Transatlantic Conference in Berlin

The Enigma of Freedom – A Transatlantic Conference on the Significance of Heiner Müller for the 21st Century on the Day of German Unity, October 3-5, 2014

Adrienne, Prof. Ludwig, Ezra, Rachel (front f. l. t. r.), Santiago, George, Cassie, Katie (back row)

front row: Adrienne, J. Ludwig, Ezra, Rachel (from left to right), back row:  Santiago, George, Cassie, Katie ©: Uwe Fechner

The Dickinson students currently on their year abroad at the University of Bremen had a unique opportunity to experience German culture and recent history from an exceptional angle. On a five-day excursion to Berlin, they not only explored historical and cultural sites such as the Brandenburg Gate or the Reichstag, but also attended a conference on one of the most influential cultural figures of 20th century Germany: the playwright Heiner Müller. The conference was co-organized by the Academic Director of the Durden Bremen Program, Janine Ludwig, together with Anja Quickert and Florian Becker on behalf of the International Heiner Müller Society.

At the conference, the students had the opportunity to hear and meet many important German (and American) intellectuals – among them:

Plakat_webGregor Gysi (parliamentary party leader of “The Left”), Jens Reich (molecular biologist, GDR civil rights activist and former candidate for the German Presidency), Thomas Martin (chief dramaturg of Berlin’s celebrated avant-garde theater “Volksbühne”), Wolfgang Engler (rector of Germany’s most prominent acting school „Ernst Busch“), Hermann Beyer (long-time actor at the legendary Brecht theater “Berliner Ensemble”), Ivica Buljan (head of the Zagreb International Theatre Festival), David Levine (US-American performance artist, Bard College Berlin), Jost Hermand (renowned literary scholar at the University of Wisconsin-Madison), B.K. Tragelehn (director and long-time friend of Müller’s) – and many more.

Find the program flyer attached: IHMG HM-Konferenz Programm-Leporello

Here is what the students said:

I had two favorite parts of the Müller conference. The first was the “Table Talks” during the second afternoon of the conference where the conference goers had the chance to sit and speak with people who were close with Müller both on and off the stage. These “Table Talks” broke the invisible wall between the audience and the presenters and allowed for more questions to be asked and discussions to be had. My other favorite part of the conference was one of the last panels where theater directors from different Eastern European countries compared and contrasted the reception and implementation of Müller’s works in two very different social environments.
— A particular memorable moment for me was when a pair of presenters began to discuss the DEFA and its role in film production in East Germany. This caused me to reflect back on my previous research on the DEFA and actually helped me formulate an idea for my senior thesis in German for next year! Another just generally cool moment was when the group was approached during one of the breaks by a woman who is staging a production of one of Müller’s plays not far from Bremen and invited us as a group to come watch the show and meet the actors. >Rachel Schilling ’16<

Heiner Müller ©: Lothar Deus and Literaturforum im Brecht-Haus Berlin

Before attending this conference I didn’t know who Heiner Müller was. Now I have a more complete understanding of why he is considered the most important German playwright of the second half of the 20th century. During the conference I was able to speak with one of the last living students of Bertolt Brecht and hear personal stories about Müller and Brecht himself. The event was very well organized and I am thankful that I was able to attend not only this conference but explore the city of Berlin itself. >George DeRosa ‘16<

My favorite part of the conference was a panel which included a philosopher, a cultural journalist, and a dramatic advisor, each of whom had a personal connection with the playwright. I saw right from the beginning the wide variety of people Heiner Müller’s work had influenced. It interested me that the work of a single man could carry so much meaning for three people of such differing professions.
— One of the activities at the conference were Tischgespräche or “Table-Talks,” where audience members could sit on comfortable couches around people who had known Heiner Müller personally and hear stories from time they had shared together. The table I went to included Alexander Weigel, a dramaturg who worked with Müller on two of his plays, “Der Lohndrücker” and “Hamlet/Maschine.” I was especially struck by the stories where Weigel explained the tensions in Hamlet/Maschine between trying to create a political commentary in the play and trying to keep the themes in Hamlet alive. Weigel remembered that Müller said to him: “Shakespeare ist wichtiger als die DDR” or “Shakespeare is more important than the German Democratic Republic.”
— One thing I focused on was expanding my German vocabulary and knowledge of German word-genders, a topic which has always plagued my ability to speak German fluently and confidently. Although my focus and interest in learning German places less emphasis on literature and drama, at the conference I was still able to listen for much information of personal interest. For example, because of the wide variety of the fields of presenters, I learned many German words and expressions which I had not heard before. I also listened for different German dialects (another area of personal interest) among the presenters, as some spoke with a “Berliner” accent. >Ezra Sassaman ’16<

I’m not sure that I have ever heard of Müller before this conference, which is frankly quite embarrassing because he is apparently labeled the second most important German dramatist of the 20th century after Bertolt Brecht. I have a relatively limited knowledge of German history, but this conference helped me to understand what it was like to be an artist working in the GDR. For instance many of Müller’s plays were not allowed to premier or were censored after only one screening. Nonetheless he continued to gain popularity in the West and internationally. Many of his plays were staged in Western Germany, and even his controversial “Mauser” was shown for the first time in Austin, Texas. By the 1980s, the GDR welcomed Müller again because of his international fame.

"Bla bla" Panel: Ivica Buljan, Thomas Irmer, Wojtek Klemm (f. l. t. r.)

“BLABLA” Panel: Ivica Buljan, Thomas Irmer, Wojtek Klemm (fr. l. t. r.) © all following pictures: Uwe Fechner

My favorite part of the conference was the “BLABLA” section on Sunday because I finally got to see some of Müller’s work on stage. I did not realize how provocative his postmodernist style was until I had seen it. I was honestly surprised the GDR ever decided to support him, regardless of his fame.
— The table talks were a very interesting and unusual addition to the conference. It allowed me to sit and talk with a close friend of Müller’s, B.K. Tragelehn and his wife, and hear about Müller in his youth. He shared many intriguing stories from their youth and told us about Müller’s personal life from an insider’s view.
— Although it was hard to follow the panel “Was jetzt passiert, ist die totale Besetzung mit Gegenwart,” I found this one quote extremely interesting. I’m not sure if it came from Müller, or one of the presenters, but nonetheless it got me thinking. “Socialism leads to individualism, capitalism leads to collectivism.” I really enjoyed being exposed to so many German and international intellectuals and expanding my German and cultural knowledge. It was also very helpful to hear high level academic German before beginning our schooling at the University.  >Katie Mooradian ’16<

The conference consisted of very complex and very dense information given all in German all at once. That being said I look at it similar to sports. You don’t get better playing teams on your level, only by playing teams that are better than you, and even though you are getting beat you are learning and increasing your knowledge for the future. Same goes for this conference, the language used and topic were more complex and difficult than the level I was at, but in the end I do feel like I got something out of being there and focusing on trying to understand what the speakers were saying. My favorite part was the table talk where you could go and speak to some of the speakers and other people connected to Heiner Müller. I listened to B.K. Tragelehn and his wife speak and the stories they told were so interesting, and it gave a more personal outlook into Heiner Mueller’s life. I think that was easier for me to understand because it was a more focused group of people with him just talking to 5 or 6 of us. I really did enjoy the table talk immensely. >Cassie Blyler ‘16<

Academy of the Arts East Pariser Platz before the last panel on Sunday

Academy of the Arts East, Pariser Platz, before the last panel on Sunday.

One of the conference panels which I enjoyed the most was the “Tischgespräche mit Zeitgenossen,” which was held on the second day of the conference. This panel had a very flexible and informal approach. The speakers scattered over small coffee tables so all of us could engage them on a more personal level. I joined a conversation with B. K. Tragelehn, a director, author, translator and former student of Bertolt Brecht and friend of Heiner Müller. During the panel, Mr. Tragelehn shared many of his amazingly rich experiences as a student, coworker and independent author as well as some personal insights about Bertolt Brecht, Heiner Müller and his wife Inge Müller. Although my fields of study are unrelated to either theater or literature, getting such a rare opportunity to meet one of the last people who studied and worked with such important characters of history and culture was indeed an amazing experience.

Gregor Gysi, Jens Reich, Jost Hermand (fr. l. t. r.)

Gregor Gysi, Jens Reich, Jost Hermand (fr. l. t. r.)

I must say that I was surprised by the wide variety and high caliber of the conference’s guests, which included artists, representatives from literature institutes, widely renowned politicians, academics from all over the world and authors who had the privilege of working side by side with the most important theater personalities of the 20th century and who underwent the whole social and institutional revolution that came with the Fall of the Wall. Unfortunately, I did not get to talk to all of them, but I did get to hear what some of the greatest minds on the theater and literature scene think. The conference also bore unexpected fruits as we got to meet a woman who happened to be involved in the management of a theater in Osnabrück and that offered us (all the members of the Bremen program) to attend one the Heiner Müller’s plays that were being performed there.
— Academically, the conference was a challenging experience. To begin with, most of the panels were in German, so they required lots of concentration and some effort in order to keep up and decipher some of the most complex opinions. Historically and culturally speaking, the conference covered a wide variety of topics. The whole scene of German theater and literature was affected by the geopolitical and socioeconomic changes that happened in Germany throughout and after the Cold War and the Fall of the Wall. Therefore, there was always a very complex background to keep in mind in order to fully understand some of the discussions regarding the importance and the repercussions of Heiner Müller’s work in Germany and nearby countries. I personally felt that every minute of the conference was loaded with information and that it required a lot of thinking to keep up. >Santiago Princ ‘16<

The conference which was supported by Dickinson and Bard College gave me an interesting look into what culture was inside the DDR and in other communist ruled areas of Eastern Europe. Due to the fact that the academic style of German went a little over my head, I gained the most insight from the last session we attended which was held in English. It was comparing the cultural reception of Heiner Müller’s works in Poland and former Yugoslavia. Having gone to another conference this summer about German authors in Poland at the time of its separation from Germany, I enjoyed the extra insights to Polish history and culture. >Adrienne Brown ’16<

IMG_7679-1

Students are jokingly re-enacting a scene which they just saw in a documentary film about Heiner Müller, made by Thomas Heise. In it, Müller and the famous director Fritz Marquardt were telling actors several times precisely and meticulously how to pronounce a single word (king) in a sentence from Müller’s play “Germania Death in Berlin”: „Will er nicht aufstehen vor seinem König?” (Does he not want to stand up before his King?). In the front, from left to right: Janine Ludwig, Adrienne Brown, Rachel Schilling. From left to right in the back row: Santiago Princ, George DeRosa, Ezra Sassaman, Cassandra Blyler, Katherine Mooradian

Plenary room at the Academy of the Arts East Pariser Platz with mirroring Brandenburg Gate

IMG_7697-1

 

What colleagues say:

Heiner Müller is perhaps the most significant cultural figure of the GDR. Around him and his work as a playwright and author all of the figures and themes of the cultural landscape of the GDR coalesce. His work and reception bridged East and West and is international in scope. Thus, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Fall of the Wall (Nov. 9) with a transatlantic conference is both fitting and appropriate. Janine is a leading scholar on Müller and she and her colleagues assembled prominent figures from politics (such as Gregor Gysi) to scholarship (e.g. Jost Hermand). These are big names in Germany and in German literary and cultural studies. How often can students see how culture and politics interact and, at the same time speak with highly influential figures of both to discuss that interaction? This was a once-in-a-lifetime chance to do so and to learn more about one of the major aspects of the late 20th century — the divided Germany.
>Prof. Sarah McGaughey, Chair of the German Department at Dickinson College<

Statement by co-organizer Ludwig:

I wanted to give our students a chance to get a glimpse of the density and variability of German culture and theater and to listen to prominent figures from this sphere. I was hoping to alert their sensitivity to the vibrant dialog between those figures from such different fields and backgrounds who all are attracted in their own way to the questions raised by this singular artist. Many samples of video material showed them original recordings of Müller himself (25 years ago) as well as of some of his friends and collaborators (who were partly present) or of current productions of his plays.
Look from the Academy of the Arts at the Brandenburg Gate with projected title from the last panel on SundayI think the students appreciated the historically rich venues like the Academy of the Arts in East and West Berlin, on both sides of the once-divided city which is not just theIMG_7697-1 political capital of Germany, but the cultural capital as well. By embedding the conference into a Berlin excursion, I was hoping to enable them to connect their adventures in the historic city and in its current cultural scene with the contents of this conference.
— Müller famously said about the theatergoers that he wanted to “burden the people with so much that they don’t know what to carry first” – he believed that this concept of “flooding” or overwhelming the audience with images and thoughts would cause productive reactions, be it those of resistance, curiosity, perplexity, or pressure to make decisions about what to focus on. While I am aware that a program as dense and intellectual as presented at this conference was a stretch for our students who had just arrived in Germany, I hope they were affected by it in that sense.
>Dr. Janine Ludwig, Academic Director of the William G. and Elke Durden Dickinson in Bremen Program<

Berlin Excursion – Miscellaneous

Berliner Dom

Berlin-4Definitely one of the most beautiful buildings in Berlin (in my opinion), the Dom overlooks a flowing river on one side and the beautiful Lust Garden on the other. The inside of the Dom is ornate and beautiful. The most breathtaking moment, however, is reserved for the view you get when you climb all the stairs, circle the dome, and see Berlin sprawled out before you. >Rachel Schilling ‘16<

“Alternative” Street Art Tour

“Alternative” Street Art Tour was extremely interesting. We walked around the city with a local tour guide who explained street art to us from small stencils to giant images that covered entire buildings. We learned about the progression of street art, from tags (which supposedly began in NYC) to graffiti and eventually street art. Some of the works were commissioned and others were illegal. My favorite was the tag for an artist named Po which took the shape of a bum when she learned what Po meant in German.
>Katie Mooradian ‘16<

It was a three hour walking tour through East and West Berlin looking at the different street art and having its meaning explained to us. We saw both legal and illegal street art, both of which cover the buildings in Berlin. Some of the coolest ones were the art pieces showing a deeper meaning, such as the differences still seen between east and west Germans or the limitations that working a white collar job puts on a person. It was very interesting and a great way to see Berlin by foot. >Cassie Blyler ‘16<

Alte Nationalgalerie (Old National Gallery)

© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Nationalgalerie / Maximilian Meisse

© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Nationalgalerie / Maximilian Meisse

I really enjoyed this museum even from the exterior, with the large equestrian statue of Fredrick William the IV. The collections inside were spectacular, ranging from Neoclassical style to Romantic, Impressionist, and early Modernist. I especially enjoyed seeing Romantic artwork in person because it’s actually quite beautiful, but in person I find it a bit kitschy. >Katie Mooradian ‘16<

We visited this museum one morning before the conference and it was really interesting. It is different paintings and sculptures organized by the progression of the different eras of art. My favorite was the room dedicated to Caspar David Friedrich, since in German 210 back at Dickinson we all had to choose one of his paintings and analyze it in terms of Romanticism, so seeing a room full of all his works was really exciting. >Cassie Blyler ‘16<

Pergamon-Museum

Ezra and Rachel (©: all pictures taken by Adrienne)

Ezra and Rachel (©: all pictures taken by Adrienne)

During the course of a weekend focused on the very recent past of East Germany and the city that was once divided in half, it felt like entering a different world when Ezra and I visited the Pergamon Museum on the Muse- um Island. This museum, despite being under renovation, still housed three exceptional exhibits. Each of the three exhibits, Antikensammlung (Museum of Classical Antiques), Vorderasiatisches Museum (Museum of the Ancient Near East), and the Museum für Islamische Kunst (Museum of Islamic Art), contained a gigantic structure of some sort that towered over museum goers. Surrounded by the great temples of ancient history, the “piece” that made the biggest impression on me was the Babylonian Processional Way and Ishtar Gate that was salvaged and reconstructed right in the center of the museum. These walls and their gate were reconstructed in the long entrance hall of the museum and is the first piece that museum-goers have a chance to see. While walking through I tried to imagine the Babylonian people that once walked parallel to these very walls.

The rest of the museum left the same impression on me as I walked down the steps of the Market Gate of Miletus and the Mshatta Façade (walls from an eighth-century “castle” in Jordan). The last exhibit we explored was the Museum of Islamic Art. The art itself was beautiful and also educational (for example I learned about the transition from free flowing designs to most pattern and press oriented ones) but the overall concept of the exhibit and appreciation the museum goers had for the art struck more of a chord with me. I feel that in the US there are so many people with stereotypes, negative feelings, or simple ignorance toward Islamic culture and art. I felt fortunate to not only be able to observe the art in front of me but reflect on my own culture after being removed from it. >Rachel Schilling ‘16<

Alexanderplatz

Berlin-6This was the first place in Berlin where I could feel the energy of the city. Live music, literal carnival rides, Trams begging for the opportunity to turn you into a statistic, Döner kebap and Currywurst stands everywhere, and even people bungee jumping off of skyscrapers; it was surreal. Luckily, Alexanderplatz is a main transit junction and I was able to explore this area multiple times. >George DeRosa ‘16<

Brandenburger Tor

Berlin-19A symbol reminding us of Germany and Europe’s checkered past and also a symbol for peace. It’s very impressive to see at night.
>George DeRosa ‘16<

I went to multiple Flohmärkte (flee markets) and art markets around the city. They were very interesting for what they were, but mostly because of the sheer number of people that were attending them. My favorites were easily the markets on Museum Island. It’s a very good place to buy books if you want to practice your reading in German! >Katie Mooradian ‘16<

The entire trip was filled with poignant moments of history and cultural difference (especially for me, after being raised in a small town). If I had to select a theme, or a feeling, that struck me throughout the weekend, I would choose the very strong difference between Germany’s and America’s history that could be felt throughout the city. It is easy to take for granted over 200 years of consistent and constant govern- ment. Since the creation of the first German empire in 1871 there hasn’t been a regime that has lasted more than about 50 years. The fall of the Wall was only 25 years ago. The reminders of this unrest, as well as the hope for a steadier time, could be found throughout the entire weekend. From the discussions in the conference, to visiting the Berlin Wall and East Side Gallery, to seeing the ancient Babylonian temple in the Pergamon Museum, to celebrating German Re-Unification Day, Berlin serves as a symbol of different pieces being brought together. The old murals on the Berlin Wall are painted with fresh graffiti, old cathedrals look at a giant TV tower built during the time of East Germany and Berlin, and flea markets are filled with used DVDs and old maps from around the world. >Rachel Schilling ‘16<

Berlin is without a doubt one of the “must visit” cities in Europe. It is densely loaded with history, culture, diversity, liveliness and fun. I was particularly attracted to the aesthetic and artistic displays the city, which are like a timeless collage of different styles. Some great examples of this are the graffiti on the streets, the galleries in the open air such as East Side Gallery, the different architectures in the different neighborhoods and especially between the East and the West and the sudden remnants of older periods such as the Berliner Dom. To finish the recipe there are many modern places such as bars, coffee shops, clubs, restaurants and malls all around the city. Berlin is an incredibly mixed city, but it still keeps a bohemian scent to it, for which I think that it really lives up to the “poor, but sexy” slogan that Klaus Wowereit coined in 2004. >Santiago Princ ‘16<

Santiago, Rachel, Ezra in the subway

Santiago, Rachel, and Ezra in the subway (from left to right)

Berlin Excursion – STASI Prison in Berlin-Hohenschönhausen

Zellentrakt im Neubau der ehem. MfS-Untersuchungshaftanstalt. © http://www.stiftung-hsh.de/

Cells in the newer building of the “MfS-Untersuchungs-haftanstalt.” ©http://www.stiftung-hsh.de/

On the last day of our trip a few of us went and toured the prison in which the GDR police placed citizens that posed a threat to communism. Our guide, who was once a prisoner here himself, reminded us throughout the tour that these buildings aren’t a recreation meant for us to observe and scare us, but instead these cells were used to hold thousands of inmates in horrible conditions. The prison was not only very eerie but extremely eye-opening. >Rachel Schilling ‘16<

We almost didn’t make it here because it’s out of the city and we got lost both trying to find it and trying to get back, but it was absolutely worth the trip. We did the German tour and understood a lot of it, and what we didn’t understand completely was explained well enough in bilingual plaques throughout the prison. This was probably my favorite part of the trip only because I had no idea that anything like this had occurred during the time of the wall, so it was incredibly eye-opening and interesting to hear all the stories of what happened in this prison. It is probably the thing I would most highly recommend next to walking through east side gallery on a trip to Berlin. >Katie Mooradian ‘16<

The German tours of the jail are conducted by old prisoners. My particular guide was arrested for taking a train that traveled too closely to the border of Western Germany and this gave them just cause for saying he was trying to escape. My tour guide was literally arrested for taking the wrong train at the wrong time… The interrogations, torture, and squalor living conditions weren’t able to be muted by my insufficient German. It’s quite shocking when you realize that this ended only 25 years ago and similar events take place daily throughout the rest of the world. >George DeRosa ‘16<

The time in the prison was not pleasant, nor was it meant to be. It began with a 30-minute film outlining the various types of cells used in the prison, the history of the prison, then stories about various prisoners. Our tour began with a soft-spoken man taking us through the Soviet-built older part of the prison. Right at the beginning of the tour, he told us that a State Security guard who would have been around twenty during the time that the newer section was built, if we met him today, would be “ungefähr so alt… wie ich.”//“…about as old… as me.” This intrigued me, and I started thinking about what role this tour guide could have in connection with this prison. When we visited the newer section of the prison, our guide revealed that he had been a prisoner! He had lived in East Berlin and had taken a train which travelled a route within five kilometers (about three miles) of the border to West Berlin. A State Security officer stopped him and convicted him of “a possible intention to attempt to cross into West Germany”, a clearly ridiculous crime. He was 18 at the time, younger than myself and any of the Dickinson students with whom I attended the tour. He had been imprisoned for 10 months on this charge until West Germany bought his freedom. At the end of the tour, he disappeared after saying “Ich würde vorschlagen, ihr macht noch heute etwas heiteres…”//“I suggest you do something cheerful today.” >Ezra Sassaman ’16<

Berlin Excursion – East Side Gallery

Berlin-14The East-Side-Gallery is not only the longest remaining piece of the Berlin Wall but also the largest open-air gallery in the world. I was able to visit the East-Side-Gallery on October 3rd, Germany’s Unity Day, a national public holiday that celebrates Germany’s reunification in 1990. This was certainly more surreal than the town’s center and although probably imagined, there was a palpable tension still hanging in the air once you stepped over on to the east side. >George DeRosa ‘16<
Berlin-13

My favorite cultural activity was the East Side Gallery. […] Each artwork has a deeper meaning about freedom, reunification, and what it meant for the artist to live through the fall of the Berlin wall. As an art enthusiast I really enjoyed looking at these pieces and I feel a sense of luck that I have had that opportunity now, before they are all completely destroyed. It is rather sad that the works have not been preserved like normal artworks. They are a free museum and out in the open, therefore many people have decided to add their own “master pieces” to this great work of art. I was very annoyed to see many preteen girls writing cliché things on the wall such as “peace and love” or “Allie and Johnny forever!”. Hopefully, the work lives on to inspire many other people like it has inspired me. >Adrienne Brown ‘16<

Santiago, Adrienne, Rachel, George, Ezra (fr. l. t. r.)

Santiago, Adrienne, Rachel, George, Ezra (f. l. t. r.)

While there were beautiful murals painted on the wall, many were covered in fresh graffiti and people’s names. This mix of old artwork and new graffiti made me think about the meaning the wall might hold for those who, like me, were born within a few years after the destruction of the wall. >Rachel Schilling ‘16<

I was disappointed to see that so many more people had written their name on the monument, but was glad that they do clean them every so often. I really love the idea behind the monument, to take this symbol of war and after it’s served its use, hire artists famous at the moment from all over the world and give them free reign to create what they want. Not only does it help the city, but also gives the artists exposure. >Katie Mooradian ‘16<

Berlin-7Katie and I found this on accident trying to find our way to a flea market at the Ostbahnhof. I’m very happy we did because it was one of my favorite parts of the trip. I love the different paintings on each section of the wall, however I did not enjoy the graffiti all over the art. I do advocate street art, but a teenager writing their name in the middle of a beautiful painting for no reason other than “to have their name on the Berlin Wall” is ridiculous. Other than that, I could’ve spent hours looking at every piece of that decorated wall. >Cassie Blyler ‘16<

Berlin Excursion – Deutsches Theater

Theater Play Die Sorgen und die Macht (The Sorrows and the Power)

A play by Peter Hacks (world premiere: 1959), director: Tom Kühnel, Jürgen Kuttner (premiere: Sep. 4, 2010)

Foto ©: Arno Declair. Michael Schweighöfer, Elias Arens, Christoph Franken, Jürgen Kuttner (from left to right)

© Arno Declair. Fr. l. to r.: Michael Schweighöfer, Elias Arens, Christoph Franken, Jürgen Kuttner

The first night we were in Berlin we went to the Deutsches Theater to see “Die Sorgen und die Macht” (The Sorrows and the Power) – a special showing to commemorate the 25-year anniversary of the fall of the wall. It was interesting enough to be in a German theater, but it was especially exciting to see Jürgen Kuttner on stage after having talked to him in my German class last year. The play itself was a bit difficult for us to understand because it was frequently referring to German history which I’ve been learning over and over we aren’t really taught in school. That being said, I definitely learned something and enjoyed the performance.
>Katie Mooradian ‘16<

© Arno Declair. Fr. l. t. r.: Claudia Eisinger, Felix Goeser (with Pittiplatsch mask), Susanne Wolff

© Arno Declair. Fr. l. t. r.: Claudia Eisinger, Felix Goeser (with Pittiplatsch mask), Susanne Wolff

It was especially cool because the co-director, Jürgen Kuttner, had previously come to Dickinson and he was also a part of the play. Politics are not the most interesting thing to me so there were some parts of the play that went over my head in that aspect, but there were many comedic parts of the play that I really enjoyed, and it’s always confidence boosting to understand a performance in a different language. >Cassie Blyer ’16<

The show dealt with the conflicted feelings East Germans faced during the start of the new communist regime. The show contained advanced German and references to specific points and things in history that I did not understand, however the show itself was portrayed in such a way as to convey the mixture of readily accepting any non-fascist government and doubts about communism understandable to any audience member. >Rachel Schilling ‘16<

© Arno Declair. Fr. l. to. r.: Susanne Wolff, Jürgen Kuttner, Elias Arens, Felix Goeser, Claudia Eisin- ger, Christoph Franken, Michael Schweighöfer, Gabriele Heinz. In the back: picture of Walter Ulbricht and bust of Karl Marx.

© Arno Declair. Fr. l. to. r.: Susanne Wolff, Jürgen Kuttner, Elias Arens, Felix Goeser, Claudia Eisinger, Christoph Franken, Michael Schweighöfer, Gabriele Heinz. In the back: a picture of Walter Ulbricht and a bust of Karl Marx.