Cory asked me to translate the “Augsburger Allgemeine” review of the two plays for all you English-speakers. As I am still in a kind of waking choma after having survived the wolves-and-sheep-experience (can any of you guys already truly believe that it’s over?) and as the article is very German in style, it is, honestly speaking, more of an interpretation than a translation 😉
Anyway, here it is:
Two Modern Fairytales – light as a feather and momentous
That’s what productive intercultural exchange should be like: from the very first moment, the Pittsburgh-Augsburg-Project, a cooperation of the students’ theatre-group “Panoptikum” and Oyster Theater Company, eliminated any lingering doubts about whether the audience would have to witness a forcing together of the utterly disparate into an arbitrary, misfit alliance under the trendy label “interculturalism”.
Rather, the premier of the two one-act plays “You can’t get lost in America” (by Cory Tamler) and “Wer hat Angst vorm bösen Wolf” (by Nora Schüssler) under the motto “Von Wölfen und Schafen” (“Of Wolves and Sheep”) at the Kulturhaus Abraxas managed to put on stage what is typical about the two different cultures.
In America, the art of narrating a good story is held in high esteem. Cory Tamler follows that tradition with her one-act play about two German siblings (a sprightly Lauren Diesch and Vinzenz Martlreiter, portraying the brother struggling with both fate and his sister); the play is well-crafted; the story is told very carefully, suspensefully and yet with utter ease – Tamler’s narrative is as delightfully light as a feather. The two siblings get lost in the Grand Canyon. Their descent into the chasm becomes a fantastical adventure. They meet a talking raven (strong deliverance by Ulrike Schwarz) and a gluttonous squirrel (an enchanting Julia Hisserich), their minds boggling.
After intermission, Schüssler’s play, which has all the attributes of an experiment, put on stage all the momentous force that is typical for the German approach to art in all its manifestations: five gravely ill people await death in a house they can’t leave. The artist Wolfgang (a captivating, laid-back and authentic performance by Parag S. Gohel) wants to do a filmic interpretation of “Little Red Ridinghood”, to create in cooperation with the others a work that will outlast them. Ines (both victim and culprit, very convincingly played by Mareike Schemmerling) and Timo (Bastian Gierull, in parts over-acted) are unable to admit to each other how exactly it was they contracted the deadly illness.
Constant Shift between German and English
The disparate German and American mentalities manifest themselves clearly in both choice and treatment of the topics dealt with in the respective plays – one catchy and suspenseful, the other unwieldy and hard to master. Both authors, nevertheless, succeeded admirably in melding the German and English language together into one coherent text. The constant shift between German and English worked quite naturally, as if it were nothing but common practice to put a bilingual play on stage.
German-American theatrical cooperation also worked as far as the individual actors were concerned, coming together from both Pittsburgh and Augsburg. The German students were faced with a particular challenge, as their fellow actors from Pittsburgh had all studied drama and theatre – a subject not common at German universities. The American performances were all characterised by an admirable authenticity which contrasted with the German students’ acting-style, at times weighed down by too much pathos and unnatural ‘stage-speak’. Nevertheless, everybody involved deserved the roaring applause!
Special Material: Bloopers
Remember the me-being-in-a-waking-choma-thing? Well, here is what happens, if I try to translate something while being in that state:
Two Modern Fairytails
– I leave it to your imagination what exactly that might be …
– Nice alternative name, Vinz?
Cory’s carful storytelling
– What are all those cars doing in the Grand Canyon?