From 11 to 22 March
At the 20th Festival International New Drama you have the opportunity to experience outstanding new works by theatremakers from eight countries and three continents. Following the associative theme of »Counterimage and Counterpower«, the focus lies on productions whose content and aesthetics seek to break prevailing structures and subvert them from the margins. In this way, the plays will uncover society’s blind spots and give space to images and narratives that are suppressed and erased from social discourse. At the same time, the works will reflect upon the position of their own art form: the theatre as a place of confrontation with images and counterimages, with power and counterpower.
»Outside«, the new production by Kirill Serebrennikov (Moscow) who, in spite of a years-long house arrest in Russia, was impressively managing to continue directing, mirrors his own experience of repression in the character of the deceased Chinese photographer Ren Hang whose works portray a new Chinese generation in all its rebellious will to live with a nonconformist beauty that stands in stark contrast to the state-sanctioned image of youth.
In »Pratthana — A Portrait of Possession«, the first production from Thailand to be featured at FIND, Uthis Haemamool (writer, Bangkok) and Toshiki Okada (director, Tokyo) follow the experiences of a young artist from the provinces from 1992 to today and create a broad panorama of Bangkok’s artistic counter-culture which, in its excesses of sex and drugs, sets itself against every establishment. It is a chronicle of a radical exodus from all institutions into a seemingly free counter-cosmos which nonetheless, in the face of the advancing degeneration of politics and society, proves to be a place of fatal isolation.
In »The Scarlet Letter«, Spanish writer, director and performer Angélica Liddell (Madrid) immerses herself in a dystopian society that is hostile to art and composed of disparate elements including the puritanical 19th century America — setting of the eponymous novel by Nathaniel Hawthorne — and the dictatorship in Bradbury’s »Fahrenheit 451«: symbolic of a present in which art and philosophy are stigmatised in a similar way to how adultery was 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.
In his latest work »Family«, Milo Rau (Ghent) painfully explores the construct of the family and the desires and stereotypes to which it gives rise. Using as a starting point a real-life case in which a married couple from Calais and their two children hanged themselves, Rau confronts us with the sense of helplessness that a seemingly inexplicable act leaves behind. Together with a real family — the actors An Miller and Filip Peeters and their daughters — he imagines their last evening and investigates the underlying causes and traumas.
With »salt.«, writer, director and performer Selina Thompson (Birmingham) undertakes 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. Racism and patriarchal power structures within the crew make her a witness to an unbroken apparatus of hegemony.
Starting from the setting of a rehearsed reading, young Canadian-American author, performance artist and musician Christopher Brett Bailey (Ontario/New York/London) develops in »THIS IS HOW WE DIE« a rapid 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.
In »My little Antarctica«, the KnAM Theatre (Komsomolsk-on- Amur) searches for historical traces in Russia’s far east, in the middle of the taiga, and — from the starting point of a city’s contradictory history — creates a portrait of a deeply unsettled post-Soviet society riven by tensions and repression.
In »Triple Threat« performer Lucy McCormick (London) retells the New Testament with lashings of pop music and elaborate choreographies — with herself taking all the lead roles, supported by two background dancers. In doing so, she shamelessly appropriates one of the most hetero-normative narratives of the Western world and converts it into a completely new, queer-feminist history of salvation.
After »SAIGON« two years ago, Caroline Guiela Nguyen (Valence) is returning to FIND with »Mon grand amour«. Performed in a private Berlin apartment, the theatre becomes a seemingly hyper-realistic portrayal of reality, of the stories of three people at a turning point — but subverts and contradicts them at the same time.
The festival also includes the world premiere of »Die Affen« by Marius von Mayenburg (Berlin) and »Qui a tué mon père« by and with Édouard Louis (Paris), staged by Thomas Ostermeier (Berlin) in a try-out in cooperation with the author. In this experiment, Édouard Louis himself will be performing one of his own texts on stage for the first time. The show is a coproduction with the Théâtre de la Ville Paris. Also featuring from the new Schaubühne repertoire is »Die Anderen«, directed by the play’s writer Anne-Cécile Vandalem (Brussels).
The festival is accompanied discursively by thematic panels and discussions including the political philosopher Chantal Mouffe (London), who has explored the concepts of counter-hegemony and counterpower more than almost any other contemporary thinker and will — in conversation with Katja Kipping (Berlin) and other guests — reflect on their implementation in an artistic practice.
Furthermore, there will be post-show talks, a concert by the band Pollyester (Munich) and two parties.