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Films

Heiner Müller: “Medeamaterial”

For this year’s festival contribution by the Staatstheater Augsburg, Tom Kühnel and Jürgen Kuttner are bringing one of the most famous female characters in literary history to the stage and into the republic’s living rooms by live streaming Heiner Müller’s “Medeamaterial”. With this, Tom Kühnel and Jürgen Kuttner are continuing their intensive study of the second great German playwright of the 20th century, which began in 2020 with the guest performance of “Der Auftrag” (The Mission) and a series of radio plays. The triptych “Verkommenes Ufer Medeamaterial Landschaft mit Argonauten” (Despoiled shore Medeamaterial Landscape with Argonauts), which premiered in Bochum in 1983, is not a classical play, but a post-dramatic text collage.

In this Augsburg production, the directorial team concentrates above all on Müller’s condensation of the ancient myth of Medea – in the truest sense of the word “material”, which virtually demands access deliberately through performance and the visual arts.

Tom Kühnel and Jürgen Kuttner approach the text through a strongly musically grounded form, which focuses on the female aspect of the archetypal female figure Medea, who is a victim and perpetrator in equal measure, interrupting her history of violence with violence

Directed by: Tom Kühnel and Jürgen Kuttner/ Staging: Maximilian Lindner/ Costumes: Laurant Pellissier/ Composition: Lila-Zoé Krauß, Helena Ratka/ Dramaturgy: Lutz Keßler
With: Elif Esmen, Natalie Hünig, Christina Jung. Live music: Lila-Zoé Krauß, Helena Ratka
Network premiere: 26 February 2021, 7.30 pm
Production and contribution by the Staatstheater Augsburg for the Brecht Festival 2021.
Publishing rights: Henschel Schauspiel

 

 

Lina Beckmann & Charly Hübner: „HelliBert & PandeMia“

They wrote theatre history together: Bertolt Brecht and Helene Weigel. Between 1923 and 1956 they were lovers, parents, accomplices, confidants, friends, spouses, business partners, artistic counterparts. Their correspondence from this period provides intimate insights into their special dynamic as a couple. The artist couple Charly Hübner and Lina Beckmann trace the secret of success of this dynamic within their own four walls for the online edition of the Brecht Festival.

Photo: Interfoto Weigel and Brecht
With: Lina Beckmann, Charly Hübner
A Brecht Festival production. Publishing rights:  Suhrkamp Verlag

 

 

Suse Wächter: “Helden des 20. Jahrhunderts singen Brecht” (20th century heroes sing Brecht)

“Helden des 20. Jahrhunderts – Ein Hysterienspiel mit Puppen” (20th century heroes – a hysteria play with dolls) is a central project in Suse Wächter’s oeuvre – an ancestral gallery of more than 70 miniature portraits of famous personalities, a kind of “ensemble of the undead”. As a play, premiered in 2003, “HELDEN DES 20. JAHRHUNDERTS” (20th CENTURY HEROES) has made guest appearances at the Volksbühne Berlin, at the Thalia Theater Hamburg, in Poland and in Switzerland. Many of the figures continue their ghostly lives in other productions and art projects, e.g. as part of the “Manifesto” video installation by Julian Rosefeldt at the Hamburger Bahnhof Berlin with Cate Blanchett as the leading actress and as a puppet portrait. For the Brecht Festival 2021, Suse Wächter is now relating her characters to Brecht songs. Together with the musician Matthias Trippner and Ulrike Gutbrod on camera, music clips have been created that rediscover Brecht in an unusually playful, anarchic and moving way.

A Brecht Festival production. Publishing rights: Suhrkamp Verlag

 

 

Stefanie Reinsperger: “Ich bin ein Dreck – Ein Film über Brecht oder das Leben oder die Liebe” (I am dirt – a film about Brecht or life or love)
Based on texts by Bertolt Brecht, Margarete Steffin, Inge Müller and Helene Weigel

Devised by: Stefanie Reinsperger, Akin Isletme. Directed by: Akin Isletme. Camera & editing: Bahadir Hamdemir. Music / Sound design: Bendrik Grosterlinden, Matthias Schubert
With: Stefanie Reinsperger, Wolfgang Michael, Julian Keck

A Brecht Festival production. Publishing rights: Suhrkamp Verlag

 

 

Corinna Harfouch: “Fabriktagebuch / Die Mutter” (Diary of a Factory / The Mother) (working title)
Based on Simone Weil and Bertolt Brecht

A Brecht Festival production

 

 

Bolschewistische Kurkapelle Schwarz-Rot: “Streifzug durch die Nacht” (Foray through the Night) (working title)

Winter 2021. Lonely street lamps cast their pale light on the silent asphalt. Nothing but silence emanates from the buildings in which bars, pubs and venues usually receive their guests. A virus has left them deserted. Only art is taking on this mighty boss! The Brecht Festival lets the Bolschewistische Kurkapelle Schwarz-Rot dance across the building façades in a kind of ritual exorcism of spirits. Lullabies by Brecht and Hölderlin, by Hanns Eisler and Kurt Weill orchestrate the digital foray through nocturnal Augsburg and send a loud signal to the screens out there. The future we are building together concerns everyone.

With: Bolschewistische Kurkapelle Schwarz-Rot
Director & camera: Bert Zander
A Brecht Festival production

Publishing rights: Suhrkamp Verlag and Breitkopf und Härtel

 

 

Winnie Böwe & Felix Kroll: “Happy End für Eilige” (Happy End for Anyone in a Hurry)
based on Dorothy Lane, Bertolt Brecht with music by Kurt Weill

In the late 1990s, Winnie Böwe, a young acting student and singer, helped an almost forgotten prototype of the soap opera achieve cult status at the Berliner Ensemble: “Happy End” is the story of Salvation Army girl Lilian Holiday in Chicago’s gangster milieu. It mixes the classic ingredients of forbidden love, crime, reformation, betrayal and mortal danger with a compilation of the best songs by Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht from “Surabaya Johnny” to the “Bilbao Song”. For the Brecht Festival’s online format, Winnie Böwe (vocals) and Felix Kroll (accordion) will perform the piece as a compact show for anyone in a hurry: the storyline of Dorothy Lane aka Elisabeth Hauptmann is retold in fast motion, but for the first time all songs are accompanied just by an accordion!

With: Winnie Böwe, Felix Kroll
Camera: Andreas Deinert
A Brecht Festival production

Publishing rights: Felix Bloch Erben

 

 

Brecht in simple language – “Die unwürdige Greisin” (The Unseemly Old Lady)

Bertolt Brecht knew: you have to change the circumstances. Then people will change too. Simple language changes the circumstances. It makes literary texts accessible to people who have difficulty reading or learning. It is just as good for people who have just started learning a new language. Each translation tries to stay as close as possible to the original text, to preserve its typical language and particularity. Not everything needs to be explained. The Brecht Festival has had five tales from the calendar by Bertolt Brecht translated into simple language: “Der Augsburger Kreidekreis” (The Augsburg Chalk Circle), “Die Geschichte von einem, der nie zu spät kam” (The Story of Someone Who Was Never Too Late), “Die Antwort” (The Answer), “Das Paket des lieben Gottes” (A Present From God), “Der Arbeitsplatz oder Im Schweiße deines Angesichts sollst du kein Brot essen” (The Job or By the Sweat of Thy Brow Shalt Thou Fail to Earn Thy Bread) and “Die unwürdige Greisin” (The Unseemly Old Lady) . All texts will be published by Passanten Verlag in January 2021.
“Die unwürdige Greisin” will be created as an animated film for the online version of the festival.

Translation into simple language: Passanten Verlag, Doreen Kuttner
Animated film: Katia Fouquet
A Brecht Festival production. Publishing rights: Passanten Verlag

 

 

Bluespots Productions: “Heldin Nr. 0” (Heroine No. 0)

Unhappy the land that has no heroes! – No, unhappy the land that needs heroes. (They’re the words Bert Brecht put in Galileo’s mouth.)
The short film “Heldin Nr. 0” dives into the world of seemingly silent anti-heroes and gives them the voice to tell their very own story. The fictional characters of Brechtian poetry blend with the voices of real experiences. We see them in their most private moments of brokenness, when there is no physical or political way out. When angels take revenge on their seducers. When mothers sink to guns. When wanting to be good means having to be bad. bluespots productions celebrates the zero!

A production by bluespots productions on behalf of the Brecht Festival 2021

 

 

theter: “Ruth” (working title)

She fought at the front in the Spanish Civil War, stood up for women’s rights, was a writer, actress, and director, offended society with her communist and political ideas, and wanted to capture reality on stage – Ruth Berlau was so much more than just Brecht’s lover, confidante, and stage photographer: she was a revolutionary in every sense of the word. The theter ensemble dedicates itself to the life, love and suffering of the impressive “Comrade Ruth” in a scenic collage.

A production by theter as part of the Brecht Festival 2021

 

 

Caroline Kapp & Manon Haase: “Broken Brecht. Ein epischer Autorinnenschaftskrimi” (Broken Brecht. An epic thriller by female authors)

In “Broken Brecht,” “the women” wonder how it could possibly be that the statue of the famous poet Bert or Bertolt or Berthold … BRECHT could be overthrown? What is clear: It is now broken. The event has taken place, this is the replay. The “Die Straßenszene” (The Street Scene) text, in which Bertolt Brecht explores his idea of epic theatre and which revolutionised theatre after its publication in 1938, still serves as a model today. Even if Brecht was primarily concerned with an aesthetic reconstruction of the theatre, “Die Straßenszene” also represents a social and political tool for dissecting events.
“The women” make use of this model. They try to remember and come up against a myriad of questions as they investigate: Who arranged for the statue to be built? Who ultimately built it? Who inaugurated it? And why isn’t it standing now? More protagonists than first thought seem to be involved in the construction of the iconic statue. Their investigative work leads to the deconstruction of memory and historiography. “The women” end up alienated themselves in Brechtian style and set up a new monument.

Production: Caroline Kapp
With: Nellie Fischer Benson, Arina Toni, Marie Bloching, Jan Grosfeld
Staging: Amina Nouns

Costumes: Melina Poppe, Sound: Florian Wulff, Editing: Laura Kansy, Video: Kristina Kilian and Camille Tricaud, Dramaturgy: Manon Haase

A Brecht Festival co-production with Otto Falckenberg Schule in Munich

 

 

“tanikō (cold love). A noh film by Aloysia Boyd”

There is a rumour that Marieluise (“Aloysia”) Fleißer adapted the Japanese noh play tanikō. In contrast to Brecht’s treatment of the material in the didactic plays “Jasager” (He said Yes)/“Neinsager” (He said No), the participants in Fleißer’s revolutionary expedition would probably have hesitated as to whether they were walking on the right path between the red mountain and the brown valley. Perhaps, however, their indecisiveness would have helped them discover a different, more tentative avant-garde that attempts to deal with the contradictory impulses within interpersonal relationships.

By Lennart Boyd Schürmann, with Isabell Höckel, Anni Kumlehn, Jorid Lukaczik and Anna Seidel

A Brecht Festival co-production with Otto Falckenberg Schule in Munich

 

 

Johannes Aue, Ben Hartmann: „Talk“ 

Ben Hartmann is a singer, actor and speaker. Born in Berlin just before reunification. In the meantime grown up to a stately 1.93 m. The term “bard” is no longer used today for someone who combines lyrical and musical qualities. Singer-songwriter is more like it, but completely understates the performing elegance of Ben Hartmann’s stage presence. Hartmann is a fighter on many levels. Pulling off performances even with broken limbs. In 2014 he started the “Milliarden” band with his partner Johannes Aue, who in turn is a multi-instrumentalist and also an actor. In six years, Hartmann and Aue have carved out independence and a life between studios, tours and festival appearances. The band explores contradictions and longing in their songs. Themes like lust, as the most natural language in the world, death and utopia run through their discography. This is one of the reasons why Hartmann and Aue ended up with Brecht’s pornographic sonnets at the request of Jürgen Kuttner. Brecht wrote these erotic miniatures during his summer journeys from Berlin to his native Augsburg, out of boredom and desire. He exuberantly and precisely describes his horniness and desires in them. They were circulated among friends long before they were published. Today, porn has pervaded all areas of life. It’s still “indecent”, not a polite topic. Using Brecht’s sonnets as a slide, the two storytellers’ musical performance repeatedly sets out in search of redemptive answers to the existential questions of abortion / drug addiction / the fear of making decisions that go against the grain and setting out into the unknown.

With: Johannes Aue, Ben Hartmann

A Brecht Festival production. Publishing rights: Suhrkamp Verlag

 

 

SCUM: (OT)

• Wash Konrad Krenzlin in a sieve. Wash and cut Richard Lucius, Robert Lucius and Leonard Neumann into small pieces. Finely chop Hanna Hilsdorf.
• Heat one tablespoon of Bertolt Brecht in a large pot and fry “the women”. Add the “Manifest der Gesellschaft zur Vernichtung der Männer (S.C.U.M. – Society for Cutting Up Men)” (S.C.U.M. (Society for Cutting Up Men) Manifesto) by Valerie Solanas and sauté.
• Add Ruth Berlau, Margarete Steffin and 2 litres of Helene Weigel. Bring to the boil briefly, put the lid on and simmer for 45 minutes.
• Meanwhile, peel and chop the lyrics, songs and love poems. Add 20 minutes before the end of the cooking time and simmer in the pot until everything is cooked.
• Turn off the stove. Take out SCUM. Season with Hanns Eisler, Kurt Weill, 1-2 tsp of pop and punk.
• Cut Jürgen Kuttner into slices and add. Allow to steep for a good 10 minutes. Serve and enjoy.

SCUM are Konrad Krenzlin on keyboards, Richard Lucius on drums, Robert Lucius on guitar, Leonard Neumann on bass and Hanna Hilsdorf on mic.
The band is showing a music video produced for the Brecht Festival.

With: Hanna Hilsdorf, Goshawk (Konrad Krenzlin, Richard Lucius, Robert Lucius, Leonard Neumann)

A Brecht Festival production

 

 

Irina Rastorgueva & Thomas Martin:
“Haben Sie von Carola gehört? Teil 1: Bring me the head of Bertolt Brecht” (Have you heard from Carola? Part 1: Bring me the head of Bertolt Brecht)

Devised & animated by: Irina Rastorgueva & Thomas Martin

A co-production with the Augsburg Brecht Festival

 

 

L-Twills: Rhythm Imprint 04: Inge, raise us from the dead!

“I can’t stand without a floor. Only sing. Up somewhere at the bottom. Who is the hunter, who is the prey? Where is one, one so. Who makes live what is to dead for him. And wants to live differently???“ (Inge Müller)

Inge Müller is interviewed in the middle of a hybrid sound architecture, surrounded by fragile rhythms and haunting vocal fragments. We ask questions: How did you come back to life? What did Goebbels shout to you through the radio in the tiled stove back then? Can someone disappear without leaving a corpse? How do you find water when the desert dries up?
Confronted with the grave from which she rose again in 1945, Inge Müller describes the traumatic reality of a society between godlessness and selflessness, growing out of rubble and ashes. In 2021, her words become a timeless science fiction technology to question the present: Inge, raise us from the dead!

 

 

Frank Wolff: “TANZ DEN BRECHT” (DANCE BRECHT) – music and poetry with cello.

Frank Wolff is a living legend as a cellist. Someone who is good at getting angry at Bertolt Brecht, but also always finds friendly tones for the poet. Together with video artist Bert Zander, his performance explores the sound and image space of one of Augsburg’s largest industrial monuments. Turning the Oberhauser Gaskessel into an echo chamber for a unique concert experience.

With: Frank Wolff
Director & camera operator: Bert Zander

 

 

 

 

In Concert

Dakh Daughters: Welcome to Dakh
Concert from the Dakh Theatre in Kiev (Ukraine)

The “Dakh” Centre of Contemporary Art in Kiev is one of the top addresses for contemporary experimental theatre in Ukraine. This is the artistic home of Dakh Daughters. The seven “daughters”, all of them gifted actresses and musicians, invented a daring aesthetic mix there in 2012: a combination of Ukrainian folklore, punk, cabaret, prog rock, classical music and original texts from Taras Schevchenko to Joseph Brodsky and William Shakespeare. Dakh Daughters accompanied the Euromaidan demonstrations in 2013 with their “Freak Cabaret”. They then went from the barricades on a world tour. In 2017, the septet performed for the first time at the Brecht Festival in Augsburg. For the 2021 online edition, Dakh Daughters take us inside their theatre for the first time, for an auspicious date with Bertolt Brecht, feminism and political songwriting.

A Dakh Daughters production on behalf of the Augsburg Brecht Festival

 

 

Banda Internationale feat. Bernadette La Hengst

On the last, completely sold-out Brecht Night, Banda Internationale and Bernadette La Hengst blew the audience in the Kongress im Park away with their Brecht programme. The online format gives anyone who couldn’t get in last time a chance to catch up and lets all those who were there reminisce about those distant times when sweaty bodies were still allowed to party unmasked with and next to each other in closed rooms. The brass band is an established name on the Dresden music scene. In 2015, the troupe toured through Dresden’s first reception camps to include refugee musicians in the band. Since then, the brass section has been supplemented with oud and cello and with musicians from Syria and Iraq. Together with the pop agitation chanteuse Bernadette La Hengst, Banda Internationale are now musically taking on Bertolt Brecht and his flight and migration history after 1933, brushing him with and against the grain, and even swapping his cigar for a proper shisha. In the Großes Haus they perform Brecht songs and their own plays about flight and expulsion, with chutzpah and magical energy. In short: pop against the right and international brass music for everyone!

 

 

Charlotte Brandi

“Exuberant joie de vivre”, “melodic grandeur”, “rapturous arrangements and a fantastic production” is how Rolling Stone magazine attests to Charlotte Brandi’s solo debut album. “The Magician” leaves no doubt that Charlotte Brandi has left “Me and My Drummer” behind and is wandering down new musical paths: the album borrows from the film music of Ennio Morricone or the Krautrock soundscapes of Popol Vuh, but also draws inspiration from Eastern European music. Charlotte Brandi associates at least three things with Bertolt Brecht: Berlin as his adopted home, a soft spot for theatre and Augsburg. She wrote the music for the successful “Und jetzt die Welt!” (And now the world!) production at the Staatstheater Augsburg in 2019. Brandi is recording an exclusive session at Augsburg’s “Brechtstudios” for the digital edition of the Brecht Festival.

 

 

Snapped!

“Snap, snap / I got you, boy / Looking on my skirt, checking out that fat /… / Did you even think you’d get away with that?” – “Snap” by Hanna Paulsberg, GURLS

“Snap” is about a very specific type of man. One who still has a hard time with the idea that women don’t get up in the morning to please men. One who has nestled into his privileges too comfortably. But now the trap has snapped shut. The penny has dropped. “Snapped” is a project by female musicians from Augsburg and Munich who have come together especially for the Brecht Festival to celebrate an ode to the women who run things. Regardless of what they are wearing under their skirts.

With: Luisa Stapf, Malaika Lerner & Lotte Etschberger (vocals), Mona Sonntag (percussion), Julia Hornung (bass), Bettina Maier (saxophone)

Marius Schölch (graphics, animations)

 

 

Literature

“Du sollst kein Brot essen” Slam-, Text- und Musikperformance (Thou Shalt Fail to Earn Thy Bread)

“In a few days the woman became a man, in the same way as men have become men over the millennia.” (Bertolt Brecht).
The slam poets Tanasgol Sabbagh, Pauline Füg, Florian Stein and Henrik Szanto develop texts based on this quote from “Der Arbeitsplatz oder im Schweißse deines Angesichts sollst du kein Brot essen” (The Job or By the Sweat of Thy Brow Shalt Thou Fail to Earn Thy Bread). Freely and individually they reflect the role models of women in today’s society, their developments, perspectives, future prognoses. In the tradition of Brecht Festival formats such as “Beat, Jazz & Spoken Word” and “Best of Poetry”, the texts will be recited by the poets in an exciting performance in interaction with three musicians and their improvised and spontaneously arranged sounds.

With: Tanasgol Sabbagh, Henrik Szanto, Pauline Füg, Florian Stein
Music: Steffi Sachsenmeier on drums, Tom Jahn on synths, Girisha Fernando on bass and guitar
Staging: Bernhard Siegl

Curated by Ezgi Zengin and Girisha Fernando

 

 

 

 

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