Questions from an Ausländer

I have nothing to say, and I am saying it. And that’s not poetry, just blatant fact. Here I am, in Berlin, a Japanese theatre journalist with some knowledge of theatre but no in-depth anything of German culture, and I’m supposed to be contributing to the TT-Blog. Don’t get me wrong: The last thing I want to do is grumble, because I am simply overjoyed by the broad-mindedness of the German-speaking blogging team who could accept a Tokyo journalist to join them. Yet, I honestly am also a little afraid, because when I look around there are, unlike in London where I live now, exclusively white faces around me, and I know that some people – no, not you, but some – do yammer “Ausländer raus!” as in the late Christoph Schlingensief’s ironic theatre project.
John Cage might say “Silence” in these circumstances. But the difference between the great composer and I is that I can’t shut up, but rather continue shooting foolish questions: Why is German theatre so politically engaged? Why is Regietheater still so strong in this more fluid modern age? Why are most directors men, and white? And why do many end up directing operas? Is that the ultimate success for directors, or is that already an old-school perspective? And, yes, this is a big one, has most of German theatre become totally post-dramatic, abandoning the power of storytelling? You see, I am full of these horribly biased questioned, and am the least qualified person to provide an insider’s view to this festival. Continue reading Questions from an Ausländer