Matt Cornish

Matt Cornish, geboren 1983 in Los Angeles, hat einen Master of Fine Arts in Dramaturgie und Theaterkritik der Yale School of Drama. Derzeit macht er in Yale seinen Doctor of Fine Arts, dieses Jahr in Berlin im Rahmen eines Fulbright-Stipendiums. In seiner Dissertation untersucht er, wie deutsche Regisseure und Dramatiker seit 1989 die Geschichte der deutschen Teilung im Theater benutzt oder dargestellt haben. Er schreibt unter anderem für die Zeitschriften Theater, PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art und TheatreForum.


Alle Artikel von Matt Cornish

8. Mai 2011 - 22:13 Uhr

Write a Play, Practice Remembrance

Mayor BEFORE and AFTER (Tilo Nest), Miss Beautiful (Jenny Schily), Mayor of New York (Bernd Moss). Photo: Piero Chiussi

I sat down for a short discussion with Polish playwright Małgorzata Sikorska-Miszczuk after the staged reading of her play Burmistrz, The Mayor.

Shifting around in time (the title character appears as both the Mayor Before and After), The Mayor explores the costs of remembrance and the costs of willful forgetting in a small town in Poland. One character, the Penitent German, has become paralyzed by the weight of his father’s murders around his neck. A chorus of young Polish townspeople on the other hand, though proud of their historical monument (a monument apparently without memorial function), have no interest in discovering the roles their fathers played in the massacre of the town’s Jewish population during World War II—much less in taking on the associated guilt. After visits by the Mother of God and the Mayor of New York, the Mayor of this Polish town tries discover the truth. But his constituents ironically bury him under the town’s memorial. The Mayor was translated into German and English for the Stückemarkt, and is available at the Goethe-Institut’s Theatre Library.

What was the process of preparing your play, The Mayor, for this staged reading?

It wasn’t a long process. The director, Nina Gühlstorff, and I discussed the whole story via emails beforehand. Then I attended the rehearsal in the afternoon, watched the whole play, and spoke with Nina.

What was it like seeing The Mayor in German, a language you don’t speak?

It was actually quite a privilege not to understand the language at all. I could relax because had no idea how the audience was reacting, whether they liked it at all!

Your play revolves around the mayor of a small town in Poland, who works to remember a town’s horrible past. How did you create this figure?

There’s actually a real mayor I read about in the newspaper. In his town during World War II, perhaps inspired by the German army, people murdered their Jewish neighbors. The President of Poland was invited to a big commemoration of the massacre in 2001, but the mayor was the only one trying to discover the truth, that Polish people had committed these crimes. He was the only one who put the truth above the self-image of Poland: we were always the victims, not the murderers. The mayor was dismissed from his post, and he moved to Chicago and changed his name so as not to be recognized by the Polish community there. I wanted to say thank you to him with this play.

How do you personally practice remembrance?

I write a play.

Playwright Sikorska-Miszuk (centre) Photo: Piero Chiussi


8. Mai 2011 - 15:44 Uhr

Waters Rising

Elfriede Jelinek and Karin Beier explore natural, man-made disasters.

From left to right: Thomas Loibl; Lina Beckmann; Susanne Barth; in the foreground: Kathrin Wehlisch. Photo: Klaus Lefebvre.

Waves of light ripple across the ceiling of the Berliner Festspielhaus auditorium. In the slowly spreading lake below, a woman, covered in mud and naked but for her underpants, battles and screws and dances with a shirtless man, his chest painted blue. Behind this elemental battle, sand pours from the heavens, a women reads a newspaper, and a man taps on a laptop. Another flips through a binder. While humanity invents ever new ways to please and progress, the feminine earth tumbles on the floor with the masculine water: the sky caves in, the flood keeps spreading, but nobody is responsible. “It’s possible for everybody to do everything correctly and still reach a faulty outcome,” a political voice broadcast over loudspeakers assures us. In these final moments of Elfriede Jelinek’s three-and-a-half hour The Work / In the Bus / A Collapse, I look up over my head at the rippling light, and feel like I am covered with water.

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6. Mai 2011 - 9:30 Uhr

Plagiacriticism: Berlin’s ‚Theatre Meeting‘ Explained

Guttenberg introduces the Theatertreffen

Dr. Herr Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, the former German defense minister better known to some as Baron Cut-and-Paste, hasn’t had much to do since resigning recently in an overblown scandal, so he kindly offered his services to us as a guest blogger. In his first post, Guttenberg gives you, lovely reader, a high-octane English introduction to this year’s Theatertreffen – and be sure to check back, because he’ll return throughout the festival to offer his thoughts on the various productions and German theatre in general.

You simply cannot miss the 2011 Theatertreffen („theatre meeting“)! This Berlin festival has been hosting this exhibition of the German language theatre landscape ever since 1964. Experience new trends and controversial themes from 6th to 23rd May with the ten most notableoutstanding, exciting and innovative productions from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.

Some complain that the Theatertreffen is just a hit parade of “winners” that reduces to losers the unnamed works not selected (often for political reasons). And every theatre student knows that German drama is more or less a comedy-free zone. Hell, let’s face it, some pieces can be difficult to watch. Weiterlesen »

3. Mai 2011 - 15:36 Uhr

The first press conference – live

Live-blogging  (almost – there were some internet problems) the first press conference of Theatertreffen 2011.

All are gathering, getting their swag, drinking some coffee, and flipping through the program books. The contestants today are:

Herbert Fritsch, director of Nora and Biberpelz, two of this year’s invited productions.
Iris Laufenberg, the artistic director of the Theatertreffen.
Aino Laberenz, the costume designer for Via Intolleranza II and widow of Christoph Schlingensief.
Joachim Sartorius, the director of the Berliner Festspiele.

Links bis rechts: Joachim Sartorius, Aino Laberenz, Iris Laufenberg, Joachim Sartorius. Foto Yehuda Swed.

Grete Götze and I are blogging behind the scenes – sitting behind the public on heaters.

Germans are not as always punktlich as we foreigners are led to believe: everybody’s mixing and the press conference doesn’t seem ready to start anytime soon. They may be Germans, but they’re also theatre people…

And here we go! The conference has begun with a lot of promises that the building here, which is currently under major renovations costing €15 million, will actually be ready when the festival officially opens this Friday, the sixth (the Germans had better be punktlich with this). Behind us, outside, the construction crews are working like crazy.

And apparently Sartorius just got back from New York City this morning. I’ve done that flight several times, and I cannot imagine leading a press conference a couple hours after the overnight lands.

Weiterlesen »

31. März 2011 - 12:16 Uhr


Räume, in denen man auf berühmte Touristenattraktionen klettern kann (Agathe Snows „All Access World“); ein Video, in dem Katzen auf Klavieren herumlaufen, während Arnold Schönbergs Opus 1-11 erklingt (Cory Arcangels „Cute Kittens“); eine Inszenierung, in der die Schauspieler das Stereotype ihrer Charaktere und Geschichten erkennen und benutzen („Verrücktes Blut“ von Nurkan Erpulat und Jens Hillje): Diese Kunstwerke zeigen eine Grenze auf, die wir vorher vielleicht nicht erkannten, und öffnen sie. Weiterlesen »