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The Most Unsatisfied Town

Six additional performances of the world premiere production of a new play by Amy Evans, directed by Daniel Brunet

Since he arrived in Germany, Laurence has tried to do everything by the rules. He applied for asylum, waited patiently for his papers and found the kind of job no national would ever care to do. He is friendly to his neighbors, even the ones who tease his children in school, and cooperates with the police when they ask for his help.

He’s found the formula for survival, or so he thinks, until one day his friend Rahim mysteriously disappears. When the body turns up charred beyond recognition, Laurence is thrust to the fore of a civil rights movement and is forced to take a closer look at the town he was so ready to call home.

The Most Unsatisfied Town is based on the true story of Oury Jalloh, who was killed in Dessau police custody on January 7, 2005, and the activists of the Initiative in Remembrance of Oury Jalloh, who spurred an international movement to bring his killers to justice. This play is a fictional story about racism, police violence and life in German cities.

The play is performed in English with German subtitles.

The production also features a lobby exhibition exploring Oury Jalloh, other deaths in police custody throughout Europe and related topics as well as two post-performance discussions on March 10 and March 16.

The discussion on March 10 will be moderated by Noa Ha (Migrationsrat Berlin Brandenburg) with special guest Thomas Ndindah (Initiative in Remembrance of Oury Jalloh) and the discussion on March 16 will be moderated by Sharon Dodua Otoo (Witnessed Series) with special guest Canan Bayram (Berlin’s House of Representatives, Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen)

We are also offering school workshops in cooperation with the Initiative in Remembrance of Oury Jalloh. Student matinees can also be arranged with these workshops on March 13, 14, 15 or 16. Please email tickets (at) etberlin.de for more information.

LogoHKF-M-RGB (Ausschnitt) Supported by Hauptstadtkulturfonds

Photos by Roman Hagenbrock

These photos may be used by giving the author or licensor the credits (CC-BY-3.0-de-license).

Schwarz gemacht

our world premiere production returns for six additional performances!

What is “identity”? What makes us who we are? Who has the right to define us?

Schwarz gemacht_Klaus(ErnestAllanHausmann)(c)Photo by DanielGentelevSet in 1938 Berlin and drawing heavily upon history, the play imagines a story that examines universal questions of self and citizenship primarily through the eyes of a patriotic Afrodeutscher (Afro-German) actor. Proud to serve his country, he appears in propaganda films calling for the return of Germany’s former African colonies. An encounter with an African-American musician and activist leads to hard questions about the treatment of people of color both in Germany and in the United States of America.

Schwarz gemacht is the first project to move completely through English Theatre Berlin | International Performing Arts Center’s new work development series, THE LAB, to receive a full production. It was part of the Colorblind? series of staged readings examining racial identity on stage in 2012 and a two-week workshop was held in December 2013.

Watch the production trailer on YouTube:

 

The production of Schwarz gemacht features an exhibition in our foyer exploring the historical themes of the play.

Post-performance discussions with the artistic team and cast will be offered on Friday, April 17 and Friday, April 24. The event on April 17 is offered in conjunction with Theaterscoutings Berlin.

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The post-performance discussion on Friday, April 24 features playwright Alexander Thomas and will be moderated by Sharon Dodua Otoo, independent writer and editor of the Witnessed Series at Edition Assemblage, an English-languages series dedicated to the work of Black authors who have lived in Germany.

Alexander Thomas  was born and grew up in Albany, New York. He studied acting in New York City at the Stella Adler Studio (among others). His autobiographical solo show Throw Pitchfork ran off-Broadway at New York Theatre Workshop as well as the Kitchen Theatre Company in Ithaca, New York. Throw Pitchfork won a Special Honours Award and was the closing production at the 2004 Thespis International Monodrama Festival in Kiel, Germany. He is one of the contributing writers to the American Slavery Project; Unheard Voices, a monologue play that gives voice to some of the 400 unmarked graves of slaves discovered at the African Burial Grounds unearthed in Manhattan, New York in 1991. This project has been performed in venues throughout New York including the Museum of Natural History. Alexander Thomas has an international career as a stage actor. He was a cast member of the award-winning UK production of On the Waterfront by the esteemed director Steven Berkoff which ran in London’s West End as well the Edinburgh Festival, the Nottingham Playhouse and the Hong Kong Arts Festival.

Production photo: Daniel Gentelev

Oury Jalloh – Oranienplatz – Ohlauer Strasse

The Impact of European Refugee Policy in Europe

Exhibition | Scenic Presentation | Panel Discussion

We commemorate the ten-year anniversary of the death-in-custody of Oury Jalloh with a day of art and action. The event includes a specially commissioned foyer exhibition, the official launch and scenic presentation of the play The Most Unsatisfied Town by Amy Evans, directed by Daniel Brunet, and a panel discussion moderated by Noa Ha, urban researcher (board member of Migrationsrat Berlin-Brandenburg e.V.), with Mouctar Bah, human rights activist (Initiative Oury Jalloh), Canan Bayram, politician (Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen), Eddie Bruce-Jones, legal expert (Oury Jalloh International Independent Commission) and Mai Shutta, human rights activist & refugee (Oranienplatz & Ohlauer Straße).

In cooperation with Sharon Dodua Otoo, Witnessed Series and Africavenir

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Background

In the early hours of 7 January 2005, Oury Jalloh, a man seeking asylum from Sierra Leone, was apprehended by German police authorities in Dessau and shackled by his hands and feet to the floor of a cell furnished with nothing other than a fireproof mattress. Several hours later a fire broke out in the holding facility. Police authorities neglected to respond to fire alarms in a timely manner, and Oury Jalloh was left to burn to death in his cell. Three years later two of the police officers on duty at the time of the incident were prosecuted on charges of wrongful death. The defense argued that Oury Jalloh had intentionally set himself alight with a cigarette lighter concealed in his clothing. After a trial lasting over fifty days, the police officers were acquitted of any wrongdoing.

The Initiative Oury Jalloh, an organization founded by friends and family of the deceased, appealed the verdict, insisting that the trial in Dessau had been mishandled. Five years to the day of Oury Jalloh’s death, the Federal Court of Justice in Karlsruhe overturned the verdict and re-opened the case against the police. This unprecedented decision brought urgent attention to the contentious triangle of asylum policy, racism, and police brutality in Germany and in the European Union as a whole.

The Most Unsatisfied Town by Amy Evans

Since his arrival in Germany as a refugee, Laurence has tried to do everything right, taking the kind of job no national would ever want and making friends with his neighbors, even the families of those who tease his children in school. He’s found the formula for survival, or so he thinks, until one day his closest friend mysteriously disappears. When the body turns up charred beyond recognition, a search for those responsible begins, forcing Laurence to take a closer look at the town he was so ready to call home.

Development of The Most Unsatisfied Town began in September 2009 at the ICI Berlin Institute of Cultural Inquiry and involved direct contact with activists working on the case, including Carl von Ossietzky award recipient Mouctar Bah and Yonas Endrias, Vice President of the Internationale Liga für Menschenrechte. A rough draft of the script was presented to the public in December 2009 at an open workshop hosted by the ICI Berlin, where audience members were encouraged to share their feedback on the work-in-progress. A revised draft of the play incorporating that feedback was presented to the public as a staged reading in April 2010. The script will be published in 2015 by Edition Assemblage as part of Witnessed, a series of new books chronicling the Black experience in Germany.

Amy Evans (playwright) is a New York-based playwright whose work explores the impact of borders, loss and movement on the human spirit. Amy began writing for the stage full-time following the premiere of her award-winning first play, Achidi J’s Final Hours, at the Finborough Theatre in London in 2004. Other plays include Many Men’s Wife (Tricycle Theatre), The Next Question (HB Playwrights Foundation), Unstoned (Soho Theatre), The Big Nickel (Soho Theatre) and The Champion, a new play inspired by the life of Nina Simone. She is an alumnus of the Institute of Cultural Inquiry Kulturlabor in Berlin, Hedgebrook Women Writers’ Residency, BRICStudio Performing Arts Residency and the Tricycle Theatre Writers’ Group. Amy’s plays and poetry have appeared in several publications, including Velocity: The Best of Apples and Snakes performance poetry anthology (Black Spring Press, 2003); Mythen, Masken, Subjekte: Kritische Weißseinforschung in Deutschland (Unrast, 2005), a multi-disciplinary publication on critical whiteness studies in Germany; and How Long Is Never? (Josef Weinberger, 2007), a collection of short plays written in response to the crisis in Darfur. She holds an MA in Theatre Arts from Goldsmiths College.

Sharon Dodua Otoo (Project Coordinator, Limited to You) is a Black British mother, activist, author and editor of the book series Witnessed. She co-edited the first publication of the series The Little Book of Big Visions. How to be an Artist and Revolutionise the World with Berlin-based curator Sandrine Micossé-Aikins (edition assemblage, 2012). Sharon’s first novella the things i am thinking while smiling politely was published in February 2012 (edition assemblage). The German language translation die dinge, die ich denke, während ich höflich lächle, appeared in October 2013. Her latest novella Synchronicity (in German) appeared in August 2014 and will be published in English at the end of 2015. She lives, laughs and works in Berlin.

TERRAIN OF THRESHOLD VOICES

The exhibition and performance project Terrain of Threshold Voices is dedicated to forms of artistic research on language in relation to the transformation of the urban landscape though migratory movements. Inspired by the presence of written expressions (such as advertisements, posters, graffiti, t-shirts, etc) – which take the contemporary city as a textual surface – language phenomena are explored as terrains of friction between different communities.

It connects the ongoing investigation on dissident practices of precarious bodies within the framework of District’s dissident desire with the histories and present narratives of migration in Berlin that are examined by Aliens of Extraordinary Abilities? at English Theatre Berlin. Engaging with the interstices of different languages and cultures of space, Terrain of Threshold Voices manifests in an exhibition as a performative zone of conflict. Moving beyond normative attribution and cultural representation, the exhibition opens a language laboratory of threshold jargons that emerge from transitional states.

The project combines this experimental approach with performative movements throughout the district of Tempelhof-Schöneberg surrounding District Kunst- und Kulturförderung. The site-specific performances by Hanne Lippard and Wilhelm Klotzek take this microcosm as their field of exploration and action. Both the exhibition and the performances in the neighborhoods map out terrains, structures and movements which emerge at intersections and ruptures between different social narratives of Berlin.

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SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

November 13 – December 7, 2013
Exhibition opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday 2 – 6pm

November 12, 2013
6 – 10pm Opening
7pm La langue Schaerbeekoise lecture and discussion by Constant / Peter Westenberg
9pm concert performance by Jaume Ferrete

November 23, 2013
3pm PHONE-IN, CALL OUT. A disembodied tour by Hanne Lippard
6pm Terrain of Threshold Voices – READER Presentation by Pieterjan Grandry & Valentina Karga
8pm Broken Dimanche Press presents Dime Bumshow readings
9pm In-between-ness: creating, writing and living in-between languages, genres and forms lecture and discussion by Camille De Toledo

November 30, 2013
3pm Stätte – Stimme am Subjekt Performance tour through the Kiez by Wilhelm Klotzek
6pm City says lecture and talk by Nasan Tur
7:30pm Touristen fisten ist auch keine Lösung lecture and discussion by Peter Laudenbach

December 7, 2013
3pm Stätte – Stimme am Subjekt Performance tour through the Kiez by Wilhelm Klotzek
4:30pm PHONE-IN, CALL OUT. A disembodied tour by Hanne Lippard
6pm Closing – Performance program in conjunction with dissident desire Chapter 1: Exercises of Critical Bodybuilding with Alicia Frankovich, Emma Haugh, Dafna Maimon, Miryana Todorova

Exhibition

For Terrain of Threshold Voices, Anna Bromley will update her artistic work investigating forms of political expression within the scope of recent protest movement with an eye towards Berlin. In her installation, a karaoke version of protest speeches, the visitors can lend their voices to various political speeches. On November 10, her radio feature A City After Our Heart‘s Desire presented the urban resistance and “their” Berlin. The exhibition also includes Larissa Fassler with new work exploring Berlin’s Schlossplatz (2013), Jaume Ferrete with the video documentation of a choral performance as well as work by Constant and Nasan Tur.

Performance Tours Through the Kiez

Hanne Lippard PHONE-IN, CALL OUT

The phone-persona is delightfully visually shrouded, only surrounding sounds can give your lies away. There are no waterfalls in the city. Prior to our cellphone lives, a phone call had a given time and space, it was an agreement between two distant parts. In a culture depending on a phone to serve as a multi-tasking nomadic gizmo, Hanne Lippard’s call-shop tour is an exploration into the specificity of the phone-call as a fixed act in time as well as location.

November 23, 3pm – Meeting point: District Kunst- und Kulturförderung. Please sign up for the tour by November 21 by sending an email to post@district-berlin.de

December 7, 4:30pm – Meeting point: District Kunst- und Kulturförderung. Please sign up for the tour by December 5 by sending an email to post@district-berlin.de

Wilhelm Klotzek Stätte – Stimme am Subjekt

In his performance Stätte – Stimme am Subjekt, Wilhelm Klotzek connects the location of the Gaststätte (restaurant or public house) with garden colony politics and hardware store cosmoses through bold language sculptures. In the middle of the garden colonies surrouding the Priesterweg S-Bahn station , set off on a daring tour of ideas through territories of growth, construction and do-it-yourselfing. For a short time, you will be part of a movement you didn’t even know existed until now: weclome to the “multitool” club.

November 30, 3pm – Meeting point: SÜDEN Gartenlokal inside the Priesterweg S-Bahn station. Please sign up for the tour by November 28 by sending an email to post@district-berlin.de

December 7, 3pm – Meeting point: Restaurant ZUR ZIEGENWEIDE, opposite the Priesterweg S-Bahn station. Please sign up for the tour by December 5 by sending an email to post@district-berlin.de

Lectures and Discussions

Constant / Peter Westenberg, Nasan Tur, Valentina Karga & Pieterjan Grandry, Camille de Toledo, Peter Laudenbach and Broken Dimanche Press

Constant / Peter Westenberg La langue Schaerbeekoise

The exhibition will be opened by the Belgian collective Constant and a presentation of their long-term project La langue Schaerbeekoise (2010-2013) exploring the further development and renewal of language through various cultural influences.

November 12, 7pm

Pieterjan Grandry & Valentina Karga Terrain of Threshold Voices – READER

Building upon the basis of Valentina Karga’s socio-artistic engagement in the gardens near District and primarily upon its failure, she and Pieterjan Grandry will publish a Reader that includes a selection of text, quotes and references on the topic of the project as well as the individual contributions to the exhibition and can be purchased.

November 23, 6pm

Broken Dimanche Press Dime Bumshow

The editor in chief of the independent publisher BROKEN DIMANCHE PRESS, John Holten, invites artists, writers and performers to participate in Dime Bumshow. Slang, dialects and local expression will be investigated as literary phenomena within the framework of readings.

November 23, 8pm

Camille de Toledo In-between-ness: creating, writing and living in-between languages

Toledo Art Forms is the art platform through which Camille de Toledo writes and creates. From photography to fiction writing to theory to art installation, his work is endlessly designing a space in-between genres, identities and languages. In this performed conference, he will give us a hint of why Zwischenheit is the other name for his 21st century art and politics.

November 23, 9pm

Nasan Tur City says

Berlin-based artist Nasan Tur presents his exploration of international urban spaces for all kinds of graffiti and street poetry in his City says series. He develops various translations such as performances, videos or posters from the text material that connect current political realities with local everyday sayings and subculture expressions. At District, he will present his work Istanbul Says in a lecture and discussion.

November 30, 6pm

Peter Laudenbach Touristen fisten ist auch keine Lösung

Touristen fisten ist auch keine Lösung. Out of principle: I don’t want to have sex with people who consume the city I live in like it’s a picture on a postcard. The tourist is the perfect consumer. The city transforms itself into an amusement park for them. Inhabitants of the city are pieces of decoration or service personnel. In touristy Berlin, Guy Debord’s famous “society of spectacle” has long since become reality.

Peter Laudenbach is a theater critic for the Süddeutsche Zeitung and a theater editor for the city magazine tip. Most of all, however, he enjoys his work for the business magazine brand eins. He has written a  good-humored aggressive book about tourism in Berlin: Die elfte Plage, published by Edition Tiamat.

November 30, 7:30pm

A collaboration between District Kunst- und Kulturförderung and English Theatre Berlin – International Performing Arts Center