Theater The River in the Belly

Theatre production "River in the belly" in Kinshasa
Theatre production "River in the belly" in Kinshasa | Photo (video still): © Mdumisi Nxele
  • 01. March 2019 — 06. July 2019

  • Postcolonial world order, Postcolonial art production, Reappraisal of the colonial past

  • Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of Congo); Graz (Austria); Mannheim (Germany); Vienna (Austria)

In the play Fluss im Bauch (River in the belly), the powerful Congo River serves as a metaphor for the post-colonial Congolese attitude to life. The river was the transport route for the exploitation of the country and now symbolizes life and identity, but also renewed threats from poverty, corruption and crime.

The play Fluss im Bauch (River in the belly) is based on the text of the same name by Fiston Mwanza Mujila, to which the Congolese writer has added a few new passages for the stage production. Mwanza Mujila writes about contemporary life in the Congo and the current problems of the people who live on the shores of the Congo River.

The German-Austrian-Congolese cooperation deconstructs the European view of the colonial period in the Congo. The river is no longer portrayed as a backdrop or as the "Other", which is covered with racist stereotypes: as darkness, the black, the dark, the wild, the untamed, the unknown, the threatening, the non-penetrating - a place where nature is thousands of years old, but man without history. The postcolonial gaze enables more fluid forms of encounter, a flow into one another, the disposal or at least liquefaction of the dictum of the "Other".

The play was developed during a 7-week rehearsal phase in Spring 2019 followed by a premiere in Kinshasa. In June and July 2019 performances took place at the Schauspielhaus Vienna, in Graz and at the Nationaltheater Mannheim.
Goethe-Institut Kinshasa (Congo), Fiston Mwanza Mujila (Congo), German-Austrian-Congolese cooperation: director (Austria), choreography (Congo), drama (Germany/Austria/Congo), dance (Congo), music (Congo), dramaturgy (Germany) and set (Austria)

Author: Fiston Mwanza Mujila
Director: Carina Riedl
Dramaturgy: Kerstin Grübmeyer
Production Management: Stephan Werner
Choreography: Dorine Mokha
Music: Huguette Tolinga Lola
Video: Nelson Makengo
Costume, stage: Otto Krause
Performance: Dada Kahindo; Nicolas van Diepen; Magdalena Chowaniec
Production: Astrid Matron, Goethe-Institut Kinshasa

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