Phase one was a season of Theatre, Literature and Discussions about East and West Germany in the year leading up to the 20th anniversary of the unification of Germany (3rd of October 1990), during which we are looking back on 60 years of the Federal Republic of Germany, 40 years of the German Democratic Republic and the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.
With this year of anniversaries comes a wave of new work and dialogue regarding the past and present of both German states and their reunification. Terminology is tricky, opinions vary widely and emotions run high due to the manifold perspectives when dealing with life on either side of the wall and afterwards.
We will take a close look at how Germany came to be divided, how society evolved in the East and in the West, which political and economic forces led to the dissolution of the border between the two states, as well as the developments in the last 20 years.
All in all we promise a deep insight into the complicated history of the two German states at the heart of the cold war and the chance to enjoy the highest quality of contemporary German culture—brand new material and the work of former generations interpreted by today’s German and English theatre makers working in the UK.
Saturday, January 30th 2010, 1pm
This is a practical introduction for directors, performers and other practitioners into Heiner Müller’s understanding of history and his treatment of it in his dense and poetic texts.
Saturday, January 30th 2010, 3pm
A Live & Sound Installation of texts by Heiner Müller
Directed by Lydia Ziemke, Sound by Owen Lasch
Several lesser known texts by Heiner Müller are presented with recorded and live voices interacting. The texts are bitterly funny accounts of conditions in East Germany after the war and into the years leading up to the building of the so-called »anti-fascist safety wall« (the wall). They are chosen for their challenging dialectic thought, which exposes the discrepancy between moral principles and the necessities of real life.
Saturday, January 30th 2010, 5pm
Edited and staged by Irving Wardle and Helena Kaut-Howson
Kurt Tucholsky (1890-1935) was described by one fellow-writer as »a little Berliner man trying to stop a catastrophe with a typewriter.« He was an all-round journalist, and editor of Berlin’s leading left-wing weekly, die Weltbühne. As a savage critic of German militarism, old and new, he saw it all coming before falling silent in exile and committing suicide in 1935. Not content with three journalistic pseudonyms, Tucholsky had a fourth and hugely productive alter ego—Theobald Tiger—a poet and writer of satirical and lyrical verses, put to music by himself or composers such as Fritz Hollaender, Richard Heymann and Hanns Eisler. The songs tell the story of his times and the perennial experience of solitude in a big city at a time when things are changing for the worse. They also make you laugh.
First performed at Arcola Theatre January 2010.
Sunday, January 31st 2010, 2pm, £5
A Workshop Performance
Based on the novel adaptation by Andrea Koschwitz and Robert Talheim.
Directed by Zoë Svendsen
Music composed by Dario Palermo
Performed by Lucy Ellinson and Finlay Robertson
1961. On a trip to Berlin, a West German photographer falls for a nurse from the East. Not long after, the Wall is built. Forced apart by politics, their brief affair grows into something neither can quite let go of… Uwe Johnson’s tale offers a laconic antidote to the mythologizing of love—and history—with its finely-drawn portrait of two incompatible systems and a single fragmented cityscape of isolation and desire.
A work-in-progress, with two performers and real-time electronic composition, exploring the interrelationship between the spoken word and music as a structuring principle. Followed by a short discussion with the performers and creative team.
Sunday, January 31st 2010, 3.30pm, £5
By Anne Rabe (winner of the Kleist-Scholarship 2008)
Translated by Philip Thorne, Directed by Lydia Ziemke
A family in close-up. Everything takes place in their flat, their living room even, in a typical East German concrete high-rise block in Rostock-Lichtenhagen. In this confined space Micha, who is making a film about his family, in order to get into film school, unwittingly uncovers a lot and forces the family to make decisions as to how to remember their past. The time is some years after the fall of the Wall, his father was a Stasi informant, his pregnant sister has been kicked out of university and his best friend is a Neo-Nazi. In fact it may be that Micha was himself part of that famous arson attack on the asylum seekers home in 1992—the Sunflowerhouse.
This is a play about growing up and facing the consequences of one’s actions, as well as a study of individual and collective memory. Looking at the reality of the different generations of a regular family in the wake of Germany’s reunification, the play does not embrace any of the customary nostalgia. This compact three-hander is a powerful portrait of the first post-unification generation.
Sunday, January 31st 2010, 5pm
Discussion on the occasion of the Booklaunch of Karen Leeder,
New College, Oxford
Memories and views on the separated and unified Germany,
through the media of theatre, literature and academic thought
A panel discussion examining the circumstances of the separation and re-unification of Germany and the effects of this event on Europe and the world. It also adresses the discrepancy between the reality of everyday life in the GDR and the subsequently constructed memory and nostalgia.
The panel will be made up of the academics included in the volume to be launched and theatre practitioners involved in the season, with special guests Anne Rabe, author of Sunflower House, and the German Ambassador to London.
There will also be a temporary bookstore with salient publications as well as a photo-exhibition and music throughout the weekend.
Ein Abend mit Ruby
Join The Ruby Dolls for a provocative night of Cabaret. Featuring the music of Weill, Hollaender and Eisler and the spirit of Weimar glamour, you’ll never forget your night with Ruby…
The Ruby Dolls are a close-part harmony group who combine songs of the 30’s, 40’s and beyond with elegant choreography, to bring you their high-class vintage Cabaret act. If you like your harmonies in heels, the Ruby Dolls are waiting to entertain you!
Booklaunch: Karen Leeder, New College, Oxford
A publication made up of a series of Seminars given in the first few months of 2009, the year of the 20th anniversary of the Fall of the Wall. Its focus lies on the everyday lives of people before, during and after the Fall of the Wall and Unification.
Authors apart from Karen Leeder:
Lyn Marven, Hans Kundnani, Peter Thompson, Timothy Garton-Ash, Wolfgang Emmerich, T.J.Reed, Katrin Kohl, Georgina Paul, Chloe Paver, Daniela Berghahn, Jan-Werner Müller
in the Press