500 Meters - Kafka, Great Wall, Unreal World

  • Christoph Lepschy Photo: Christoph Lepschy
  • Dong Hua 1 Photo: Dong Hua
  • Dong Hua 2 Photo: Dong Hua
  • Dong Hua 3 Photo: Dong Hua
  • 500 meters - Kafka, Great Wall, Unreal World © Paper Tiger Theatre Studio

Paper Tiger Theater Studio Beijing/Shanghai (China), Stary Teatr (Poland) and Thalia Theater Hamburg (Germany)

500 m could be completed in roughly five years, by which time normally the supervisors were exhausted to death and had lost all faith in themselves, in the building, and in the world. (Franz Kafka)

Kafka’s text „The Great Wall of China“ is the starting point for the new project by Paper Tiger Theater Studio. Combined with research materials from architects, engineers and construction workers involved in today’s large-scale building projects like the huge harbour conversion in the Ningbo-Zhoushan-Region, it provides the base for a performative exploration of the fundamental question, raised by Kafka: What is the meaning of these “great wall buildings”? How does their unbelievable boundlessness affect the human soul? The Great Wall is not the work of an individual, but a collective action of the Chinese people beyond its own time. Kafka depicts it as ‘means of unification of our people’ („Einigungsmittel unseres Volkes“). It is crucial to realise, even from a Chinese perspective, that Kafka’s interpretation of the Great Wall is surprisingly accurate, though for him, perhaps, the Great Wall only exists as a personal and legendary imagination. Thus in turn he asks us to activate our own imaginations. We take Kafka’s image of the Great Wall as a signifier of the contemporary human’s endless action of reconstructing the world, in which the individual remains deeply confused. Such director Tian Gebing explores the large construction site of China’s present taking advantage of Kafkas European point of view and observing a similar context and a shared dimension between cultures. An evening, where the several-thousand-year-old history of China and its globalised present time are mirroring each other as well as European and Chinese phantasies of one another.

Concept: Tian Gebing, Christoph Lepschy | Director: Tian Gebing | Dramaturgy: Christoph Lepschy | Stage: Eva Veronica Born | Choreographie / Costume: Wang Yanan | Music: Piotr Kurek | Directors assistants/Translators: Liu Chao/ Peng Yi'ou | Cast: Li Bin, Szymon Czacki, Lian Guodong, Peng Yi'ou, Liu Chao, Manel Salas Palau, Lisa Tschanz, Liu Xiangjie, Lei Yan, Wang Yanan, Xu Yiming | Voice: Grzegorz Hardej, Tian Yuanshang | With support from Goethe-Institut China, Shenzhen Ming Culture Communication Co. LTD, Ming Contemporary Art Museum Shanghai, Mingyuan Group, Adam Mickiewicz Institute | A production by Paper Tiger Studio coproduced by Thalia Theater Hamburg, Festival Theater of the World, Goethe-Institut – International Coproduction Fund, Stary Theatre Krakow

This project is part of round 1 of the International Coproduction Fund, year 2016.