|The Maxim Gorki Theater, Germany, 2016|
Tour Dates: 20th June - 26th June, 2016
The Maxim Gorki Theater, located in the Choral Academy on the boulevard Unter den Linden, is the smallest and most beautiful of Berlin’s ensemble theaters...
The Maxim Gorki Theater, located in the Choral Academy on the boulevard Unter den Linden, is the smallest and most beautiful of Berlin’s ensemble theaters and also a historically significant building. Founded in 1952 as a theater for contemporary productions, it became a Stadttheater (municipal theater) for the citizens of East Berlin in the very best sense – it was both critical and dissident. In 1988, when Thomas Langhoff staged Volker Braun’s Übergangsgesellschaft (A Changing Society), the theater prophetically anticipated the peaceful revolution of the 9th of November, 1989.
It was also the 9th of November, but in the year 1848, that the first freely elected Prussian national assembly was driven out of the city – the assembly had been working on a democratic constitution for Prussia in the Choral Academy. Spanning the period between these two events is the story of the fight for a democratically constituted, just and open society: from the declaration of a German Republic in 1918, the November pogroms of 1938 and the oppression and murder of the Jews, to the unification of the city and the country, leading ultimately to today‘s debates surrounding the future of Berlin as a diverse European metropolis.
Are we once again living in a society in transition? The question inevitably arises when we are faced with a permanent crisis in economy and politics, a crisis which results in even more severe social and cultural conflicts in our societies.
Contemporary plays, new interpretations of classical pieces and an interdisciplinary approach define the programme of the Gorki with its artistic directors Shermin Langhoff and Jens Hillje. The theater is opening itself up to the city: with a young ensemble, with Studio Я who stages experimental productions and artist from all over the world and the theater coaches of Gorki X, who all invite you to get involved. The Gorki is for the whole city, and that includes everyone who has arrived in the city in the last few decades, whether in search of asylum, whether in exile, whether they be immigrants or simply people who grew up in Berlin. We invite you all to a public space in which today’s human condition and our conflict of identity will be reflected through the art of making theater and watching theater, in order to contribute to a thorough and patient debate about living together in today’s diverse world. How have we become what we are? And who do we want to be in the future? In short: who is "we"?
In 2014 theater critics in Germany, Austria and Switzerland elected the Gorki theater of the year.
Gorki in-house director Yael Ronen was born in Jerusalem in 1976. She comes from a theater family and is internationally considered to be one of the most exciting theater makers of her generation. The greatest tool at her disposal: black humour in the framework of historical conflicts. Ronen’s play Third Generation, featuring German, Israeli and Palestinian actors, was invited to numerous festivals. Another of her productions Hakoah Wien, developed at Schauspielhaus Graz, was awarded the Austrian Nestroy theater prize in 2013. She staged the world premiere of the adaptation of Olga Grjasnowa’s bestselling novel All Russians Love Birch Trees. Common Ground emerged as a meditation from Ronen and her actors on the aftermath of the war in former Yugoslavia. Her latest production at Gorki is Erotic Crisis.
Yugoslavia – a country that no longer exists. Perished in wars between brothers in the 90s. For the second time since 1914, Sarajevo was at the center of a seemingly never-ending conflict that lives on in the present. Many people fled to Berlin – on the run, in search of work, of another life. How do these Berliners experience these conflicts today? Here the children of the victims of war crimes live alongside the children of the perpetrators. How do they interact?
Common ground is the substance we share, a foundation on which to stand. In her project Yael Ronen brings together performers who came to Berlin from Belgrade and Sarajevo, Novi Sad and Prijedor. What is their Common Ground? The play has been developed collectively based on a trip to Bosnia, and on encounters with experts and the family members of the protagonists. The theater becomes a safe space for discussing terms like guilt and atonement, forgiveness and forgetting, while stereotypes, prejudices and conflicting narratives gleefully collide.
"As pathetic and a flat out it must be framed: Common Ground is a theatrical sensation."
- Tobias Becker / Spiegel Online
"For years Yael Ronen has been wading through this world’s conflicts both virtuously and ironically"
- Mounia Meiborg / Süddeutsche Zeitung