Baby’s First Castorf

In case you hadn’t heard, Sunday’s “Baal” was the last “Baal.”

It was also my first Castorf.

Before Sunday, I knew about as much about Frank Castorf as fellow blogger Annegret Märten (for your own primer, see her delightful post here). Honestly, I’d probably heard as much about Chris Dercon, his Volksbühne successor.


So, on the occasion of my first Castorf, here is what struck me about the Münchner Residenztheater production, drawn largely from my desultory notes:

Wow, we’re really being screamed at. But I kind of like it. Maybe it’s this rockabilly-Americana-good-ol’-boy music and the actors’ jittery movements and rhythmic hip thrusting, but I’m digging this. Not that I understand any of the German. Is my German really this bad? Why can’t I understand anything? Whatever, more hip thrusting!

There’s more camera-chasing here than on reality TV. Except the camerapeople on “The Real World” never get such hot-and-heavy close-ups.

Whoa, a swimming pool! Now we’re in an episode of “Fear Factor.”

I haven’t smelled this much patchouli since the Talking Straight Festival two weeks ago. Mopt! Mopt!!!

Right, now we’re fucking a dead pig. I’d read this was going to happen. This would never fly in Leipzig.

Aaah, these rain sound effects are soothing. I’m going to close my eyes for a sec.

Oh Susie Q, Oh Susie Q. I love you, my Susie Q. I like the way you walk. I like the way you talk. I like the way you walk. I like the way you talk. My Susie Q.

Girl ya gotta love your man. Girl ya gotta love your man. Take him by the hand. Make him understand. The world on you depends. Our life will never end. Gotta love your man, yeah.

War is chaotic. Drugs are weird. Hell is green.

Oh Susie Q, Oh Susie Q. I love you, my Susie Q. I like the way you walk. I like the way you talk. I like the way you walk. I like the way you talk. My Susie Q. 

Now the actors are surfing against a green screen. Is this a comment on America?

Now they are green-screening “Apocalypse Now Redux.” Is this a comment on America?

Doesn’t that image of the Asian guy look like Colonel Sanders? Is that the Coke swoosh below him? Is this a comment on America?

Is this my own American exceptionalism?

Why do my notes say “yay sex”? Wait, that says “gay sex.” Followed by: “and they make as if to eat them w/ fork + knife.” Yay sex.

So yeah, I may be guilty of American exceptionalism, but I’m finally understanding some of the German. Including this sentence from Coppola’s film: “Zwei Seelen wohnen in dir. Eine die tötet, und eine die liebt.” Deeeeeep.

They finally climbed into the helicopter!!! Thank goodness. You can’t put a fucking helicopter onstage and not go inside. And no place is better than a chopper, don’tcha know, for some lascivious leg-wound licking.

There are a lot of textures and patterns here. Sequins, silk, mesh, tattoos, lace, camo, leopard print, beads, (p)leather, aluminum, blood, saliva, sweat. Obscured by a hell of a lot of fog and smoke.

Maybe these women are being objectified, but damn are they athletic.

I think one of the actors just said something about not understanding anything, but feeling everything. I feel, man. I feel.

Hang on, I do understand this—they’re making a joke about using foreign texts. Take THAT, Brecht heirs! Oh, and now a joke about Claus Peymann! I get it! I get it!

Yeah, we all need someone we can bleed on. Yeah, and if you want it, baby, well you can bleed on me. Yeah, we all need someone we can bleed on. Yeah, yeah, and if you want it, baby, why don’cha bleed on me. All over.

All over. All over.
von Bertolt Brecht
Regie: Frank Castorf
Dramaturgie: Angela Obst
Mit: Götz Argus, Bibiana Beglau, Aurel Manthei, Hong Mei, Franz Pätzold, Katharina Pichler, Jürgen Stössinger, Andrea Wenzl

Little Sausages of Truth: “Die lächerliche Finsternis”

Note: I know Theatertreffen is over, and that “Die lächerliche Finsternis” closed already. But sometimes our thoughts need time to marinate. #betterlatethannever

Intermissions can be deadly. Welcome, for sure—we all have to pee sometimes, or buy an overpriced Laugenbrezel—but they can stall a show’s momentum, for the performers as well as for the audience.

Not so in this Burgtheater production of Wolfram Lotz’s “Die lächerliche Finsternis” (“The Ridiculous Darkness”). Here, director Dušan David Parízek elevates intermission into something glorious. A wall of tall wooden beams has just fallen, making an earsplitting smack against the stage floor. The back wall of the stage is bare. Projected onto it: “20 Min. Pause, wenn Sie wollen.” “20-minute intermission, if you want.”

The house lights go up, but a show continues onstage. To the tune of “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” the four actresses, wearing work gloves and safety goggles, feed the long planks into a wood chipper. Sawdust floats through the air. Audience members approach the stage to snap photos. Rather than feeling like we’ve been awkwardly ejected into the lobby, we’re lured back into the auditorium—to watch as the theater is destroyed before our eyes.

Blunt metaphor? Perhaps. But until wood chippers become de rigueur on theater stages, I won’t complain. And especially not when everything surrounding this intermission is so rich. “Die lächlerliche Finsternis” is literary but visceral, poignant but bawdy, overflowing but not overstuffed. It’s a weird wonder of a play, and Parízek realizes it masterfully.

In his text, the 33-year-old Lotz draws from “Heart of Darkness” and “Apocalypse Now” to follow two German soldiers sailing up the Hindu Kush (yup), searching for a mutinous colonel who allegedly killed two of his comrades with a lawn chair (indeed). This, obviously, is a twisted world, and it grows only more bizarre as the soldiers venture deeper into it, meeting an Italian UN peacekeeper overseeing mineral extraction for mobile-phone production, a leering missionary, a talking parrot and a Balkan war refugee selling lactose-free goat cheese, dental floss and investment funds.

It’s a comment on the Western inability to understand faraway war zones—in our minds, the Congo and Vietnam and Iraq and Afghanistan are interchangeable. Globalization may have made the word seem smaller, but that doesn’t mean we’re any more knowledgeable about it. It’s also a comment on the limits of representation in the theater. How do we create unfamiliar worlds on the stage? What sorts of rules apply? Who can play whom? (That was an overriding theme at this year’s Theatertreffen, as in “Die Schutzbefohlenen,” “Common Ground” and even “Das Fest.”)

Parízek goes about this in a canny way. For one, he’s cast four women—a phenomenally dynamic quartet—to play mostly male roles. As hardboiled Sergeant Pellner, Catrin Striebeck slaps on a mustache and patrols the stage with a pelvis-first swagger. Frida-Lovisa Hamann plays the good-hearted Corporal Dorsch with sympathy and a strong Saxon accent. Dorothee Hartinger and Stefanie Reinsperger, meanwhile, move through the rest of the roles with remarkable agility. Reinsperger begins the show with a fusillade of a monologue: She plays a Somali pirate explaining his path to high-seas swashbuckling, and she does this with a beautifully broad Viennese dialect, stretching her words like rubber bands to the point of snapping. It’s utterly incongruous but Reinsperger pulls it off with élan, and it’s an opening that immediately establishes “Finsternis” as a production that shouldn’t work but somehow does. Hartinger, meanwhile, does a bang-up job as the UN peacekeeper, taking on an Italian accent so springy and elastic that the words seem to do somersaults out of her mouth.

Lotz wrote “Finsternis” as a radio play, which Parízek also handles well. He keeps the staging fairly simple (unlike the Deutsches Theater production, which is a slapsticky parade of distracting costumes, huge set pieces and endless banana consumption) and has set up a lo-fi Foley station to one side of the stage, where the performers create the sounds of the rainforest. This allows Lotz’s offbeat images—death by lawn chair, a sheet metal stovepipe used as a prosthetic leg and so on—to blossom, unhindered, in our heads.

“Finsternis” has its moments of despair and rage. But what most stunned me about the play, and what has continued to sit with me—preventing me, ahem, from getting this online while the festival was still running—is its belief in possibility. “We don’t have to believe it because it’s true!” shouts one of the performers. That’s essentially the thesis of Lotz’s “Rede Zum Unmöglichen Theater,” “Speech On The Impossible Theater” (my favorite line: “We no longer want to eat the little sausages of truth that have been fried for us”). Just because something is impossible doesn’t mean it’s impossible. That’s meaningless, but just because something is meaningless doesn’t mean it’s meaningless. Do you follow? And just because Lotz is skeptical about the theater, and about its ability to reflect or represent reality, doesn’t mean he can’t make people laugh—and with full, throaty, genuine roars. Sometimes about anuses.

So where some see cynicism in “Finsternis,” I see hope. The name of the pirate’s boat, after all? “Hoffnung.”

Die lächerliche Finsternis
von Wolfram Lotz
Regie und Bühne: Dušan David Pařízek
Dramaturgie: Klaus Missbach
Mit: Frida-Lovisa Hamann, Dorothee Hartinger, Stefanie Reinsperger, Catrin Striebeck

Stückemarkt Revisited: Chris Thorpe Interview on “Confirmation”

After being invited to the Stückemarkt last year, performer Chris Thorpe returns to Berlin with a new piece as part of Stückemarkt Revisited. Rebecca Jacobson and Annegret Märten talked to him about his show, “Confirmation,” which is on until Saturday at English Theatre Berlin.

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“Confirmation,” written and performed by Chris Thorpe
Directed by Rachel Chavkin
Photo by Arnim Friess.

Party Poopers: “Das Fest”

Wobbling out of “Das Fest,” all I can see is a swirl of red and yellow and blue and green. This image—endless confetti, showering onto the stage—is a stunning one, like cherry blossoms suddenly loosed by a springtime windstorm. And it happens at least four or five times during Christopher Rüping’s adaptation of Thomas Vinterberg’s 1998 film, the urtext of the Dogme 95 movement. (English speakers know the film as “The Celebration.”) By the end of the evening, the confetti on the stage is nearly ankle-deep.

Is it perverse for this story—in which a father, at his 60th birthday party, is publicly outed as having molested his children—to traffic in such glorious images? Does it stifle or even trivialize the serious issues?

Nah. I wouldn’t want an after-school special on sexual abuse. And Vinterberg’s film already serves up serious moral reckoning, so a stage adaptation—and there have been many, including one by Michael Thalheimer invited to Theatertreffen in 2001—needn’t do that.

What’s frustrating about the confetti (and the hyperkinetic stage antics, and the intentionally embarrassing musical numbers, and the dumb jokes) is that it all starts to feel blazingly obvious.

As in:

Eureka, I’ve got it! Let’s juxtapose the ickiness of incest with clouds of confetti!


Oh, and won’t it be clever to use all this whiz-bang stage magic to adapt a film that shirks all special effects and gimmicks?!

It’s not all misguided. Rüping keeps the key points of the film—eldest brother Christian’s speech about the father’s transgressions, sister Linda’s wrenching suicide note, mother Else’s backhanded praise of her children—but also busts it apart, turning a chamber piece into a hyperactive, opera-sized slumber party. The six performers wear gray footie pajamas, looking like children ready for bed. An early comic sketch involves a prehistoric ancestor in leopard-print underwear, and there’s later a feathered headdress that’d be at home in a school play. (“Atlas der abgelegenen Inseln” also featured men’s underpants and a feathered headdress.) One actor does a backflip. The confetti falls. The excess throws you off-kilter.

Adding to the disorientation is the fact that the actors don’t have fixed parts. Instead, they don oversized sweaters, marked with the first letter of a character’s name, to inhabit a role.

Hang on, can I talk about these sweaters for a sec? After the show, I heard some complaints about their ugliness. I beg to differ. While far from fab, these specimens fall short of true hideousness. No one at an ugly sweater party would be impressed. They’re more like something no one’s grandmother knits for them anymore. I can also imagine them keeping the Weasleys warm during long Hogwarts winters.

And there’s not just one sweater for each character, meaning several actors might play Christian at the same time. At one point, all three siblings crawl into the same sweater.

As you might imagine of a garment that accommodates three actors, the sweaters are quite stretchy. Shout-out to “John Gabriel Borkman,” which also boasted a very stretchy sweater. And a bathtub. And children acting like adults. And intimations of incest. Scandinavia, do we need to talk?

Song-and-dance breaks jostle for space amid the narrative: There’s a great “Soul Train”-style catwalk scene and a very jarring Cat Stevens rendition. Water fights leave the actors sopping. More confetti falls.

But eventually, it becomes formulaic. We anticipate the next confetti shower, the next off-color joke. And that means “Das Fest” never achieves transgression or real depth. Or, frustratingly, ambiguity—which seems like should be central to a story about an incomprehensible crime. Instead, it all makes so much sense: the gaiety against the gruesome subject matter, the theatrical razzle-dazzle against the austerity of Dogme.

Bedtime, kids. Party’s over.


Das Fest
nach dem Film von Thomas Vinterberg und Mogens Rukov
Bühnenfassung von Bo hr. Hansen, in der Übersetzung von Renate Bleibtreu
Regie: Christopher Rüping
Dramaturgie: Bernd Isele
Mit: Maja Beckmann, Paul Grill, Pascal Houdus, Matti Krause, Svenja Liesau, Christian Schneeweiß, Norbert Waidosch (Pianist)

English Audio Review: John Gabriel Borkman

Rebecca Jacobson and Annegret Märten from the TT-Blog sat down with theatre blogger and academic Holger Syme to discuss Karin Henkel’s production of “John Gabriel Borkman”. We talk about Ibsen’s play and discuss masks, music and monstrous physicality.


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John Gabriel Borkman
by Henrik Ibsen
directed by Karin Henkel, Design: Katrin Nottrodt, costumes: Nina von Mechow, music: Arvild J. Baud, lighting: Annette Ter Meulen, Dramaturgy: Sybille Meier
with Josef Ostendorf, Julia Wieninger, Jan-Peter Kampwirth, Lina Beckmann, Kate Strong, Matthias Bundschuh, Gala Winter

„Borkman“ zum Nachspielen

Die Redaktion vom Theatertreffen-Blog hat sich eine der zehn bemerkenswerten Inszenierungen ausgewählt, um mit dieser eine spezielle Form der Besprechung zu versuchen. 3,2,1: Es ist „John Gabriel Borkman”.

Wir haben geschrieben und kalkuliert und gecoded. Jetzt ist sie da, unsere Twine Kritik. Das Ganze funktioniert wie ein Spiel. Also einfach auf diesen Link klicken. Let´s play!


John Gabriel Borkman
von Henrik Ibsen
Regie: Karin Henkel, Bühne: Katrin Nottrodt, Kostüme: Nina von Mechow, Musik: Arvild J. Baud, Licht: Annette Ter Meulen, Dramaturgie: Sybille Meier
Mit: Josef Ostendorf, Julia Wieninger, Jan-Peter Kampwirth, Lina Beckmann, Kate Strong, Matthias Bundschuh, Gala Winter

Come on in, the water’s fine: “Atlas der abgelegenen Inseln”

In the introduction to 2009’s “Atlas of Remote Islands,” Judith Schalansky describes her book as “primarily a poetic project.” The book—subtitled “Fifty Islands I Have Never Visited and Never Will”—contains precise maps of these faraway places, and passages about the islands’ histories. The texts blur fiction and reality, and it’s rarely the stuff of an idyllic tropical honeymoon. Instead: rape. Human sacrifice. Cannibalism.


But as promised, Schalansky brings poetry to it all. And, in his adaptation of the book, so does Swiss director Thom Luz. His 80-minute production—with its own impressive subtitle, “a polyphonic audioplay on three floors for four actors and as many musicians”—exists somewhere between installation, concert and theater. The project could have gone terribly wrong: it’s easy to imagine it as an ickily romantic ode to colonial luxury, or a blood-and-thunder adventure tale. But Luz spins it into reduced-sugar cotton candy—light, wispy and pleasantly strange.

“Atlas der abgelegenen Inseln” originally went up in Hannover’s opulent Cumberlandsche Galerie. For Theatertreffen, the team had to find an appropriate location in Berlin—a hunt that Luz compared to Klaus Kinski schlepping a steamship across the Peruvian Andes. The effort was worth it. Pankow’s Carl-von-Ossietzky Gymnasium has an imposing sandstone staircase and cherub statues rather than frilly cast-iron railings, but from the time audience members take their seats—distributed across the three landings of the staircase—the neo-Renaissance building has become an actor of its own.


And so it begins. The performers, in black-and-white formal wear, flit like ghosts up and down the stairs. A few keep their eyes on their compasses, looking like harried commuters staring at their phones. A door slams. It slams again. One actor, Oscar Olivo, has dark rings under his eyes. Sophie Krauß, a lank-haired 20-something, gives us a slightly batty smile and, in a whisper, asks us to clap, bobbing her head when we comply. Günther Harder, bearded and holding a loudspeaker, announces that New Zealand’s Department of Conservation is seeking a brave volunteer to spend 12 months on an uninhabited island. The wiry Beatrice Frey, clad in a long white dress, describes the behavior of the now-extinct Steller’s sea cow. They speak in cryptic shards about places that we, like Schalansky, will never know—places with unfamiliar burial rites and strange languages and non-stop volcanic activity.

Their bare feet pad against the stone steps, providing gentle and near-constant percussion. The four musicians—two on violin, one on viola and one on trombone—play snatches of songs, often pretty, sometimes foreboding. A piano plinks. Bells ring. A drum is thumped. A staticky walkie-talkie, tucked into one of the cherub statues, spits out geographic coordinates.

Dusk falls. The windows develop a purplish glow around their edges. Krauß describes Amelia Earhart’s ill-fated final flight. An airplane passes over the building—a beautiful coincidence.

“Ich bin gleich wieder da,” the performers murmur. “I’ll be right back.” And they do return, and then they leave again. The encounters are intimate but ephemeral. And maybe some of it’s patient to the point of taxing, or just a little ridiculous—why is there a block of ice hanging over the drum? What’s with Olivo’s feathered headdress? Was that an extra from “The Grand Budapest Hotel”? Why is Harder now running around in his tighty-whities?

Then again—why not?


Atlas der abgelegenen Inseln
von Judith Schalansky
Regie: Thom Luz
Dramaturgie: Judith Gerstenberg
Mit: Beatrice Frey, Oscar Olivo, Sophie Krauß, Günther Harder
Musiker: Maria Pache, Karoline Steidl, Iris Maron, Mikael Rudolfsson

Talking Straight: Eine Twitter-Kritik

[View the story “Lost in Translation” on Storify]

Alle Eindrücke befinden sich kurz und kompakt zusammengefasst unter folgendem Link:
[View the story “Lost in Translation” on Storify]


von Daniel Cremer
Konzept: Daniel Cremer/TALKING STRAIGHT, Ausstattung: Daniel Cremer/Romy Kiessling, mit Kunstwerken von: Heike-Karin Föll/Sadie Weis
Von und mit: Alicia Agustín, Daniel Cremer, Lisa Heinrici, Anja Herden, Sébastien Jacobi, Romy Kiessling, Lina Krüger, Nils Amadeus Lange, René Michaelsen, Tamer Fahri Özgönenc, Antje Prust, Fabian Raabe, Dr. Tucké Royale, Vincent Stefan, Alisa Tretau, Hans Unstern, Anton Weil u.a.

If you ever find yourself in the wrong story, leave

Tom Struyf is the sort of guy who purrs when he’s happy—say, when he’s eating Nutella. He’s the sort of guy who’s told by a girl, after their first date, that “she believes she finds him nice.” He’s the sort of guy who, as a six-year-old, put out his own newspaper, and kept publishing it, encroaching burnout be damned—his subscribers had paid for 10 issues, and he would deliver. After a few minutes onstage, he’s already the friend you trust with your secrets, or the neighbor you ask to feed your cat when you go on vacation.

“I just tried to do it as good as possible,” Struyf says. “Like I’ve always done.”

And what the Belgian artist does here, in “Another great year for fishing”—the closing piece at the Stückemarkt, Theatertreffen’s showcase of five young writers from across Europe—is honest and generous. And after several days of freighted topics, metatheatrical commentary and nonsense languages, also immensely refreshing.

“Another great year,” which Struyf wrote and performs in, braids together storytelling, video interviews and dance. On one level, it’s a Moth-style confessional. Struyf, in a dark blue button-down and sneakers, tells us about the stress he suffered as a six-year-old newspaper publisher, about the time he racked up too many speeding tickets, about the sign he once saw in a dirty bathroom: “If you ever find yourself in the wrong story, leave.” He then recounts a trip to Cape Town, where the hotel concierge speaks of the most wonderful place in the world and persuades Struyf to rent a car and drive alone into the bush. (Things, of course, don’t go quite according to plan.)

Struyf’s narrative is cut with video interviews playing on a large screen on the otherwise bare stage. We meet a psychiatrist, an anthropologist, a former politician, a self-proclaimed spin doctor, a journalist. They speak about burnout, vulnerability, decision fatigue, credibility, cynicism, information overload, obsession with happiness. #firstworldproblems, in other words, thrown into stark relief by the anthropologist’s observations about the Maasai—and tempered with humor, as when the psychiatrist rambles from Christina Aguilera to his own musical ineptitude.

Adding another layer—a wonderfully rich one—is long-limbed dancer Nelle Hens. Early on, as the interviews play onscreen, she makes her body limp. She falls, over and over and over again. Struyf catches her, over and over and over again, repeatedly contending with this wriggly, overcooked noodle. Later, Hens seizes control. “You have two minutes to get really sweaty,” she commands Struyf, keeping close watch as he runs in circles and swivels his hips and crawls on the floor.

But for much of the time, the two simply lean against one another. They’re in uninterrupted contact, constantly shifting their weight and balance: sometimes back-to-back, sometimes with their arms on each other’s shoulders. Hens is the calm foil to Struyf’s anxious energy. Their angles are precarious. It’s a geometry lesson. It’s a master workshop in trust. It’s entrancing.

And as they move, Struyf continues to describe his hapless South African voyage. He’s emotional but not cheap, earnest but self-aware: “I’m a stupid rich European asshole in a glitzy car and it’s getting dark.”

Eventually, he’ll dance himself to sweat-drenched exhaustion. And he’ll do this with his eyes closed, as Hens gently steers him. And he’ll reflect on the role of storytelling, and talk about Nutella, and ask us to imagine a world where everyone purred when they were happy, and then a world in which we could shut our ears like we shut our eyes. And maybe—just like Nutella—it’s a little sugary. But it’s a sincerity that seizes you, and that’s not something that can be faked.

RE: Carvalho – Anmerkungen und Fragen des Blogorchesters

Am Sonntag veröffentlichten wir an dieser Stelle einen Protest-Zwischenruf von Wagner Carvalho, der seitdem für einiges Aufsehen gesorgt hat. Auch bei uns im Blogorchester wird heiß diskutiert und die Meinungen gehen auseinander. Wir haben deshalb einige Statements, aber auch Fragen der Blogger*innen an Wagner Carvalho gesammelt und hier zusammengestellt.

Oliver Franke:

„Lieber Herr Carvalho, Sie nennen in Ihrem Statement neben Nicolas Stemanns ‚Die Schutzbefohlenen’ ebenfalls Brett Bailey als einen Referenzpunkt, dessen Installationen ‚Exhibit A, B & C’ direkt Bezug nehmen auf die Menschenausstellungen der Kolonialzeit in Afrika. Was ist ihre Haltung zu den schwarzen Künstlerinnen und Künstlern, welche an den von ihnen genannten Kunstprojekten direkt mitwirken? Würden Sie diesen Performer*innen und Aktionisten durch ihre Teilnahme pauschal eine unreflektierte Haltung zum Thema Rassismus vorwerfen? Wie sähe Ihrer Meinung nach ein kritischer und reflektierter Umgang mit rassistisch konnotierten Gesellschaftsbildern und Ideologien im theatralen Kontext aus?“

Annegret Märten:

Dear Wagner Carvalho, one of your examples for objectionable and racist art is ‚Exhibit B’ by Brett Bailey, which had a life after the discussions at the 2012 Festspiele had died down. In September 2014, the show went up at the Barbican in London. It caused massive protests and was consequently shut down – therefore censored. Do you think that when work might be considered racist, censorship is the right thing to do? If so, who’s allowed to pass that judgement? ‚Die Schutzbefohlenen’ reflects on and ultimately condemns the clumsiness of white privilege in theatre. Granted, this happens later in the piece and possibly after you had left the performance. Do you categorically reject the use of blackface because it perpetuates racism? Are only certain theatre makers allowed to address racism in their art?

Judith Engel:

„Wenn Nicolas Stemann sagt, dass man Rassismus zeigen muss, um diesen zu kritisieren, finde ich, dass es zu wenig ist, diese beabsichtigte Rassismuskritik mit dem plumpesten aller Mittel zu lösen. Was kommt nach der Sichtbarmachung? Wird ‚blackfacing‘ als problematische Geste in ‚Die Schutzbefohlenen’ differenziert analysiert? Der Geste folgt meiner Meinung nach keine kritische Analyse. Sie wird lediglich als solche ausgestellt. Wenn ‚blackfacing die Geste sein soll, damit dem Publikum klar wird, dass es sich hier um die Ausstellung von Rassismus handelt, traut man diesem wenig zu. Rassismus wird dadurch auch auf etwas reduziert, was viel komplexer und weitreichender ist.“

Janis El-Bira:

Es gibt sehr gute Gründe dafür, jegliche Reproduktion rassistischer Klischees, egal wie gebrochen und markiert sie sein mögen, abzulehnen. Allein, das konsequente, rückstandslose Löschen bestimmter Begriffe, Bilder und Stereotypen erledigt keinesfalls von selbst die dahinterliegenden Strukturen und Denkweisen. So lange Exklusion und Rassismus nicht verschwunden sind, müssen wir darüber reden und dabei wohl oder übel und gegen alle Berührungsängste auch einige hässliche Wörter in den Mund nehmen und widerliche Bilder zeigen. Denn diese haben nicht nur Geschichte, sondern leider oft genug auch Gegenwart. Wir können nicht in seine Einzelteile zerlegen, was wir nicht anfassen. Die Frage bleibt immer, wann, wo und – vor allem – wie wir das tun.“

Rebecca Jacobson:

„Are there any cases at all when blackfacing can have an artistic purpose? Or is blackfacing (or the N-word) absolutely not allowed on the stage? If that’s the case, what distinguishes that from censorship? If not, how could blackfacing be used in a productive, constructive or useful way?“

Theresa Luise Gindlstrasser:

„Ja: ‚Blackfacing’ ist zu jeder Zeit und an jedem Ort eine rassistische Geste. Dadurch wird eine Geschichte der Ausbeutung und Deklassierung zitiert und also auch fort geführt. Und gleichzeitig, Nein: ‚Blackfacing’ ist wie jede andere Geste zu jeder Zeit und an jedem Ort vor allem auch ein Zitat. Kein geschichtsloses, oder auch kein gesichtsloses, aber wie in jedem Zitat, also wie in jeder Geste überhaupt, liegt eine Möglichkeit zum Bruch. Ein Hoch auf den Bruch! Ein Hoch auf die Verwirrung! Deswegen: Ist ‚Blackfacing’ wirklich per se, für immer, ohne jede weiterführende Überlegung zum Kontext zu verurteilen?“

Valerie Göhring:

„Rassismus ist real. Was wahr ist, darf man sagen. Und zeigen? Den Diskurs hochhalten, aktuell sein, thematisieren. Ja. Stereotypen auf der Bühne reproduzieren? Nein. Das Spannungsverhältnis ist unklar, die Sprache der Bühne besonders, die Kunst Zitate zu erkennen – nicht die jedermanns. Debatte hin oder her, Fettnapf erkannt – und thematisiert. Bitte, bitte, weniger Zynismus, weniger Hass, weniger Verschlossenheit. Von allen.
Denn, ausnahmsweise geht es hier mal nicht nur um Theater, Leute.“