: It really can’t be that way. My father was not a modern father. I don’t know where you got this from. But for me, spending time with a child is not a consideration, but an instinct. My father didn’t have that instinct. I didn’t have a recent picture of men, but I had to learn to cook and I thought it was a good idea to do it. My dad used to make only fried eggs. Very bad and always burnt out.
APA: “Maksym,” created before the Ukraine war, is about a rude Ukrainian babysitter. Are Ukrainians still in a stereotypical situation to this day?
Sternman: Yes, you can. My impression of him is vulgar. Before the war, Ukrainians were depicted as East Europeans with a bull’s neck. The book is actually about: Don’t judge a book by its cover. It’s the same with Maxim – it’s what it looks like, but it’s also different. At the same time, he has a kind of toxic masculinity that you no longer have, which I also do not have. But in a way it has an appeal to convey a different image of men: to be straightforward, to decide, and to hold an ax in one’s hand.
APA: Why did you decide to play cabaret without Christophe Griezmann?
Sternman: Because you earn twice that amount. not funny). Because now it’s time to do something on your own on stage. It’s not entirely clear to me – and that’s also an attraction – whether I like it or not. I might miss someone all the time. But it’s also possible that I really love him because he doesn’t constantly interrupt me.
APA: Do you feel the need to stand out from the “Stermann & Grissemann” brand?
Sternman: When you start out, you have no concept of time and you think you’re young anyway. However, at some point, you realize that life is racing, and sometimes we end up in a double grave. I feel like I want to fight for my one and only grave.
APA: How is your relationship?
Sternman: Good. I respect him a lot and he is someone who can surprise me – on stage as well as on TV, in every direction.
APA: Hello Austria has been in business for 15 years. Do you see anything new on the show?
Sternman: Actually, it’s always new. First week after week after week because you never know what’s going to happen. The good thing about the show is that things can always happen and surprise us all. It is psychologically demanding, because in some way there is a desire for something to happen. I’m always very tired after that. Then I come home as if I had worked eight hours or a week.
APA: Still nervous about a new program?
Sternman: Yes, there is. I claim that the program is fun and interesting, and that it is well worth spending the money on. This statement always makes me feel a little embarrassed. Only when I do it a few times and see that people like it do I relax and it starts to be fun. I’m not in vain enough to say that everything I do is great. I have to convince myself of that first.
(Interview conducted by Inas Jarhir / APA)
(About the person: Dirk Steermann was born in Duisburg in 1965 and has lived in Vienna since 1987. He has worked for the ORF since 1988. With Christoph Grissmann he formed the satirical duo “Stermann & Grissemann”, and they led the conversation together in 2010, Stermann published His first novel, Six Austrians Among the Top Five, and his Maxim was published this year.)
(Service – Premiere of Dirk Stermann’s “Together” on October 12 at Vienna’s Rabinhof Theater,)