Theatertreffen

The 2018 Festival

A place for contemporary controversy

Rarely has a Theatertreffen-selection consisted of such a broad spectrum of narrative aesthetics as this year’s. They ranged from Ulrich Rasche’s strictly formal machine-theatre staging of Georg Büchner’s “Woyzeck” via Frank Castorf’s expressive “Faust”-deconstruction, the virtuoso solo performance presented by actor Joachim Meyerhoff in Jan Bosse’s interpretation of Thomas Melle’s “Die Welt im Rücken (The World at your Back)”, Anta Helena Recke’s appropriation-art version of “Mittelreich” to Karin Henkel’s radically feminine reading of the Trojan War in “BEUTE FRAUEN KRIEG”. There was lively speculation about discursive threads inherent in the selection. Theatertreffen-juror Christian Rakow discerned a connective line in the increasingly technical, engineered approaches to the world, whereas juror Eva Behrendt saw a common denominator in a critical questioning of tried and trusted certainties. I felt that the development of counter-(hi)stories and the subjective perception of realities on the part of marginalised individuals constituted a common characteristic. One thing the selection presented beyond all its differences: A celebration of brilliant actor-personalities.

Ultimately, what connects or does not connect the selection is in the eye of the beholder. And it is precisely the diversity of perceptions, attitudes and tastes which made this Theatertreffen so vibrant. An exciting place for contemporary controversies and dialectic thought, it invited a varied examination of the theatre, art and society.

The Stückemarkt added to the German-language perspective of the selection of ten productions by presenting works from other European countries in cooperation with the Federal Agency for Civic Education/bpb: Three new plays in staged readings as well as three performances illustrated this year’s motto of “Divided World”. Through a public jury discussion, a commission of work was awarded to the Israeli author Maya Arad Yasur. This commission entails a world premiere of a new work at Schauspiel Köln.

The platform Shifting Perspectives, initiated last year in cooperation with the Goethe-Institut, broadened our angle beyond the German-language theatres and into the world, opening the festival to non-European points of view. Interdisciplinary projects from Brazil, Israel, Lebanon, Kenya and Singapore examined issues of identity construction and the overwriting of history, creating a bridge to the “counter-(hi)stories” of the selection of ten.

The new discourse format TT Context explored “Unlearning” as a figure of thought and aimed at a critical examination of existing stores of knowledge and habitual patterns of thinking. In four pointed topical investigations, the discussions centred on structural gender inequalities in the German theatre sector, hegemonic interpretations of history and constructions of identity, on empathy and processes of economic redistribution and on grids of reception and perception in the theatre.

Yet another cause for celebration: The Theatertreffen-blog saw its ten-year anniversary and intensified the great debates of previous festival editions as well as the current one in essays written by former members of the Theatertreffen-blog and investigated current issues of the theatre. The Theatre Prize by the Foundation Preußische Seehandlung went to director Karin Henkel this year, whose work has already been invited to the Theatertreffen seven times. Actor Benny Claessens received the Alfred Kerr Acting Prize for his brilliant performance in Falk Richter’s production of Jelinek’s “Am Königsweg (The Royal Road)”. The 3sat Prize went to actor Wiebke Puls, who shone in Christopher Rüping’s production of Brecht’s “Trommeln in der Nacht (Drums in the Night)”.

18 eventful days of remarkable theatre, new plays and performances, international perspectives, controversial discussions and encounters lie behind us. Our sincere thanks are due to you, dear audience, for your loyalty, passion and openness for the unexpected! Have patience, because the next month of May will surely come, and with it, so will the next Theatertreffen!

Daniel Richter
Director Theatertreffen (parental leave replacement)

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Theatertreffen

Database 1964-2018

The database with all productions, theatres and directors since 1964 as well as the Stückemarkt authors.