Performing Arts Mathias Becker

  • Mathias  Becker 大壮 (Da Zhuang)
    Open rehearsal of the puppet-theatre “Traktor”- a theater project of Mathias Becker
  • Mathias  Becker 大壮 (Da Zhuang)
    Open rehearsal of the puppet-theatre “Traktor”- a theater project of Mathias Becker
  • Mathias  Becker Ying Li (李盈)
    Rehearsal with Han Fei Zi Drama Club
  • Mathias Becker at Red Gate Open Studio Mai Lidan
  • Mathias Becker at Red Gate Open Studio Mai Lidan
    Mathias Becker at Red Gate Open Studio
  • M.Becker © Shanghai Theatre Academy
    Mathias Becker visited the puppet-theatre class at Shanghai Theatre Academy in May 2015

Mathias Becker, born in 1984 in Magdeburg, is now based in Berlin. He studied drama, media and literature at the Friedrich Alexander University (FAU) in Erlangen-Nuremberg from 2004 to 2010 and contemporary puppetry at the Hochschule für Schauspielkunst (HfS) "Ernst Busch" in Berlin from 2010 to 2014. Whilst still a student he formed his own theatre company called MANUFAKTOR. Since then he has worked as a puppeteer, actor and director at the Schauspiel in Frankfurt, Maxim Gorki Theater in Berlin, Junges Theater in Göttingen und Stadttheater in Chemnitz. He uses various props, puppets and masks in his performances, which focus on the body and its mutability.
 
During his stay in China, Becker conducted research for a Heiner Müller-inspired puppet-theatre project entitled Traktor exploring the opposition between the individual and the community and combining both the form and content of Chinese shadow theatre with a modern German text. Over the course of three weeks, Becker worked with three performers from the Han Fei Zi Drama Club, a Chinese shadow theatre group, exploring various ways of staging the play in a combination of drama, Chinese shadow theatre and contemporary puppet theatre.


Two poems by Zheng Xiaoqiong and Heiner Müller’s prose fragment TRAKTOR provided the raw material for this convergence of different approaches to puppet theatre. The protagonist of Müller’s text is a tractor driver trying to make up his mind whether to plough a field that is booby-trapped with landmines. After hesitating for a while, he eventually sits down in the driver’s seat and begins ploughing. A mine explodes. In the hospital, the now one-legged driver regrets his decision and wants his missing leg back. He doesn’t want to be a hero who has sacrificed himself for his work.
Traktor premiered on 11 July at the Penghao Theater as part of the Beijing Nanluoguxiang Festival for Performing Arts.