What’s brewing with… Christina Scherrer
“I want to set a sign with what I do”
Christina Scherrer works in film – Tatort, various series formats, short films – plays theater in the independent scene and at larger theaters, sings, writes, has (had) a band project and was just on the road with a critical revue with Richard Schuberth and Jelena Poprzan very politically – an amazing portfolio and an unusual range of movement in Austria.
You are on the road in very different universes. How does it work, when you move in such different worlds // scenes // genres?
I’ve had a bit of luck, I’ve rushed through the various genres in the exclusion process, only to find again and again that the combination of music, singing and acting suits me best – until I got a whiff of film air and don’t want to miss this work anymore. My first engagements were in the independent scene, in between I had play contracts at larger theaters early on and realized: I probably can’t work permanently at one theater if I want to do something else besides it, so it’s always remained this nice mishmash.
How did you get into theater?
There’s a nice photo of me standing on stage as a seven-year-old playing Karl Valentin’s “The Birdcatcher”. That was my introduction to the stage, so to speak. The day after my Matura I had my first entrance exam, at the Max Reinhardt Seminar, then at the Vienna Conservatory and then two months later in Graz, where I was accepted. The university was great for me and I was lucky enough to play externally at the Schauspielhaus Graz already in my second year. A few professors didn’t like that, but I thought: That’s great if I can already gain practical experience. Because as soon as you get out of the protected bubble of your studies, reality gives you a good …kick. You think you’re a finished “state actress” and you realize, you don’t really have any idea about practice, labor law or contracts, let alone how to write a fee note. I think we as students have been insufficiently prepared for the real world and its various working environments – a compulsory subject for all these things should be mandatory at all universities.
What role does Smart play in your diverse career field?
Smart came into play through my many and often changing employment relations. In the beginning it was a complete chaos: first I was (forced to be) self-employed, then employed, if not enough orders came in, I had to register as unemployed, then I was employed again, then self-employed, and at some point nobody knew what to do anymore. Unfortunately, the Austrian social security system has not yet developed any structures that can offer freelance artists a secure basis for their work. That’s where Smart comes in: Everything I do as a freelancer can be handled by Smart, and I can decide whether to work for Smart from the beginning of the job to the end of the month, or just for two weeks.
And then you got into film?
Well, it didn’t happen that quickly. At the beginning, the engagements were still too few to be able to make a living out of them. In film, you’re usually only employed on a daily base. If you’re lucky, you get five shooting days, for example, and they hire you for the period in which those five shooting days fell. So of course it’s difficult to get longer periods of employment together. That’s why I’m not “just” in film.
What is the work “behind the scenes” of the crime scene like? And: even though you “only” shoot for days at a time, does something like an ensemble feeling develop?
It all takes time to grow together. From project to project, the collaboration develops and at the same time the character develops and becomes richer in facets. Every character in the main cast has gone through a development with Moritz and Bibi over the years. That’s the beauty of a series format, that you’re allowed to grow with it.
How does the completely different facet of your current project, a radical political revue with Richard Schubert and Jelena Poprzan, fit in?
I think it’s a logical “accidental consequence” of my colorful resume. I appreciate Jelena as a rebel in her genre – and I also see myself a bit as a rebel in my genre. I want to set a sign with what I do. Of course, I also want to entertain and get people to go to theater, watch a movie, have fun with it; but also to go out and think: maybe I can change something in our world, actively help shape it.
Finally, a look into the future: what do you have planned next?
On the one hand, there is the filming of a new Viennese crime scene directed by Katharina Mückstein and, on the other hand, the preparations for a concert program entitled “Tatort Oper”. The great Stefan Potzmann has rearranged great opera movements for a nonet (a nine-piece classical orchestra) – the “Ensemble minui”. I got into the game via the “Tatort” title of the project. Between the musical pieces I will tell a crime story enriched with exciting facets of some characters from the operas Rusalka, La Boheme or Eugene Onegin. The premiere will probably be on September 16, 2023 in the Radiokulturhaus, large broadcasting hall. And then we will take it on a small concert tour to Germany in the spring of 2024. I’m really looking forward to it.
Interview: Sabine Kock.