Festival of International New Drama 2018
From 6 to 22 April
Between 6 and 22 April 2018 the Festival International New Drama (FIND) at the Schaubühne will be showcasing outstanding new texts and productions from all over the world. All of the productions are coming to Berlin for the first time. There are established theatremakers whose previous work was shown at the Schaubühne, as well as numerous new discoveries. Many of the invited productions are concerned with forgetting, and attempt to develop or question an »Art of Forgetting«. The starting point is the utopian desire to overcome personal or societal traumas by intentionally blurring the individual or collective memory. But humanity’s old dream of healing through forgetting, through drinking from the waters of the Lethe, quickly degenerates into a nightmare scenario. The suppression of the past leads to the inadvertent reopening of old wounds and the loss of personal and cultural identity. The institutionalised forgetting intended to assist forgiving and the restoration of peace − the amnesty −, swiftly becomes a carte blanche for impunity and injustice, for the repression and even denial of crimes, leading to a collective amnesia. On the sociopolitical level in the era of neoliberalism, a cynically practised »Art of Forgetting« also leads to the elimination of entire demographic groups from the public discourse: an army of »the forgotten« who believe their only chance to regain attention lies in following right-wing populists on their paths to triumph. Many of the FIND programme productions counter this »Art of Forgetting « − which is as seductive as it is illusory − by making the theatre an arena of remembering: a place where suppressed conflicts erupt − and, by doing so, can perhaps indicate a way to overcome them.
In »Ibsen Huis« (Amsterdam), Simon Stone takes the universe of a single family, based on Ibsen’s characters and situations, and their holiday home − which at the same time becomes an allegory of an entire society constructed on repression and cover-up − and portrays a cosmos based on the deliberate ignorance of truth and reality, both on an individual and collective level. An art of forgetting in the guise of sham existences à la Ibsen which merely manages to achieve the opposite: the painful reopening of only superficially invisible wounds. In »Saïgon« (Valence/Ho-Chi-Minh-City), Caroline Guiela Nguyen pursues the attempt by Vietnamese exiles in France to cope with their trauma − and the ensuing cultural forgetting and personal loss of identity. In »La Despedida« (Bogotá), the Mapo Teatro group demonstrates the extent to which the peace process with the FARC guerrillas, and its associated bilateral amnesty, is actually serving as a vehicle for a communal amnesia intended to wipe out the entire memory of a once revolutionarily utopian idea. In their first appearance in Germany, the Teatro La María group’s farce »El Hotel« (Santiago de Chile) is set in an Alzheimer’s care clinic for former members of the military junta and caricatures the equally cynical and hypocritical culture of forgetting that is smugly taking hold amongst those responsible for the torture and death of tens of thousands of the »disappeared« during the Pinochet dictatorship. In »Evel Knievel contra Macbeth na terra do finado Humberto« (Montpellier/Madrid) Rodrigo García breathes new life into the Shakespearean usurper and his tragedy about the impossibility of forgetting one’s own crimes and the prophesies of fate, and relocates it to northeastern Brazil. He returns in the guise of Orson Welles, whose role as Macbeth has made him forget his real self, and who is now attempting to hide any trace of his real identity with the help of the Greek orators Demosthenes and Lysias as well as the Japanese Manga dragon Neronga. In »Inflammation du verbe vivre« (Paris), the Lebanese-Canadian writer, director and performer Wajdi Mouawad travels in the footsteps of Odysseus across the waters of forgetting − the River Lethe − to Hades to rediscover Philoctetes who, upon Odysseus’ instigation, is the deliberately forgotten hero of the Trojan War. He ends up, however, in the economic crisis of contemporary Greece where he encounters the buried memories of his own life and of a society driven by forgetting. In »KIND OF« (Haifa/Berlin), Ofira Henig and her Israeli, Palestinian and German actors trace the deformations bequeathed already in childhood by an education system that concentrates on the exclusion and suppression of social realities and, in doing so, has rendered an entire generation and demographic group »forgotten«. In »Qué haré yo con esta espada« (Madrid/Tokio) Angélica Liddell draws on real events and experiences – the cannibalistic 1981 Paris murder of Renée Hartevelt by fellow student Issei Sagawa and the Paris attacks of November 2015 – in order to explore the effects of traumatic violence: how they can be transformed into art, a metaphoric form of cannibalistic digestion.
Two productions from the Schaubühne repertoire are also included in the programme: »LENIN«, Milo Rau’s portrait of the revolutionary leader stricken with memory loss by a series of strokes; and »Returning to Reims«, Thomas Ostermeier’s adaption of the book by Didier Eribon about the working class, sidelined from social discourse, and his previously suppressed own membership of it.
The international visitors notably include around 80 FIND plus workshop programme students from Germany, France, Portugal and the USA who have the opportunity to participate in FIND. Masterclasses, workshops and panel discussions with the festival’s artists and audiences create a dialogue between the theatre makers of today and tomorrow.