Festival International New Drama 2021
»Counterimage and Counterpower«
From 29 September until 10 October

A very warm welcome to the 20th Festival International New Drama! We are inviting you to experience outstanding new works by dramatists from five countries and two continents which will be shown in Berlin for the first time.

To our great regret, the festival had to be cancelled at short notice in spring 2020 due to the pandemic. We are therefore all the more delighted to be able to present some of the works announced for last year at this year’s festival instead. Of course, our programme also includes new productions as well as panel discussions which complete the current festival edition. Taking the associative theme of »Counterimage and Counterpower«, the festival focuses on productions whose content and aesthetics seek to break prevailing power structures and question and subvert them from the margins. The plays will uncover society’s blind spots and provide a space for images and narratives that are all too frequently suppressed and erased from social discourse. Simultaneously, the works will reflect on the position of their own art form — the theatre — as a place of confrontation with images and counterimages, with power and counterpower.

Artist in Focus:
beginning with this edition of FIND, we are dedicating a focus to a significant figure in international theatre. In 2021, our inaugural focus is on Angélica Liddell. The Spanish playwright, director and performer’s unique work is visually inspired by Western painting and draws on the tradition of the Spanish surrealists, Artaud’s Theatre of Cruelty and 20th century countercultures. As an artist, Liddell connects a wide range of rebellious thinking from Diderot to Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Hawthorne, Genet, Foucault and her own razor-sharp analysis of contemporary society. In addition to the performances and for the entire duration of the festival, we will be hosting online screenings of groundbreaking productions from the artist’s earlier work. In her latest production »Liebestod« Liddell combines Richard Wagner’s myth and music with the story of the legendary revolutionary bullfighter Juan Belmonte. Conjuring up love and death, she thus continues her search for the sublime in tragedy. Her play criticises a present that is increasingly losing touch with spirituality and transcendence in favour of a seemingly well-meaning culture that focuses on reconciliation and consensus. In »The Scarlet Letter«, Angélica Liddell immerses herself in the universe of a dystopian society that is hostile to art and is constructed of disparate elements including the puritanism of 19th century America — the setting of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s eponymous novel — and the dictatorship in Ray Bradbury’s »Fahrenheit 451«. This society is symbolic of a present in which art and philosophy are stigmatised in a manner similar to the way in which adultery was treated by Puritanism. And yet those branded with the scarlet »A« — then for »Adulteress«, now for »Artist« — have the potential to break free from the totalitarian structure.

»Outside« by Kirill Serebrennikov (Moscow), who, in spite of being under years-long house arrest in Russia, has impressively managed to continue directing, mirrors his own experience of repression in the character of Chinese photographer Ren Hang, whose works portray, with a nonconformist beauty, a new Chinese generation in all its rebellious will to live — something that stands in stark contrast to the state-sanctioned image of youth.

With »salt.«, writer and performer Selina Thompson (Birmingham) sets out to write a counter-history of Black British identity that refutes the official historiography as she travels as a passenger on a container ship on the routes along which the slave ships deported her ancestors from Ghana to Jamaica. The racism and patriarchal power structures at work within the modern- day crew means she bears witness to an unbroken apparatus of hegemony.

Using the setting of a rehearsed play-reading as his starting point, young Canadian-American writer, director and musician Christopher Brett Bailey (New York/London) develops in »THIS IS HOW WE DIE« a fast-paced psychedelic homage to the rebellion of the Beatniks, presented by himself in the style of a Beat poetry performance — a work that constantly treads a thin line between hallucinogenic surrealism, tart social satire and personal confession.

A new addition to this year’s programme is the production »LOVE« by writer and director Alexander Zeldin (London). »LOVE« is part of the celebrated trilogy The Inequalities, in which Alexander Zeldin explores precarious living conditions. In this part, the different needs and fears of the residents in a homeless hostel collide in the communal kitchen.

Also featuring in the festival are the Schaubühne productions »Not The End of the World« by Chris Bush (London), directed by Katie Mitchell (London), and »Qui a tué mon père« (»Who Killed My Father«) by Édouard Louis (Paris). The latter production is being brought to the stage by Thomas Ostermeier and will see Éduoard Louis performing one of his own texts for the first time.

Like the two productions by Édouard Louis and Alexander Zeldin, two panel discussions are also tackling questions of participation and the fair distribution of wealth and resources. »Ungleichheiten im kapitalistischen Weltsystem« (»Inequalities in the World System of Capitalism«) is the title of a discussion between journalist Vanessa Vu and two sociologists, Sérgio Costa and Stephan Lessenich. In a further discussion, writer Daniela Brodesser and cultural anthropologist and gender studies researcher Francis Seeck will assess the increasing social division in our society. The programme also includes a scenic reading of the play »DRAGÓN« by Guillermo Calderón with members of the Schaubühne ensemble, staged by Bastian Reiber. The occasion is the publication of the project »New Spanish-language drama« with contemporary plays from the Ibero-American cultural area which will be published by the Neofelis publishing house in Berlin. This project and its story will be presented in a panel discussion afterwards. And finally, our panel discussion »New Drama in Germany and Great Britain« will see young playwrights from both countries reporting on an exciting exchange project between the Schaubühne and the Royal Court Theatre London. British playwright Mark Ravenhill was involved in the exchange and he will also be on the panel. Together with Matthias Warstat from the Freie Universität Berlin and our dramaturge Maja Zade, they will discuss the differences and similarities between new drama in Germany and across the English Channel.

We look forward to meeting you at the FIND festival!

FIND is supported by

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With the kind support of

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FIND is presented by

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