Erwin-Schöttle-Platz, Stuttgart, June 2023
Farewells: rituals to say goodbye, was the central idea we worked with in this collaboration with Volk*s Theater Rampe and their festival “To Death, Life and Neighborhood”. The party, which included five different moments directed by 5 artists, worked on and with farewells and celebrations.
Our moment was composed of several individual stories with Volk*s Theater performers born in or emotionally connected to foreign countries. Therefore, trying to create or recreate gestures to say goodbye in different ways and cultures was the central concept. The process focused on individual conversations with the performers to arrive at these gestures of farewell, these actions of goodbye.
Thus, the short monologues that each actor performed were directly inspired by their experiences and cultural background: what do I want to say goodbye to? How could I say goodbye to something or someone from the person I am today?
Remembrances, small objects and photographs, music in different languages, dances… all this was part of this exercise of memory and of looking at the past from the future and the future from the past.
The gestures, the words, the bodies were connected by the intimacy and honesty of those testimonies. To them we will never say goodbye.
Thanks to all the performers and team involved in this moment and in this party!
About the festival To Death, Life and Neighborhood:
Who celebrates, and in which way? Who is being invited? And why do we celebrate? Celebrations are rituals that mark transitions that festively frame the transformation of one state into another: singular events for farewells and new beginnings. The ensemble of the Volks*theaters invites you to a big neighborhood party that offers space for all emotions being sidelined or tabooed in everyday life – in the form of a parade, a banquet, shared rituals and dance to the point of ecstasy. The Volks*theater believes in polyphonic storytelling and collective imagination in public space.
«The Volk*theater is a neighborhood theater from Stuttgart-Süd that deals with current topics and issues in the neighborhood. In the summer of 2019, we used a mobile research office on Marienplatz, posters and videos to call for people to join the newly founded VOLKS*THEATER RAMPE. In a lab and open-stage, questions for a new Volks*theater were formulated together with passers-by from Marienplatz.
In the fall of 2019, a 15-member neighborhood ensemble from Stuttgart-Süd formed and began collecting stories about Marienplatz in open research meetings. The square is the linchpin and the unifying element for all ensemble members. For all of them, it is an everyday meeting point, path or intersection and thus became the protagonist of their first production.
They researched and developed their own actions and performances in public space on pressing issues from the neighborhood. During the Lockdown 2020, for example, the telephone performance TAG Y addressed the issues of vacancy and housing shortage as well as social distancing and the desire for community. In AUF DIE PLÄTZE! – EIN WIEDERSEHEN MIT MUSIK, the audience and the ensemble met again in 2021 at a song recital on Marienplatz. Them they move to DIE GÄRTEN on Schimmelhüttenweg in 2022, where plants, animals and mythical creatures guided the visitors through the gardens.
Since 2019, the ensemble has also been dealing with its structures, has increasingly organized itself and gained more and more sovereignty in the artistic process. At the same time, it has firmly established itself in the program of Theater Rampe and thus also stands for a curatorial opening. In addition, the ensemble also engages beyond their polyphonic, neighborhood narratives to enable community».
* Fragment of the presentation text of the project. You can find more info at: https://theaterrampe.de/projekt/volkstheater-rampe/
More info about this performance: https://theaterrampe.de/stuecke/auf-den-tod-das-leben-und-die-nachbarschaft/
Amir Nathanaeel Saadat
Karina Pino Gallardo
The Trailer Collective
Akademie Schloss Solitude
Funded by the Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts within the framework of project funding for private theaters.