The playwright Sivan Ben Yishai is one of the most important voices on contemporary theatre stages. Con/tempus (contemporary), means existing or occurring at the present time / being with others in time – which, in a way, is the research question of Ben Yishai’s new text. Her plays The Story of the Life and Death of the New Juppi Ja Jey Jew, Papa Loves You, Or: You Deserve Your War (Eight Soldiers Moonsick) premiered at the Maxim Gorki Theatre. Now, she is switching on her view from the backstage – writing for the institution, in the institution. Her new piece Bühnenbeschimpfung (Liebe ich es nicht mehr oder Liebe ich es zu sehr?) consisting of the parts »The Body as an Institution«, »The Theatre Evening as an Institution« and »Rebuilding the Future in an Adjacent Area« takes a radical approach to the institution of theatre – and in doing so grows (literally) far beyond and out of it. After 2 years in which the theatres lay empty, unvisited – Bühnenbeschimpfung is an open surgery on the corpus of the institution. Sivan Ben Yishai uses the theatre institution as a starting point for asking fundamental questions about power, autocracy and the stage, obedience, spectatorship and resistance, and the way they themselves appear in the body, in the Theatre Evening, in the Theatre itself.
Woven into these reflections is a multi-perspective chorus, with voices from Masha Gessen, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Paul B. Preciado, Donna Haraway, Michel Foucault and many others – who may not be able to save us – but what if they could? The production is staged by resident director Sebastian Nübling, who has already brought many contemporary authors to the stage – and will use the text to investigate what political theatre can be today and what attempts previous generations made to change and force open societal structures through the theatre.
Photo: Esra Rotthoff