Cry for justice – recommendations from the SZ editorial team – culture

Cry for justice – recommendations from the SZ editorial team – culture

Book: “Status Quote” about sexism at the Theatertreffen

Sometimes a well-placed nudge is enough to get things moving. Yvonne Büdenholzer, the then artistic director of the Berlin Theatertreffen, succeeded in doing just such a nudge four years ago with the introduction of an initially irritating regulation. Since then, a binding quota has ensured that at least half of the ten productions invited to the Theatertreffen must come from a female director. The quota for women directors is without question an interference with the decision-making freedom of the actually independent selection jury. In addition, it is a non-artistic formality at a festival that should really only be about artistic quality. There was also a bit of a rumble at the time, presumably there were a few voices that sighed either about “wokeness impertinence”, “quota women” or “cancel culture”. Four Theatertreffen years later, the female director quota is a matter of course, if only because it has obviously done the festival good. A glance at the festival’s earlier decades is enough to be alarmed by the structural misogyny of the Theatertreff as a reflection of the theater business. In the first 50 years, exactly 40 of the 500 invited productions came from women directors: less than a tenth.

Now the theater critics Sabine Leucht, Petra Paterno and Katrin Ullmann are taking stock in enlightening, clever and personal interviews with the directors who have been invited to the Theatertreffen since 2020. Very few are happy with the quota – especially not with the fact that it was obviously urgently needed: “The women’s quota was introduced so that it would abolish itself,” says director Claudia Bauer. For Helgard Haug from “Rimini-protokoll” it is simply an act of “self-defence”, and Anne Lenk dryly states “that there has been a secret quota for men for years”. Because in the talks you learn a lot about production conditions, working methods and bastions of sexism in the theatre learns, the interview book (Status Quote, Theater im Umbruch. Henschel Verlag) is likely to be the most exciting theater reading of the year. Peter Laudenbach

Poetry: “Yuba” by Albert Ostermaier

Favorites of the week: Albert Ostermaier: Yuba.  Poems, Steidl Verlag, Göttingen 2023, 64 pages.  18 euros.

Albert Ostermaier: Yuba. Poems, Steidl Verlag, Göttingen 2023, 64 pages. 18 euros.

(Photo: Steidl Verlag)

Yuba is a region in Northern California, “Yuba” is the name of Albert Ostermaier’s new volume of poetry. The basis of inspiration is the work “The Parochial Segments” by photographer Maya Mercer, glowing landscapes, empty, desolate. Ostermaier sets the images to music with his language, fills them with life, tells of the harshness of this area, of violence, drugs, manslaughter, of the slaughterhouse. Everything is determined by a deadly patriarchy, by the wounds left by colonialism. “Beating choked in heavy men’s hands, pushed into the dirt and taken like a chicken that has its throat cut.” The sentences race across the ends of the lines, cinema, intoxication. And then: the envelope. The self-empowerment of the black population, overcoming, new life. Very strong, hard stuff. Egbert Tholl

Leipzig: Wave Gothic Meeting

Favorites of the week: From left to right: Xenia, Manni and Robin from North Rhine-Westphalia.

From left to right: Xenia, Manni and Robin from North Rhine-Westphalia.

(Photo: Hendrik Schmidt/dpa)

Not only thousands of exceptionally polite and peaceful people come to the Wave-Gotik-Treffen every Pentecost Leipzig, a wonderful illusion comes with them for four days: Everyone could, everything could be completely different. At Europe’s largest meeting of the black scene, norms were broken even before insistence on compliance became a popular sport in the media. Anything that pleases is also allowed on the 30th WGT – from ankle bells that ring merrily with every step of a massive man, to prudent women who warn their husbands when they take a seat in the church for the black service (“Be careful, your skirt!”) to the home radio station MDR, which is already more than ready for the Wave-Gotik-Treffen in its online offer, also in terms of service journalism, headline: “You should have seen these five cemeteries in Leipzig”. Cornelius Pollmer

Classic: Hans Werner Henze’s “Royal Winter Music”

“Now is the winter of our discontent”, is how Richard Gloucester begins the opening monologue in Shakespeare’s drama “Richard III.”. This “winter of our dissatisfaction”, as Schlegel/Tieck once translated, inspired Hans Werner Henze for the title of his great guitar music cycle “Royal Winter Music”, the two parts of which he composed in 1975/76 and 1979 and gave to the legendary British lutenist and guitarist Julian Bream (1933 -2020) dedicated. Bream also worked with the composer, who could and should fully exploit the instrumental and tonal possibilities of the guitar. Bream expected nothing less from this music in terms of quality, difficulty and future effect for the guitar than a counterpart to what Ludwig van Beethoven’s revolutionary “Hammerklavier Sonata” means for piano music. Oddly enough, he only premiered the first part, not the later second. Henze called both parts of the “Royal Winter Music” sonatas. But they are much more a far-reaching dance of Shakespearean spirits: after the evil Gloucester, later Richard III., come Romeo and Juliet, Ophelia, Ariel, Touchstone, Audrey and William from “As You Like It” and Oberon. In the second part Junker Christoph von Bleichenwang, Zettel’s dream and the insane Lady Macbeth follow from “What you want”.

Italian guitarist Marco Minà first recorded these nine character pieces from the manuscripts after he once visited Henze at his villa La Leprara and pointed out inconsistencies between Julian Bream’s printed version and Henze’s original handwriting. In his captivating recording, Minà not only corrects a number of mistakes, but also inserts the ritornello between the individual characters, as Henze had wished. Under Minà’s hands, an enchantingly witty sequence of figures emerges that does not make one think of the Hammerklavier Sonata, but rather of Robert Schumann’s multi-figure “Carnaval”. Full of variety, brilliance and wealth of ideas, Marco Minà succeeds in creating the Shakespeare panorama. In addition, a DVD about the Henze villa. (Nov Antiqua). Harold Eggebrecht

Cinema: Josef von Sternberg in the Munich Film Museum

Favorites of the week: Marlene Dietrich in "Morocco".

Marlene Dietrich in “Morocco”.

(Photo: Josef von Sternberg/Munich Film Museum)

The firing squad is nervous, but the woman in front of him is cool. She uses the officer’s saber as a mirror so that everything fits perfectly, and quickly puts on lipstick: “Dishonored” is the name of it Movie, 1931, directed by Josef von Sternberg, to whom the Munich Film Museum is now dedicating a major retrospective. A child of Viennese emigrants, discovered by Chaplin for the cinema, a total filmmaker, he simply determined everything on his sets, buildings, costumes, lighting, the camera – an omnipotence, elegant and eccentric, about which there was nothing scandalous. Actors were puppets for him, but he felt inspired by them. For “Der Blaue Engel” he discovered Marlene Dietrich in Berlin, whom he made a star in Hollywood – she was a prostitute and singer for him, in Morocco or Shanghai, the Tsarina Catherine the Great and Agent X 27, a spy, in “Dishonored “. Absolute control: He asked the employees to take off their wristwatches if their ticking disturbed his concentration. Fritz Goettler

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