I am writing these lines during the final third of a season that was surely the most unusual in a long time. In a year that marked an enormous adjustment for many people everywhere as well as a decisive turning point.
Following the opening of our season on 25 September 2020, our performances were suspended from 2 November. No one would have expected this suspension to continue to this day in late April. Never before have we thought so intensely about schedules and options, or shifted positions and performance dates so many times – and in the end, we were able to realise only a very small part of our plans. And the more interconnected or international a project was, the greater was the challenge.
But: Regarding this experience, the theatre is no more than part of a society and a world that faced the same conditions. This experience of uncertainty and silence was felt just the same by many industries and by large parts of society, in a time and in the face of a (global) situation unlike any in a very long time.
After the final performance in November, we decided to focus our work on preparing ourselves to perform. We rehearsed the planned productions as far as we could, so that they would be ready for their premiere. In this way, we were able to prepare several productions that we are eager to present to you as soon as possible: the world premiere of “DIE KUNST DER WUNDE
” by Katja Brunner, Anna-Sophie Mahler’s and Anne Jelena Schulte's “La Bohème
”-project or Philipp Preuss’ Kafka-performance “Das Schloss
”, to name but a few. You can take a first look at some photo galleries in this publication. When exactly we will be able to present these productions is still uncertain – so that this annual programme brochure will not contain dates of individual performances. But we will announce the dates on our website as soon as possible.
As part of our rehearsal process, we also had to adapt our repertoire shows to meet the distancing rules that also apply on stage, of course. In May 2020, our production “k.
” was one of the first digital theatre formats of the Corona-period and it will be followed by the world premiere of Lukas Rietzschel’s “Widerstand
”, Eidin Jalali’s solo “Die Leiden des jungen Azzlak
” and “The Shape of Trouble to Come
” by FARN
. collective around actor Sandra Hüller – all these productions will be developed as hybrids, to be performed onstage or online – or perhaps even exclusively in a digital form.
One thing we know for sure after all these months is: We cannot wait to see you, we need you, we miss you! We not only miss the performances but everything else that has been and will always be an elementary part of our theatre work at Schauspiel Leipzig: discussions, after-show talks, accompanying events. These formats will be continued as soon as possible. (Not only) the theatre relies on moments that are experienced live, on encounters and direct communication with you, the audience.
And so we have made the deliberate decision to formulate a motto for the 2021 / 22 season and to once more produce a programme brochure for the whole year to present our plans, ideas and content.
“And what does that mean for me” is the motto of this season. It’s neither a question nor an exclamation, rather an open phrasing as a basis for further exploration. A phrase that signifies overload, worry, stress-test, selfishness, competition, a vision of the future.
Having to find our bearings in the tangle of society is something that we are all faced with. Sorting out and climbing through this tangle has always been a challenge. It is also a tangle of opinions, positions, demands, discussions and discourses. People seem to always have felt that there is an increasing dynamic in the acceleration of these challenges – and now there is the addition of the media, not least the realm of social media, where statements and positions are overwritten, continued, contradicted and criticised in real time.
Our wish to be featured and heard in this dynamic fuels the impulse to add another level to it. But how am I perceived in all this? What is my worth, what is my opinion worth? And how is this worth measured? And since we’re on the subject: Let me see how people have reacted to my Instagram-story. And what’s trending on Twitter?
Over the past months of the pandemic, live tickers and new flashes have become fixed elements of all news channels, not as the exception but as a permanent fixture that stands beside the usual news and even overshadows them. And by the evening, the first early morning news item on the ticker has subsided to become sediment, superimposed by all the statements, breaking news, opinions, splinters. What do we do with all of this input? Which filters do we need, which filter bubbles surround us?
Even before the Corona-pandemic, we knew that dynamics of this kind don’t always generate community or insight, appreciation or information, but sometimes loneliness or a feeling of being overwhelmed instead. But this feeling has increased over the past months, when a social-media life has gained more ground as a substitute for real encounters. And this doesn’t make it easier to answer the question of where we can find our own place in life.
Furthermore, the months of the pandemic demonstrated something that the youngest generations had never experienced before: an entire society, or even the world, found itself in a situation where many everyday cornerstones became unclear; instructions disintegrated days after they were announced, statements were overtaken by new insights and decisions were made before there could be any preparation. For many of us, the question of what this meant had to be repeatedly clarified and investigated, the next steps had to be investigated and coordinated. Tolerating uncertainty and eschewing all predictability turned into a permanent stress-test for the modern, over-scheduled person.
But asking about your place in life also includes our future, the state of the environment and the question of what decisions are necessary now – and what they will mean for all of us. “And what does this mean for me” can also refer to the utopian ideas and ideals necessary to change the present.
The 2021 / 22 season at Schauspiel Leipzig is characterised by continued working relationships. This includes directors like Claudia Bauer, who will stage Günter Grass’ “Die Rättin
”, and Anna-Sophie Mahler – who will be working closely and continually with Schauspiel Leipzig as director-in-residence from now on and will take a look at the “Undine
”-material –, Pia Richter, Thirza Bruncken or Katrin Plötner. Thomas Köck, an author whose work has been shown at our theatre several times, has written a commissioned play, “Vendetta Vendetta
”, and will direct his own work for the first time.
But there will be new encounters, too. Director Elsa-Sophie Jach will direct at this theatre for the first time and authors Emre Akal and Kristin Höller will introduce their texts at Discothek. The venue’s programme includes two pieces commissioned by Schauspiel Leipzig and two world premieres that have been developed with Autorentheatertage of Deutsches Theater Berlin and the exil-Dramatists’ Award of Wiener Wortstaetten.
Residenz will also continue its cooperation with companies and artistic signatures that have been presented there before. As an artistic response to the Corona-pandemic, the venue will structure its work into topical sections for the first time.
Once the Corona-situation has eased, we will live in a different world. The world will be different, but so will our nearer surroundings – the city of Leipzig. There will be changes that affect all of us. When it comes to the changes in our city, we – as the theatre of the city of Leipzig – will follow these changes with special interest: “Pay attention!” is the title of a long term project that will be launched in the spring of 2022. It will focus on the consequences and developments caused by the events of the past months and their impact on the city centre.
We want to rediscover our city. We want to get in touch with the city again – and with you!