Lust for Life


The Gorki is closed. To the audience, so to you, you to whom the theatre belongs and for whom we work. Behind closed doors, however, we have carried on. In doing so, we have followed all the regulations to the letter. We have, as our audience is accustomed to with us, experimented with new forms of theatre. You will have the opportunity to check them out in Alles unter Kontrolle by Oliver Frljić and the ensemble when we open again. Until then, recordings of this season’s premieres are on offer in the Gorki Stream on our website.
This issue of our programme magazine was also created under Covid conditions. Arno Widmann, whom we were able to acquire as resident philosopher, interviewed – mostly through video chat – from the end of November through the beginning of December, 18 people working at the Gorki this season. The youngest is 19, the oldest 82. They come from Israel, Croatia, Poland and Turkey, from Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the UK, from Singapore to Iran. Directors, actors, authors. In the theatre, concepts are frequently the subject of discussion and debate. But we know, of course, the theatre lives on the people who make it. They are the subject of this issue. In interviews and through the photos that Esra Rotthoff took of them over their screens. 
The Gorki lives – as we all do – on encounters between the most disparate life experiences. They are our elixirs of life. These encounters are examined on the Gorki’s stage again and again. Without them we would be much poorer and infinitely more ignorant. The Gorki works on crossing boundaries in art and in life. »After all, I am non-binary«, as Hengameh Yaghoobifarah explains in this issue. Whenever people are given the choice of »one or the other«, something has gone wrong. Every one of us is many. That is eerie sometimes. Sometimes we are afraid of it. The theatre, however, is a source of encouragement. We test out new realities or even old ones sometimes, to see if they still have something we could make use of today.
How can we achieve at least a little bit of that which we long for within our own not-quite-suitable structures, so always against them as well? That question concerns all of us here.
While the larger political discourse tries to hold refugees at bay, the tiny Gorki society stays open, for actors from Syria and Palestine in the Gorki ensemble and for a Futureland with young refugees in the Gorki CONTAINER. Zehra Doğan, Kurdish artist and activist in European exile, will exhibit the works she created in prison in Turkey in the Gorki KIOSK, where we are continuing to further the work of the Berliner Herbstsalon. Can Dündar, a Turkish journalist living in exile in Berlin, writes a column for the Gorki and is preparing an installation in the Gorki’s Studio , based on his cell in the Silivri maximumsecurity prison.
The theatre, all those interviewed in this issue agree, is our instrument for comprehending reality. Everyone uses it differently, uses different languages and performance methods. Marta Górnicka re-invented chorus theatre ten years ago, and now in the pandemic she is forced to change everything once again. It is a challenge that puts her entire previous work into question. She is taking it on. With joy and with friends in the Political Voice Institute. Yael Ronen and her ensemble always research the world outside and, at the same time, how it sticks in our bodies and minds. But Yael Ronen would like to do more than recognise. She will only be happy when she not only brings us joy but is also able to heal.
Daring fantasies? – But what would the theatre be without fantasy, without daring? We must at least be able to imagine that we are changing something in the world for the better, otherwise we would not get out of bed in the morning. Resistance against the unjust arrangement of the world does not make us bitter. It increases our lust for life. The virus has also not changed that to this day.
In the name of all the Gorki colleagues who would not fit into a single issue, I wish you good health and, to us, your joy in reading.

Shermin Langhoff

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