A COOPERATIVE PROJECT WITH THE THEATRE VORPOMMERN
The worldwide Corona pandemic makes us witnesses of an event of historic proportions, which confronts us with great challenges, but also contains opportunities.
The pandemic affects the whole world and yet: everyone is primarily concerned about those closest to themselves. We look at ourselves and lament our losses, our limitations. Doubts and fears accompany our everyday lives. But the European gaze rarely reaches beyond our own navel. To where the pandemic will leave much greater damage than in Fortress Europe. To a place where there are no financial rescue packages for artists, entrepreneurs or entire industries.
The project "DEPARTURE? AUF?BRUCH" project involved research and the development of artistic interactions between theatre-makers in Germany, Cameroon, Tanzania, South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. The results of this research and the artistic interactions can be seen here.
In normal times, the project partners work with the means of theatre. Due to the pandemic, they now had to look for other ways of artistic engagement and dare to experiment,
following the motto "If the audience cannot come to the theatre, the theatre must come to the audience".
With professional writers, musicians, performers and film teams in Cameroon, Tanzania, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Germany, we looked for new formats for collaboration. So we created artistic productions in the different places that took fairy tales, myths or legends as an occasion to bring them together on film.
In Africa, a short film based on Credo Mutwa's "The race that died." was produced. The German partners produced a short film based on the fairy tale "The stubborn child" by the Brothers Grimm.
As soon as live formats in front of an audience are possible again, a lecture-performance will introduce the project, report on the Corona situation to all partners and present the artistic results.
Two films were made during the African-German cooperation in the Corona period. Both reflect on the relationship between the individual and society through the depiction of a mother-child relationship. Religion and social constraints create a conflict between individual desire and community demand.
The film THE RACE THAT DIED, based on a story by Credo Mutwa, was shot in 5 acts - one act each was realised in a partner country. The film THE STUBBORN CHILD, based on a fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm, was shot in Germany (this film is not yet on the project page because we want to submit it to film festivals). Both films are fairytales - stories that have been oraly passed on by the people.
We experience the virus as "evil" - it kills us, it hurts us. But the virus is part of nature, which we try to push back and contain. In a globalised world, the overexploitation of nature takes its revenge. We try to kill what we do not understand - and thus place ourselves above and against nature. But we are part of nature. In the story of Credow Mutwa: Had the mother not received the threat of her god - perhaps she would have raised her child in community and not in isolation? In community of many instead of lonely and frightened in a dark cave? Perhaps the child would not have turned evil? A self-fulfilling prophecy?
Likewise "The Stubborn Child" - why is this God not pleased with stubborness?
Who cares if an individual develops a sense of self-will? Is group compulsion laid down here as the collective experience of Germans? Can a society only survive if all obstinacy is extinguished? On the other hand, can there be social development if there are no individuals with stubbornness? In the battle with the Corona virus, our relationship to society is being recalibrated. The individual can - and must! - consider the fate of his fellow human beings in every action he takes. But how far can society's demands on the individual go?
without each other
without each other
without each other
suffering without each other
sorrow without each other
loving without each other
without each other
theatre without each other
exchange without each other
meeting without each other
I am alone
we are alone
humanity is alone
6 billion people
without each other
the possibility of an island
each a monad
an isolated ego
a clone of his former original self
without each other
how long will we continue
without each other
miss each other?
(by S.Löschner and J.V.Neumann)
When the coronavirus crisis started, I laughed at Pita when he claimed that God was angry with humanity for their bad GOVERNANCE and that he would turn the world around for that very reason. In the new world, the animals would be the rulers of planet Earth. According to him, there will be no apocalypse, no volcano eruption, no flood, but it will all turn around! ... Pita tattooed this on my head: The death of nature is the death of man!
When African countries started cancelling flights from former colonial countries and quarantining their citizens, the myth of the West's invincibility collapsed ... (Mwambari is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Department of Conflict and Development Studies at Ghent University)
There is no chance in a crisis. This is just a capitalist idea that has been sold to us as a way to "adapt" and comply instead of thinking about new ways of living. We could (if we wanted to) design a whole new world... but we are fixated on this idea of opportunity in crisis. This is a deadly disease. People are dying. The pharmaceutical companies are more interested in making money than saving lives. Where is the opportunity in that? I hope the privileged classes and countries will rethink their way of life. ELINA N'ZUALO (Maputo / Mocambique)
We will have learnt to respect our parents more, to value our friends, to pay more attention to the family, to stay more and more in the family. NELSON FAQUIR (Mozambique).
"Please stay at home!", "Don't get too close to other people!"... these slogans will change human behaviour. Seeing how many people are dying in France, the USA and Italy shows Africans that the white man is not superior to them, despite all his technology. JUVENIL ASSOMO (Cameroon)
My biggest fear is to die in a situation where people are not able to mourn me and bury me. VICENCIA SHULE (Tanzania)
The pandemic has shown: humanity can act decisively and collectively - when people's lives are threatened. This experience must now be applied to climate change! Sascha Löschner (Germany)
Vincencia 28.1.21: Sorry we are having a very bad corona wave in Tanzania at the moment and people are dying. The president is still denying...
Nelson Faquir (Mosambik) 4.2.21: Guys ... Everything is little care. My niece tested positive ... Yesterday she was at her friend's party (lobolo) ... Today she had results ... The point is that she had a test last week and as she has no symptoms she was not aware. Now everyone in Mafalala my family must take the test. I was with her, at my mom's, the next day my mom was sick and I took her to the hospital, my mom said she was positive, I did the test and in 48 hours my test came out and it's negative. Even so, in this period I preferred to stay QUARANTINE. Just to have an idea ... The drugs cost my mother more than 10 thousand meticais … Aren't these drugs supposed to be accessible to everyone? Is it a virus? Families who are unemployed with low incomes are going to get out of this problem. In addition to medicines, they have food. How to solve this if the policies of this country do not support anything!
Elina N’Zualo (Mosambik) 3.2.2021: Here in Maputo the numbers are getting scarier everyday. A lot of people, including medical professionals, are dying. It is out of control... we don’t have lockdown because it’s just not possible with our economy and the type of leadership we currently have. We have some restrictions (schools are closed except for exams, no access to the beach, no gyms, no cultural activities, no gatherings with >50people) But other than that we haven’t received any type of incentive/ financial support from the State and little has changed. It’s so surreal to think we’ve had a whole year and our government did little to prepare for this 😣
Thandi Sebe 3.2.21: Hi everyone! First of all: Strength to you all, sorry about this ongoing catastrophe. South Africa has just reopened beaches and liquor stores today, after we have seen a slight decline in cases. But our numbers are still very high, and hospitals are pretty much overwhelmed with patients. Also no financial support, a ton of stolen money by officials, businesses going under, people losing jobs and homes. We’ve had no cultural activities for a year now but our minister of arts and culture claims theatres are thriving 😅😅 (since a shit storm erupted because a number of artists passed from covid and theatres closed down, artists going hungry with no financial support etc, he deleted his insensitive tweet claiming this greatness in the arts sector).
Vincencia (Tanzania) 5.2.21: Imagine 've just lost two friends today of Corona whom we have projects together. One is a medical doctor and another one is acting director of Heritage.
Vincencia 11.2.21: Hello. Things are not anyhow better, they are turning to worse. Testing is 100 $ which many can't afford. Facilities are not there because many ICU are full, do dying is the option left for many, in countless numbers. No revolts, people are worried because the dictator is suppressing everything, 6th year now. Many have died, lost their jobs, jailed, business closed so corona is adding more salt to the open wound. Please if you are on Twitter follow these people they write in English and post images: Maria Sarungi Tsehai @MariaSTsehai Kigogo @kigogo2014 Tundu Antiphas Lissu @TunduALissu Chambi Chachage (CC) @Udadisi fatma karume aka Shangazi @fatma_karume because that is the only place where people are posting openly and in English.
Cameroon: Landry Nguetsa is a young Cameroonian artist, writer, actor and director who graduated from the University of Yaoundé in performing arts and cinematography. He has participated in and directed writing and acting workshops both in Cameroon and internationally. He is the author of several plays and performances, lead actor in the television series "Remember" and winner of several awards. He assisted big names in theatre such as Dieudonné Niangouna at the Berliner Ensemble (Germany). Landry Nguetsa met Jens Vilela Neumann in 2019 for the project "PAST / PRESENT / FUTURE KAMERUN", a German-Cameroonian collaboration with artists from Yaoundé and Berlin. His team for this project: Essako Paulin, Irène Nke, Juvenil Assomo, Fonjang Mekano, Frank Fopa, Ayrich Sefo, Mbongue Joseph, Sandy Mey, Opodo Ewodo, Frida Abena, Claire Soga, Leroy Enandjoun, Eustache Ngah
Tanzania: Vicensia Shule is an independent theatre, film and television producer who has worked globally for over 15 years. She is a professor at the Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology in Creativity and Innovation and a senior member of the University of Dar es Salaam's Theatre and Film Department. Over the past five years, she has produced more than 300 radio drama episodes, plays, feature films, short films, documentaries and television commercials. She has conducted various researches, written reports and authored over 20 academic publications in the fields of arts and culture and political economy of creative industries in Tanzania and Africa. Her team for this project: Wenceslous Mashingo, Eva Nyambe, Peter Charles Gwivaha, Anastasia osward, Gerald Mushi
South Africa: Thandi Sebe is a freelance writer, director and actress from South Africa. The 28-year-old German-South African grew up in Cape Town. In 2014, she wrote the play "Mostly Waiting" and produced a documentary work to accompany it. Both the play and the documentary were staged/performed in Cape Town and funded by the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation. In collaboration with Amina Eisner, Thandi Sebe wrote "Young, Gifted and Black", which premiered at Ballhaus Naunynstraße in 2015. In early 2016, she played her first cinematic lead role in the American production "Empire of the Sharks". PG and Thandi Sebe have been working together on the production "Pandora - the Return of Heritage" since early 2020. Their team for this project: Tshamano Sebe and Naima Sebe
Mozambique: Eliana N ́Zualosconsiders herself a storyteller. In her blog "Escreve Eliana, Escreve" (Write, Eliana, Write) and the podcast "O Nome Disso É Á África" (The Name is Africa), she explores feminism, Africa, history and politics. She is the founder and member of the collective "Mata-bicho Feminista" (Feminist Breakfast), which aims to create a space for debate and reinvention of feminism in Mozambique. In 2017, she was a speaker at TEDxMaputo and in 2018, she was a facilitator at the artistic residency Colab Now Now, which took place as part of the Maputo Fast Forward Festival in Maputo. Her team for this project: Matateu Ubisse, Denilson Pombo, Jorge Pacule, Yuck Miranda, Silvana Pombal, Edson Artur
Zimbabwe: Michael Kudakwashe, or Michael K as he is known at home, is a theatre, film and television actor, voice-over artist and acclaimed comedian and cartoonist. Michael Kudakwashe is a National Arts and Merit Award (NAMA) recipient and has an experience of well over a decade and a half. His works include 'Harvest of Thorns,' 'When Angels Weep,' 'Roki and Maneta encounter,' 'Burn Mukwerekwere Burn,' 'Great Escape,' 'The Island,' 'Zambezi News,' 'Tanyaradzwa' and 'Water Games' among others. First collaboration with PG in "Water Games" the adaptation of Ibsens "Enemy of the people", he was invited to tour Germany (he performed in Greifswald among others) and at the Ibsen Festival in Oslo. His team for this project: Nothando, Marlon, Kai, Haily
Jens Vilela Neumann brings together and coordinates the numerous project partners and artistic results. He is a theatre maker who works with various partners (inter-) nationally as a director, actor or author. PG made a guest appearance with their Zimbabwean production of "Water Games" at Theater Vorpommern three years ago. The show was a success and since then there has been an ongoing exchange about how the collaboration with the team from Zimbabwe could continue. In the course of the Corona crisis, the head dramaturge of the Vorpommern Theatre, Sascha Löschner, contacted PG. Together with him, the idea for AUFBRUCH was developed.
Theatre Vorpommern: Dr Sascha Löschner is a dramaturge, lecturer, author and director. He has worked as head dramaturge at Theater Vorpommern since 2012. He writes children's plays, dramatises novels for the stage (H.G.Wells "The Visit; Dirk Kurbjuweit "Angst") and writes articles for magazines and periodicals. At the beginning of the summer semester 2021, Sascha Löschner will move to the University of Paderborn as director of the studio stage. Together with Jens Vilela Neumann, he developed the idea for AUFBRUCH.
Cameroon: Juvenil Assomo is a Cameroonian artist in the field of theatre. In 2014, he completed an M.A. at the University of Yaoundé 1. During his postgraduate studies, Assomo has written numerous plays and performed in various theatre productions. He is a laureate of the Goethe Institut Cameroon découverte in littérature in 2018, as well as the Visa pour la création of the Institut Français in Paris in 2020.
Theatre Vorpommern: Sebastian Undisz was born in Leipzig. After studying music (composition/piano) in Dresden, he worked at over 40 theatres in Germany and abroad as musical director and composer for theatre productions. He has also composed musicals and chamber music, as well as experimental musical instruments (Waterphone, Microphonic Soundbox, Marimbula). He is also not afraid to set legal texts and house rules to music for a choir (Ode to Order 2018).
Theatre Vorpommern: Oliver Lisewski was born in Berlin in 1972. He studied Theatre Studies, Cultural Communication and Modern and Contemporary History at Humboldt University. He first worked as an assistant director in Berlin, Weimar and Halle and as a freelancer in stage management at the BRIX agency in Berlin. Permanent engagements took him to the Thalia Theater Halle, the Volkstheater Rostock and the Theater Magdeburg. Since the 2017/18 season, Oliver Lisewski has been a dramaturge at Theater Vorpommern.
Mosambike: Nelson Lázaro Mabuie is an actor and director of the theatre group "Luarte". He is also a filmmaker and editor. With PG, he starred in David Craig's "King of the basement" at the Teatro Avenida/Maputo. He also performed in the tragicomedy "The visit of the old lady" by Friedrich Dürrenmatt at the Teatro Avenida, directed by J.V.Neumann. In "Identity a bloody romance" he shared the stage with J.V.Neumann as the leading actor.
Zimbabwe: Tichaona Mutore a 2014 National Arts and Merit Awards nominee for Best Actor in the production Maids, Tichaona started acting in 2000 and has never looked back. He has acted in theatre, radio and TV productions. Some of his works include "Verse", "Silent Words", "Suburb D", "On the Money" and others.
First collaboration with PG in "Water Games", followed by a tour of Germany where he was also seen in Greifswald and an invitation to the Ibsen Festival in Oslo.