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Blog Archive

Hanoch Levin

Staged Reading and Panel Discussion

Israeli dramatist Hanoch Levin and his translations into German – staged reading, panel discussion and book launch: Die im Dunkeln gehen

Hanoch Levin (1943–1999) was the most important Israeli dramatist of the 20th century, whose work left important artistic and socio-political marks on the Israeli theater. Today, his plays are part of the canon in Israel and are frequently produced. Levin is also well known and performed in other countries, especially France and Poland, while many of his plays remain yet to be discovered in Germany.

Translations and productions must help to make this happen. Matthias Naumann published the first German monograph on Levin (Dramaturgie der Drohung. Das Theater des israelischen Dramatikers und Regisseurs Hanoch Levin. Marburg: Tectum 2006) and initiated the first German-language productions with his translations of Levin’s plays. Now six of Levin’s plays will appear for the first time in German translation in the anthology Die im Dunkeln gehen (Berlin: Neofelis Verlag 2022).

Israeli theater studies scholar Freddie Rokem and translator Matthias Naumann will present the new book Die im Dunkeln gehen and together with Barbora Schnelle (who will moderate the discussion) and director Antje Thoms, who directed the first German-language production of Levin’s Das Kind träumt in Augsburg in 2018, will discuss which of Levin’s plays are interesting for German-language stages and audiences, along with which challenges they pose to translations and         productions.

In a staged reading, we will present excerpts from Das Kind träumt and other plays from the book Hanoch Levin: Die im Dunkeln. Levin’s best-known play, Das Kind träumt, draws on historical experiences of persecution and tells the story of a mother and her child’s flight from soldiers to the land of dead children, where the Messiah is supposed to appear. Die Kofferpacker, in contrast, is a comedy that draws the lives of several families in a flurry of short scenes between departures, returns and unfulfilled dreams, and between weddings and funerals.

Freddie Rokem is Professor Emeritus at the Department of Theater at Tel Aviv University, where he was Dean of the Faculty of the Arts (2002–2006) and held the Emanuel Herzikowitz Chair for the Arts of the 19th and 20th Centuries (2006–2016). He has been a guest professor at various universities, such as the Freie Universität Berlin, the Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main and the University of Chicago. The following of his books have been published in German translation: Geschichte aufführen. Darstellungen der Vergangenheit im Gegenwartstheater (2012) and TheaterDenken. Begegnungen und Konstellationen zwischen Philosophen und Theatermachern (2017). Rokem also works as a dramaturg and translator.

 

 

Antje Thoms studied applied theater studies in in Gießen and was then an assistant director at the Niedersächsisches Staatstheater Hannover. There she worked with directors including Sebastian Nübling, Luk Perceval and Jossi Wieler. Since 2003, she has worked as a freelance director and writer, and in 2007 founded the independent Zürcher Theaterformation Trainingslager with the writer Jens Nielsen and actor Dominique Müller. From 2014/15 to 2021/22, Antje Thoms was house director at the Theater Göttingen and starting in the 2022/23 season is director of drama at the Theater Regensburg.

 

 

Matthias Naumann is a writer, translator and publisher. Since 2011, he has been the director of Neofelis Verlag, Berlin, which published the series Drama Panorama – Neue internationale Theatertexte. His plays have been invited to the Autorentheatertagen and to the Heidelberger Stückemarkt, since 2014 he has mainly worked as part of the collaborative theater group Futur II Konjunktiv. He also translates plays from Hebrew.

 

 

 

We are very pleased to partner with Drama Panorama to host this event. Please click HERE to read the complete event information on their website.

Roman Sikora

Staged Reading and Panel Discussion

Roman Sikora is an explicitly political writer who analyses the power structures of a society dominated by market economics in his work in grotesque form. Translator Barbora Schnelle has been working with Roman Sikora for many years. This has now culminated in the publication of the anthology Frühstück mit Leviathan (Berlin: Neofelis 2021).

The playwright Roman Sikora and his translator Barbora Schnelle will present the new book Frühstück mit Leviathan and discuss with publisher Matthias Naumann (who will moderate the discussion) the path Sikora’s plays took onto German stages and the importance of translating and publishing contemporary international drama. Extracts from the plays Frühstück mit LeviathanDrei Tage oder Abstieg und Aufstieg des Herrn B. and Auf dem Weg zum Sieg from the book Roman Sikora: Frühstück mit Leviathan will also be read in a staged reading.

In the play Frühstück mit Leviathan, the guests invited to breakfast with the richest businessman in the world don’t have any scruples when it comes to getting richer themselves. The hero of his comedy Drei Tage oder Abstieg und Aufstieg des Herrn B. makes a career as a cunning banker. After an accident, he ends up on the street and, when he is robbed of every last cent, experiences the dark side of capitalism. The play Auf dem Weg zum Sieg leads us into the ranks of the k. u. k. army in the First World War and investigates the mentality of the war machine.

After completing his training, Roman Sikora worked as an electrician and mechanic at the steelworks in his hometown of Třinec, before he studied directing and dramaturgy at the Janáček Academy for Music and the Performaing Arts in Brno. Today he works as a freelance playwright and theater critic, translates from Polish (e.g. Małgorzata Sikorska-Miszczuk) and teaches playwriting at the faculty of theater at the the Academy of Musical Arts in Prague. Sikora’s plays have been translated into many languages and performed internationally.

 

 

Barbora Schnelle works as a freelance translator, theater critic and culture manager. In 2009, with Antje Oegel, she founded the project Drama Panorama: Forum für Übersetzung und Theater. In 2014 she founded the festival of contemporary Czech theater Ein Stück: Tschechien in Berlin, which she has run and curated since then.

 

 

 

We are very pleased to partner with Drama Panorama to host this event. Please click HERE to read the complete event information on their website.

Lydia Stryk

The U.S. EMBASSY LITERATURE SERIES – Lydia Stryk reads from her new novel The Teachers´ Room.

A novice fifth-grade teacher embarks on a clandestine love affair with another teacher, which sets her on the tumultuous path of self-discovery.

It is 1963, one of the most turbulent years in American history. The escalating tensions and conflicts in society at large are playing out in classrooms, principals’ offices, and school boards across the country, along with the first stirrings of social transformation, though the past still holds its suffocating grip. And behind the closed door of the teachers’ room in one small Midwest town, two teachers set eyes on each other and find it hard to look away.

Karen Murphy, fresh from college, has taken on her first teaching job. Despite her best efforts, she can’t seem to stick to the subjects in her fifth-grade school books, helped along by the antics of a girl who upends all her lesson plans. She has a lot to learn, and her women colleagues are there to offer their advice, especially the enigmatic fourth-grade teacher, Esther Jonas. As Karen quickly discovers, the devoted spinster teacher with no life beyond the classroom is a myth—the school is teeming with passion and secrets, her own perilous desire for Esther Jonas included.

The Teachers’ Room offers both a panoramic view of a changing America and an intimate portrait of the hidden lives of teachers.

Award-winning playwright Lydia Stryk was born and raised in DeKalb, Illinois, birthplace of barbed wire and flying ears of corn. Her plays have been produced across the United States and also in Germany, including American Tet and Lady Lay at English Theatre Berlin. The Teachers’ Room is her first novel, a process she describes in her essay, “A Playwright Crosses the Border Into Fiction”.

Photograph: Jo. van Norden

Multilingualism in Theater

Panel Discussion and Staged Readings

Confini by Ian De Toffoli. Premiere: July 3, 2021, Campania Teatro Festival, Naples, Directed by Davide Sacco. © Donato Aquaro

There are currently a noticeably large number of authors who write multilingual plays and receive recognition for it. For example, Sivan Ben Yishai’s multilingual play Wounds Are Forever (Selbstportrait als Nationaldichterin) won the most important prize for contemporary drama in German, the Mülheim Drama Prize, in 2022. But what path do multilingual texts take in a theater culture traditionally focused on German as the dominant written and literary language? Can multilingual writing change the theatrical and literary canon? What does the increasing collaboration of translators on original multilingual texts mean for the notion of a “German-language theater”? How does the concept of multilingualism relate to the concept of diversity?

In our panel discussion, we will talk with the playwrights, translators and theater makers Elise Wilk, Ian De Toffoli and Thomas Perle about the significance of multilingual theater texts in contemporary theater. Together, we will take a look to the future, asking what new forms of writing for theater might emerge from a multilingual production and performance practice and, conversely, how multilingual plays, not written for a particular production in a particular venue, anticipate a transformation of theater yet to come. We consider what role translators will play in multilingual theater practice and writing and discuss the possibility of a translatory turn in theater studies. We will ask about the significance of multilingual drama in countries such as Luxembourg and Romania. Together, we will draw a differentiated picture of multilingual writing for the stage as a political strategy and aesthetic process.

The discussion will alternate with short staged readings of new multilingual plays. In this way, we will demonstrate the potential multilingual writing is already unlocking now and how it can develop in future.

We are very pleased to partner with Drama Panorama to host this event. Please click HERE to read the complete event information on their website.

Millennial Surrealism

The U.S. EMBASSY LITERATURE SERIES – Millennial Surrealism: Hilary Leichter in conversation with Teresa Bücker

Hilary Leichter is the current Picador Guest Professor for Literature at the University of Leipzig. She is the author of the novel Temporary which casts a hilarious and tender eye toward the struggle for happiness under late capitalism. The German translation Die Hauptsache was published by Arche Verlag in 2021. Her next novel, Terrace Story, will be published in the summer of 2023 by Ecco.

Teresa Bücker works as a freelance journalist, moderator and consultant. At conferences, in magazines, on television and in workshops, she regularly discusses the changing world of work, justice, power, sexual empowerment and digital strategies for journalism. On October 19, 2022, her first nonfiction book Alle_ Zeit. Eine Frage von Macht und Freiheit will be published by Ullstein Verlag.

On September 12, Hilary Leichter will read from her debut novel Temporary and talk with Teresa Bücker about capitalism and the impact on our lives, temporary work, feminism, power, freedom, literature and the Picador Guest Professorship.

 

 

Parataxe – International Literature

What languages does Berlin write in? In varying locations, PARATAXE regularly invites Berlin authors, who pen their work in languages other than German, to take part in conversations, readings and new translations.

With Aboud Saeed (& his translator Sandra Hetzl) and Avrina Prabala-Joslin!

An evening in German, English and Arabic – with translations. Hosted by Martin Jankowski (Berliner Literarische Aktion).

Aboud Saeed was born in 1983 in a small town near Aleppo, Syria where he worked in a blacksmith’s workshop for 15 years. Then he became an active blogger on Facebook. After his first book, Der klügste Mensch im Facebook mit Statusmeldungen, was published in German translation in 2013, he came to Germany as a Syrian author. He continued writing in Berlin, between asylum and alienation, and his life-sized news ticker, about childhood and youth in Syria, was published. He returned to his first profession as a metalworker in Olafur Eliasson’s studio. His new book Die ganze Geschichte has recently been published.

Sandra Hetzl was born in Munich in 1980 and lives in Beirut. She studied Visual Culture Studies at the Berlin University of the Arts. She works as a literary translator from Arabic and makes video installations. In addition, she is the brain behind 10/11. A laboratory and, simultaneously, a mouthpiece for experimental forms of Arabic literature, 10/11 is based in Beirut and Berlin. The collective consists of writers, translators and international publishing professionals. 10/11 makes texts (often snatched from the depths of the WWW) by young writers working in Arabic accessible to the international publishing market and strives to nurture dynamic exchange.

Avrina Prabala-Joslin writes fiction and poetry on the fluidity of things, place, space and time. She is obsessed with memories, of childhood – they pervade and evade, an ebb and flow characteristic of her desire for the sea. Currently, she is a doctoral researcher at the University of Göttingen and is working on theorizing feminist digital memory. She has an MA in writing from the University of Warwick and has published on a few platforms such as Elsewhere Lit, Bird’s Thumb and Coldnoon. Apart from performing at spoken word events, she posts snippets of poetry on Instagram (@avrinajoslin). Her short story “The Plumage” was shortlisted for the 2019 Berlin Writing Prize. Avrina Prabala-Joslin is currently compiling a collection of feminist short fiction. After having lived in many cities in India, England, Italy and Romania, she recently found home in Berlin.

PARATAXE is a project of the Berliner Literarische Aktion e.V. and is supported by Berlin’s Senate Department for Culture and Europe. Further information can be found at www.stadtsprachen.de.

Nick Laird

Nick Laird is a lawyer, poet, novelist and critic from County Tyrone, Northern Ireland.

He lives in London and New York. His essays, reviews and poems have appeared in various journals in Britain and America. Nick Laird’s most recent books are the poetry collection Feel Free and the novel Modern Gods. He is on faculty at New York University, and the Seamus Heaney Professor of Poetry at Queens’ University, Belfast.

The British Council Literature Seminar “Neu NI Now” 

will feature contemporary writing from Northern Ireland 24 – 26 February 2022.

Glenn Patterson, the renowned novelist, non-fiction writer and Director at the Seamus Heaney Centre at Queen’s University Belfast will chair the British Council Literature Seminar 2022. Northern Irish writers Nick Laird, Lucy Caldwell, Abby Oliveira, Michelle Gallen, Bebe Ashley and Padraig Reagan will present readings, discussions, and workshops

The seminar will consist of two public readings by Glenn Patterson and Nick Laird, a spoken word performance by Abby Oliveira , readings by Michelle Gallen and Lucy Caldwell, two panel discussions and four author-led workshops.

The seminar will offer academics, students, publishers, translators and journalists from across Europe the chance to experience some of the best of Northern Irish literature and engage with writers and their work first-hand.

Read more about the British Council Literature Seminar here.

Glenn Patterson

Renowned Norther Irish author and Director of the Seamus Heaney Centre Belfast Glenn Patterson will read from (quote) “New books, older books and maybe a couple of things on which the ink has only just dried” The session will be moderated by Prof. Felix Sprang and is the opening of the British Council Literature Seminar 2022 Neu NI Now featuring contemporary writing from Northern Ireland

Glenn Patterson will read from his latest works “Where Are We Now?” and “The Last Irish Question: Will Six into Twenty-Six Ever Go?”

  The British Council Literature Seminar “Neu NI Now” 

will feature contemporary writing from Northern Ireland, 24 – 26 February 2022.

Glenn Patterson, the renowned novelist, non-fiction writer and Director at the Seamus Heaney Centre at Queen’s University Belfast will chair the British Council Literature Seminar 2022. Northern Irish writers Nick Laird, Lucy Caldwell, Abby Oliveira, Michelle Gallen, Bebe Ashley and Padraig Reagan will present readings, discussions, and workshops.

The seminar will consist of two public readings by Glenn Patterson and Nick Laird, a spoken word performance by Abby Oliveira , readings by Michelle Gallen and Lucy Caldwell, two panel discussions and four author-led workshops.

The seminar will offer academics, students, publishers, translators and journalists from across Europe the chance to experience some of the best of Northern Irish literature and engage with writers and their work first-hand.

Read more about the British Council Literature Seminar here.

Funding for Translation in Theater

Panel Discussion

“International, cultural dialogue, looking beyond your own backyard” – many theaters use catchphrases like this to market their seasons. But in order to present foreign-language plays on German stages, these first need to be translated.

Audiences in the theaters of large cities are becoming increasingly international. Many theaters now plan foreign-language surtitling (often English) from the beginning to make theater accessible for as many people as possible. For these surtitles too, texts need to be translated competently from the German.

Unfortunately, neither the theaters nor the publishers have enough money in their budgets to pay for this adequately. Theaters are being forced to resort to tougher and tougher savings strategies, and things will no doubt get harder due to Covid-19. Theater publishers are struggling to survive and international plays are often not even taken into the publisher’s catalogue, since the higher costs associated with them due to uncertain royalty returns most likely cannot be covered.

We will provide an overview of different funding models and programs, discuss how these programs can be designed with the guests, and analyze how theater translation can be communicated to and represented in the funding bodies. Can the current funding models meet the actual needs of theater translators? Are there different approaches in other countries? How can we think about new models? What about cooperative projects? How can requirements be communicated? We want to inspire new ideas and create synergies, and put the main focus on the needs of the theater translators.

We are very pleased to partner with Drama Panorama to host this event. Please click HERE to read the complete event information on their website.

Before the event gets underway, we would like to ask you to participate anonymously in our survey (in German) on the topic of support of theater translation – please do so by October 24 via this link.

Multilingualism in Theater

A Panel Discussion and Reading

Our society is a postmigrant society. It has changed again and again due to countless waves of migration, has become richer and more diverse as a result and is shaped by the coexistence of lots of languages and language regions that mutually influence each other.

How is this situation reflected in today’s theater? The German theater is the child of nationalism. But for a while now, the narrative of the national theater is being rewritten. Are multilingual productions a possible answer to our postnational social reality? For what purpose are multiple languages used and what effect do they have? How are multilingual plays written? And how are they translated?

At our evening event, we will talk to theater-makers who are creating new and groundbreaking models of multilingualism for the stage, and read from multilingual plays. In the workshop we will talk to writers and translators working in multiple languages, analyze linguistic aspects of the topic and discuss the texts with the selected participants.

We are very pleased to partner with Drama Panorama to host this event. Please click HERE to read the complete event information on their website.