Eyes in Amazement 

On the question of knowing

In “Geschichte des Dramas” Erika Fischer-Lichte commences with the famous quote from the Temple of Apollo in Delphi: γνῶθι σεαυτόν (know thyself).  As soon as you read the statement, you must either enter or leave. To know yourself, you must encounter someone else. This conditio humana, according to her, translates well to theatre itself. Through the actors, we can think through who we are and how we reflect that state of being. Essentially, theatre as a social institution brings us together to explore our identities – a tradition that dates back to ancient times.[1]

What a coincidence that, on the 60th anniversary of the Theatertreffen, we are going to circle around the question: Who has the privilege to ‘not know’…? In addition to that – and inspired by Apollo – I would like to ask another Dionysian question: Who is left fatally isolated by the state of not-knowing? I ask this question because every single curiosity – also the one about ourselves, maybe even especially so – connects us to others. And that’s because the real sign of aging is not wrinkled faces, but eyes that can no longer marvel.

I really look forward to experiencing not only performances in the darkness of the theatre halls, but also to exploring them equally with the people who were not there – and with those sitting next to me. I am fascinated about communicating with both Berliners and other earthlings at each Treffen. When I think about the potential dialogues evoked by Theatertreffen between stage and other forms of art and life, I would like Hamlet to accompany me during in the festival, complaining about mere “words, words, words”….

[1]   Fischer-Lichte / Erika: Geschichte des Dramas: Epochen der Identität auf dem Theater von der Antike bis zur Gegenwart. Augsburg: Francke Verlag 1990, S.4.)