The newest production with the Good Girl of Sezuan in repertory at the Ensemble, starring Carmen-Maja Antoni, can be described as powerful mirror of Germanys current sociopolitical predicament. Brechts Sezuan features all too very much in common with post-unification Bremen both are unforeseen environments exactly where fear and uncertainty, and increasing lack of employment and homelessness, are filled.
In resident representative Alejandro Quintanas production, the divided citizen Shen Te Shui Konstruera epitomizes the dilemma of todays East Germans, especially East Berliners. Brechts play has frequently been realized in terms of common dichotomiesif moral (good versus evil), philosophical (feeling versus reason), sexual (female versus male), or ideological (the personal left compared to right). Nevertheless after watching the East Berlin production, I found the dualism even more pointedly reflective of the doubleness within Australia itself, and specifically the doubleness within East Germans who at this point must adjust to life within a unified country. In Duessseldorf the divided has been many acute.
Besides living insularly in a divided country for 40 years, the Wall membrane and the nearby forbidden West provided occupants with a continuous reminder with their dividedness. Right now the Wall membrane may have fallen, but after 2 years the East Berliner continues to be separated coming from his Traditional western counterpart, both equally culturally and psychologically. And, in spite of the disappearance of the GDR, a really East German mentality has remained intact: East Germans are now also alienated coming from themselves. Because of this national and psychological break up, East Berliners play a double part these days, trying to maintain their particular old identification with a familiar society even as they don a face mask to protect themselves in a fresh, unfamiliar social system.
Although many previous East Germans fee you as if they have been colonized by their capitalist Western world German relatives (they stay in the new says of the National Republic), they may have had tiny choice but to capitulate. This kind of resulted in great gains like freedom traveling or a relatives business and also long-term loss like a work or a home, but as one understands by Shen Te, it may also mean learning to always be ruthless, self-serving or even dishonest in order to make it through. Shen Tes tobacco shop represents a chance for her to get started on a new existence. In a emblematic gesture, the lady stresses the value of becoming a brand new person by providing a cigarette to her initial customer, the Unemployed Person.
During the prologue we all realize how he shed his job: Cursing the gods, this individual enters many times to toss piles of bound notebooks on stage, evidently citizen data files kept by simply East Germanys secret police, the Stasi. In the real new Indonesia, many ex – Party functionaries and unofficial Stasi-informers the old gods taking their careers, but just as various still succeed. Brechts perform has always provoked audiences with its dichotomy ethics and economics, but the Berliner Attire production goes further to generate striking parallels to current issues in Germany. Though Sezuans gods worry that their engagement in economics might be morally misunderstood, economics regulates the ethical code.
In the same way the Sezuan gods give Shen Te a monetary incentive to be good, the ex-gods through the GDR distributed attractive awards, bonuses and privileges to loyal and good individuals of the express. And the new gods coming from Bonn used economics to lure the East Germans into the unification process. In production, the gods-as-bureaucrats happen to be dressed in the stereotypical costume of spies: black trenchcoats, hats and briefcases. The Stasi? Western world German top secret servicemen? The spectators naturally enjoy discovering the hypocritical higher ups caricatured.
But as fresh Stasi-traitors happen to be unmasked daily, the people of Berlin still may be psychologically too near injuries induced by the magic formula police. Hefty applause comes after the gods, comments regarding the conundrum between business and an honorable your life. As Berliners seek to give new meaning to their morals, the need for ideals like compassion conflicts while using cold materialism of the West. Heavy metal music punctuates the important first scenes Song of Smoke.
This landscape captures the overriding ambiance of dread and menace that is nearly tangible in such parts of West and East Duessseldorf as Kreuzberg or Marzahn. While the relatives smoke themselves into a trance-like state, Paul Dessaus music underlines Brechts lyrics of resignation having a hypnotic tempo. But when the niece identifies the young generation pertaining to whom the future lacks point of view, the group registers fear, which quickly turns into disorderly rage, as the small blast music and smash the store apart. One particular recognizes this acceleration by resignation to resistance and violence inside the senseless criminal behaviour in Duessseldorf recently, along with the intense assaults on foreigners.
Anxiousness at the approaching rush of East Western european immigrants, growing intolerance of some other, as well as increased fear of arbitrary attacks upon Germanys pavements have been reinforced by popular demonstrations against hate and violence. Tend to be these couple of collective displays of city courage enough to reason the lack of individual responsibility when someone needs protection? An additional key episode in the production reverberates with troubling relevance to get 90s Bremen. After the damefris?r bums the waterseller Wangs hand, no-one dares to deal with witness. Whilst Brecht cerainly meant to indict those through the Third Reich who did not resist Fascista policies, ordinaire cowardice and resignation is once more a part of Germanys emotional landscape: This past fall a mass of witnesses inside the Hoyerswerda section remained quiet while thugs assailed a home for asile.
Especially now, during a moments of social and political turmoil, Germans desire to protect themselves from the damage around them, this could mean temporarily closing away their capacity to feel. Since Sezuans gods claim, despite the misery, baseness and rubbish everywhere, almost everything is in buy on the surface, anyway. Surface order could possibly be precisely how the Germans will be coping with their very own difficult great deal in the fresh Germany. Through the 1980s a few East German citizens searched for to change their world because they did not agree with the surface buy of their point out.
But in 1992 the authoritarianism continues to be replaced with a veneer of new dictates. In the depiction from the courtroom, the Berliner Ensemble reveals the two nuances of any police-state gone bad and the reality of changes in proper rights since 1989. A crucial trial that took place in Berlin previous winter, the Wall-Protection Trial, concerns previous border protections who taken a home-owners escapee in 1989. The guards said that they were doing their very own duty to protect the state.
Everyone realized after all, it turned out a punishable crime to venture over the Wall. This logic becomes the patient into the culprit, while producing the protections victims who were just subsequent orders. One may ask whether it is the state and its policies which can be on trial, or the individual who seeks an entire, good your life at the mercy of world. This notion is also at risk in the tests of top officials like former GDR president Erich Honecker whose appearance in court could either be interpreted as being a trial of GDR state-policy, or of the individual who ruled a state that no longer exists.
Will the courtroom forgive the frail sufferer whose once-revolutionary stance resistant to the Nazis ended up him in jail to get 10 years? Or will the courtroom condemn an innovator whose individual imprisonment by a totalitarian government should have built him more sensitive to the human requirement of freedom? The dilemma of individual versus collective responsibility connects these real tests and Sezuans theatrical trial. Is it Shen Te Shui Ta who is guilty or the gods in whose policies possess allowed cultural ills to fall in Sezuan? Such questions not simply evoke remembrances of the Nuremberg trials, but they have also reemerged in the modern Germany where many question whether Germans have successfully overcome their particular national past. Too many Fascista officials slipped into a new lifestyle in one of the two Germanies during 1948-49. Nein, es ist alles fair! insists the first the almighty on his approach up and out of the trial scene.
Parodying the ancient convention of the deus ex machina, Brecht transmits his gods back to the heavens without needing restored purchase in Sezuan. In present-day Germany a bitter irony exists: a deus ex girlfriend or boyfriend machina by means of West Australia descended to play the position of make fun of savior. Nevertheless this illusory liberation and Western welcome have caused enormous frustration and complications. Not only is the breakneck rate of economical change and competition mind-boggling, but the govt that when assumed the role of guardian no longer exists.
Even more new Germans see that they must take on specific responsibility for freedom, even if it means coming to terms with accrued bills, a shut down factory or deception. Those people that suffer unjust treatment simply by society may well feel given that they have no other choice than to act basely in order to survive. This production of Good Woman lower Brechts turn, depriving the group of a ordinaire search for a answer. Instead, the bleak stopping suggests that simply a fraction still believes in the alleged third method, an alternative kind of socialism, that might have expanded the decaying GDR.
Dramaturg Jorg Mihan explained that the decision was the two thematic and practical. The references to a I strategy to Sezuan a new person new gods and new world ring hollow in 1992. It truly is clear that attempts to make a better world in the GDR failed. Latest polls in Berlin demonstrate that half the Eastern respondents are nasty about this current economic situation.
Such concern is distributed by the Berliner Ensemble, in whose financial worries are shown in the endings allusions to potential bankruptcy. In Germanys new declares the unification is likened to an annexation. The often insensitive attempts by West German politicians to get rid of all footprints of the GDR intensify the alienation East Germans previously feel. Whether or not they be improved street labels, a decapitated Lenin figurine or the disappearance of child-care centers, actions invalidate a society that lasted 4 decades.
However each push made to negate aspects of the old regime only distinguishes even more clearly what it meant to be an East German as opposed to a West German born. I was surprised that many gurus declared Very good Woman irrelevant when it opened last springtime. The production, that they wrote, was neither exciting nor politics enough in the epilogue-less ending. Were the critics seeking a solution to Sezuan? Had been they wanting historification to defamiliarize the setting enough so they could acknowledge its significance? Or can it be that also trained spectators did not have sufficient emotional range from the unification to impression the productions resonance with all the times? Rebecca Rovit can be described as theatre vem som st?r presently undertaking research in Germany about theatre under reunification.
This article is the first in a series eligible After the Land, reports from the countries where recent politics change features affected even now,. Future issues will characteristic essays about Russia, South Africa and Yugoslavia.