Throughout the Reformation Year 2017, this site offers trendsetters and thought leaders a place to present their notions of change and innovation. What are the potentials and needs for current and future-oriented “reformations”?
In Oberammergau the rules governing who was allowed to perform in the plays were very restrictive until 1990: you had either to be born in Oberammergau or to have lived there for twenty years, and to belong to a Christian religious community. In the end therefore only Protestants and Catholics performed in the plays. That was for me an absolute no-go. I couldn’t imagine the exclusion of, for example, Muslims who had been living in Oberammergau for three generations. When I was fourteen or fifteen, the passion plays were accused of anti-Semitism, and I began to ask myself just what anti-Semitism means, especially in the theatre. It was very clear that the essence of the plays amounted to exclusion: there the Old, here the New Testament; the Old discarded. You therefore have to ask yourself very clearly: Where is this story going and what do we want in telling it?
The work I do must have to do with my time; you have to try to be in your time, take things forward and to anchor them in the society in which we live, whether you’re working on a play about ISIS or The Tempest
by Shakespeare. At our theatre [the Munich Volkstheater and its festival Radikal Jung
(Radically Young)] the focus, in contrast to other Munich stages, obviously falls on the younger generation. As intendant, I have to make many things possible, even if they turn out to be a complete flop. In this way the theatre holds out many opportunities so that young directors can find their own forms. If it works, it works; if not, then the old will re-establish itself. We’re too inhibited by fear of the new.