On TOUR (2)

Mai 17th, 2008

EXODUS ist auf Tour. Ein aktuelles Interview mit Björn Potulski, dem künstlerischen Leiter von EXODUS (anläßlich unserer Aufführungen in Catania) finden Sie hier. Die nächsten Aufführungen sind in München am 20., 21., 22. und 23. Mai im Teamtheater Tankstelle. Anschließend ziehen wir für zwei Aufführungen weiter nach Warschau. Weitere Informationen zu den Spielorten finden Sie hier:

MÜNCHEN: May 20/21/22/23
WARSAW: May 24/25

Wir würden uns sehr freuen, Sie als unser Publikum begrüßen zu dürfen!

EXODUS ist im Moment in Wien. Hier sind aktuelle Szenenphotos von diesen Aufführungen:

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Das Ensemble von EXODUS: Eric Nyandu Kabongo, Attilio Nucera, Imer Deliu, George Sammut (v.l.n.r.).

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Eric Nyandu Kabongo (links) wurde in Kinshasa, Kongo, geboren. Die politischen Verhältnisse seines Heimatlandes veranlassten ihn zur Flucht. Nach einer mehrjährigen Odyssee durch Afrika und der Durchquerung der Sahara entschloss sich Eric, mit optimistischen Erwartungen dem Exodus der sog. “Boat People” anzuschließen. Auf dem offenen Mittelmeer gerieten er und seine Mitreisenden in akute Lebensgefahr und wurden von der maltesischen Marine gerettet. Bombardier George Sammut (rechts) ist Crewmitglied an Bord des Flaggschiffes der maltesischen Marine, der P-61. Vor allem in den Sommermonaten sind er und seine Kameraden beinahe täglich mit den Tragödien konfrontiert, die sich zwischen Libyen und der Küste Maltas abspielen.

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Imer Deliu (links). Im Kosovokrieg trat Imer 1999 der “Kosovo-Befreiungs-Armee” UCK bei. Im Sommer 1999 wurden 24 Mitglieder seiner Familie das Opfer eines Massakers. Dieses Ereignis machte weltweit Schlagzeilen und hatte einen starken Einfluss auf die öffentliche Meinung im Westen. Das Eingreifen der NATO in den Konflikt wurde dadurch beschleunigt.

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Attilio Nucera lebt in Gallicano, einem kleinen Dorf in der Nähe von Reggio di Calabria (Süditalien). Attilios Muttersprache ist Griechisch. In einigen wenigen, isoliert gelegenen Dörfern hat sich diese Sprache als veritables Erbe der Magna Graecia bis heute erhalten. Um 800 v. Chr. hatten die Griechen begonnen, Kolonien in Italien zu gründen. Heute sind griechische Sprache und Kultur in Süditalien akut vom Aussterben bedroht. Attilio hat sich dem kampf um deren Erhaltung verschrieben.

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Maciej Adamczyk, Theaterregisseur und Schauspieler aus Posen, Polen, wurde von uns auf eine Reise nach Jerusalem geschickt. Tagsüber sucht er in der Heiligen Stadt interessante Menschen, die er abends vor laufender Kamera nach ihrem “Gelobten Land” befragt. Die Bilder werden live auf eine Leinwand projiziert, die Teil des Bühnenbildes ist. Maciejs Beiträge sind jeden Abend neu, riskant und überraschend. Beispielsweise zog während einer Aufführung in Wien sein palästinensischer Interviewpartner eine Flöte hervor und bat unsere Komponistin Nélida Béjar, die bei uns jeden Abend auf der Bühne steht, in eine Improvisation einzustimmen. Nélida spielte mit und das Publikum wurde Zeuge eines einzigartigen Momentes…

On TOUR

Mai 13th, 2008

By Björn Potulski

EXODUS started. A matinee on May 8 in Malta opened a series of international shows. The audience was consisting of 500 school students. We survived.

Two evening performances followed. We received fantastic comments by our audiences. Thank you very much! Thanks to all those who have helped us to start up this unique project, involving eight nationalities and six countries!

A ferry trip to Sicily followed. Rough seas. Only George, who is a professional sailor, stayed unimpressed. I won’t tell details concerning the physical and mental reactions of the company.

EXODUS currently shows in Catania, Sicily. The last show here will be tonight, May 13 at 9pm. The venue is the beautiful space of Teatro Club Nando Greco in the city centre.

Maciej is live broadcasting from JERUSALEM. Yesterday, he found Kais, who is a Palestinian living in the eastern part of the Holy City. Kais, who is a city guide, told us about his personal situation in the “Promised Land”: Not having a proper passport, being married to a Christian and what problems that causes with the Israelian authorities, being a refugee in his own land and home.

EXODUS will move on to Vienna. Upcoming shows: May 15, 16 and 17 at Theater des Augenblicks, Edlhofgasse 10, Vienna. The shows will be subtitled in the German language.

The following photographs have been taken during rehearsals in Malta:

Eric and George

ERIC NYANDU KABONGO (left) was born in Kinshasa, Congo. He came to Europe with the Exodus of “Boat People” and almost died at sea. Eric and the other people in his boat have been saved by the Maltese Navy. Brigardier GEORGE SAMMUT (right) is a crew member of the P-61, the Maltese Navy’s flagship.

Attilio Nucera

ATTILIO NUCERA is from Calabria in Southern Italy. His native language is an ancient Greek dialect, currently only spoken by a few hundred people; a veritable heritage of the Magna Graecia that has been founded in southern Italy by the Greek colonists 800 B.C., now a minority culture rapidly dying out.

Imer Deliu

IMER DELIU is a veteran of UÇK, the “Kosovo Liberation Army”. He has fought in the Kosovo War for his Promised Land and has paid a big price. 24 members of his family became victims of a massacre committed by Serbian troups. This event made news in media around the globe and influenced the public opinion in the Western World in a way that made a NATO-intervention in Kosovo more likely.

Nélida Béjar

Spanish composer NÉLIDA BÉJAR is creating the original music score for EXODUS. She is performing live on stage; when you hear her play, you cannot believe it is just one person who is creating live all these sounds. Nélida is connecting her violin to her computer and is live processing sounds using loops, delays and other effects.

Maciej Adamczyk

The icon of all Promised Lands is Jerusalem; the Holy City is a focus of the three monotheistic religions, the main arena of their conflict; Polish actor and director MACIEJ ADAMCZYK is performing in Jerusalem and is broadcasting live images and sound to be projected on a screen that is part of the stage settings. Maciej is asking the people of Jerusalem for their “Promised Lands”.

We are looking forward to welcome you as our guests!

CATANIA: May 13
VIENNA: May 15/16/17
MUNICH: May 20/21/22/23
WARSAW: May 24/25

Kosovo, Promised Land

Mai 1st, 2008

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EXODUS is a joint theatre production of artists from Germany, Poland, France, Italy, Spain, Austria and Malta and is dedicated to the foundation of a veritable European Theatre: The six participating theatre companies from all over Europe aim to create a regular schedule under the umbrella of a common corporate identity. EXODUS is the initiative’s showcase. The international production team will be blogging on the development of the initiative on a weekly basis.
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By Raphael Protiwensky-Schenk

Ich habe schon öfter mehrsprachige gearbeitet und so war ich davon überzeugt, dass mit Hilfe des Übersetzers Kelvin Hila, die Arbeit mit Herrn Imer Deliu kein Problem werden würde.

Die Arbeit selbst war zwar, obwohl recht langwierig, nicht das eigentliche Problem. Das wirkliche Problem waren die Fakten, die Kelvin Hila und ich von Herrn Deliu zu hören bekamen.

Oft mussten wir einfach Pausen einlegen, um das gehörte zu verdauen. Das sind die Momente in denen ich es ein wenig bedauere keinen Alkohol zu trinken.

Weiters stellte sich immer wieder die moralisch-ethische Frage, ob sich die Aussagen von Herrn Deliu – streckenweise eine bloße Aufzählung der Namen der getöteten Familienmitglieder –überhaupt für einen Theatertext eignen.

Ist die Heimat, das einfache Stück Land, es denn wirklich wert, die eigene Familie zu opfern? Eine Frage, die wir Herrn Deliu immer und immer wieder stellten und auf die er immer dieselbe Antwort gab: Das Leben in Sklaverei ist schroffer und härter als der Tod.

Eine starke Aussage, über die sich jeder einzelne selbst seine Gedanken machen muss.

Immer Deliu selbst ist ein ruhiger, etwas introvertierter, netter Herr mittleren Alters. Trotz dieser Erlebnisse und der Dinge die er mit ansehen musste, ist er freundlich und höflich geblieben.

Man fragt sich auch, wie man solche Erlebnisse verarbeiten kann, wie man nach solchen Dingen überhaupt weitermachen kann.

Für Herrn Deliu stand und steht das Land, sein Heimatdorf, der Kosovo im Zentrum des Handels und Denkens…

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Raphael Protiwensky-Schenk studied Drama at Vienna University and worked for the Wiener Staatsoper, the Volksoper and the Kammeroper. As an assistant director Raphael worked at the Theater der Jugend and in the course of various independent productions. From 2002 to 2004 he works as dramatic advisor, drama educator, Author and director at the Landestheater Schwaben, Germany. Since 2004, Raphael is working as playwright, director and drama educator in Vienna.

Das Schiff und das Meer

April 21st, 2008

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EXODUS is a joint theatre production of artists from Germany, Poland, France, Italy, Spain, Austria, Portugal and Malta and is dedicated to the foundation of a veritable European Theatre: The seven participating theatre companies from all over Europe aim to create a regular schedule under the umbrella of a common corporate identity. EXODUS is the initiative’s showcase. The international production team will be blogging on the development of the initiative on a weekly basis.
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By Björn Potulski

Zehn Uhr morgens. Wir stehen am Tor der kleinen Marinebasis, warten auf Einlass; das dauert, es ist der maltesische Nationalfeiertag. Das Warten bietet keine Ablenkung von meinem Unwohlsein, Wirkung des unguten sizilianischen Weines vom Vorabend; am Kai liegt das Schiff, auf dem George Dienst tut und schaukelt in gemessenem Takt von einer Seite auf die andere. Endlich, wir werden abgeholt, ich frage nach dem Raum in dem wir uns unterhalten werden, man zeigt auf die „P61“. George ist seit fünfzehn Jahren in der Marine, seit einigen Jahren an Bord des Flaggschiffes, das wir nun betreten.

Das Innere bietet überreichlich Gelegenheit, sich den verkaterten Kopf zu stoßen; ich klettere voran, einen fast senkrechten Niedergang hinab, Marion hinterher, den engen Gang zur Offiziersmesse geht George voran. Man entschuldigt sich, wie es hier aussehe, auf dem Boden liegen Maschinenteile herum, man unterziehe das Schiff einer umfangreichen Wartung; das ist irgendwie rührend, als täte es unseren Gastgebern leid, das Wohnzimmer nicht aufgeräumt zu haben, bevor der Besuch erscheint.

Marion, Björn, Cpt. James Grixti on board P61<

Ich befinde die nicht ungemütliche Offiziersmesse für gut, um darin ein Interview abzuhalten, es stört lediglich, dass der Kugelschreiber auf dem Tisch hin- und herrollt und das der Raum keine Fenster hat. Wir befragen George nach seiner täglichen Routine an Bord, nach den Aufgaben der maltesischen Marine, welche vielfältig sind: Polizeiaufgaben, Grenzschutz, Landesverteidigung, Dokumentation von Tierbeständen – Fische, Wale und Schildkröten – nicht zuletzt, und vor allem im Sommer: „Search and Rescue“. Jedes Jahr im Mai, wenn es wärmer wird und das Mittelmeer ruhig ist, setzt sich der Exodus der Bootsflüchtlinge in Gang, die von Afrika aus versuchen, nach Europa zu gelangen.

Wir sprechen nicht über Politik, nicht über das Phänomen der „Illegalen Einwanderung“, wir sprechen darüber, wie es ist, einen ertrinkenden, ausgezehrten Mann, vielleicht eine Frau und ihr kleines Kind, mit eigenen Händen aus dem Wasser zu ziehen. Oder 25 von ihnen, die von den Wellen alle auf einmal aus einem winzigen Boot geworfen wurden und nun panisch um ihr Leben strampeln; darüber, wie es ist, entscheiden zu müssen, wen man zuerst zu retten versucht, da zu viele im Wasser sind, um allen gleichzeitig zu helfen. Es überfordert die Vorstellungskraft zunächst: George macht das, der herzlich sympathische Mann, der uns gegenübersitzt und demnächst bei uns auf der Bühne stehen wird, er hat diese Begegnungen auf offener See, diese menschliche Extremsituation ist beinahe sein Alltag; eigentlich machen das doch nur die Leute in den Fernsehnachrichten?

Marion, Cpt. Grixti, Björn

Wir unternehmen einen Rundgang durch das Schiff. Ich erkundige mich auch nach der Seekrankheit. Unter dieser leide man durchaus von Zeit zu Zeit, auch als professioneller Seemann. Besonders der Schiffskoch sei anfällig, der stünde schließlich in der Hitze und den Essensdämpfen, das sei gar nicht gut, vor allem da die Kombüse keine Fenster habe und man folglich den Horizont nicht sehen könne. Auch George ist in schwerer See schon eingesprungen, nachdem man den Koch in die Koje hatte bringen müssen. Dies erzählt er uns in der Küche, in einem sehr großen Topf rührend, in dem ein Kaninchengericht schmort, obligate Gaumenfreude am maltesischen Nationalfeiertag. Mir ist inzwischen so übel, dass ich mich an Land sehne. Nach Besichtigung der Mannschaftsunterkünfte, des Maschinenraumes und der Brücke erfüllt sich, was ich kaum erwarten kann.

Wir danken der maltesischen Marine herzlich für die gute und vertrauensvolle Zusammenarbeit.

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Björn Potulski was born in Munich in 1976. As the initiative’s artistic director, Björn is coordinating efforts to form a veritable European Theatre and to produce EXODUS. Björn studied Drama, Literature and Political Science at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich. In 1997 he founded Munich based Theater Sündenfall. Since 2006, the company is consisting of a Franco German team that is regularly performing on an international level. Björn’s international experience includes the organisation of various guest performances amongst others in Washington, D.C., Boston, New York, Vienna, Budapest and Paris.

Catania and the relationship between theatre music and soldering

April 14th, 2008

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EXODUS is a joint theatre production of artists from Germany, Poland, France, Italy, Spain, Austria, Portugal and Malta and is dedicated to the foundation of a veritable European Theatre: The seven participating theatre companies from all over Europe aim to create a regular schedule under the umbrella of a common corporate identity. EXODUS is the initiative’s showcase. The international production team will be blogging on the development of the initiative on a weekly basis.
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By Nélida Béjar

Now a few days are left to finish preparing all the technical aspects, before our music rehearsals will start in Catania. The music I’ll play will be for violin, which will be processed through the computer using pure data, a sound programming software. The programmation is ready, I made for this project a looper with different effects in order to record, play back and change the violin sound in real time. One last thing needs to be built: a small pedal board to control the whole thing with the feet while playing, made out of some switches and the circuit board of an old keyboard, which now only need to be soldered together. This is my programm for today…

Nélida’s device

Then, on Friday, in Catania, I’ll finally meet Renato and Paola, the italian part of our theater, and we’ll work out the kind of interaction this processed violin music will have with Renato’s singing, and give the whole thing a definitive structure, before meeting the rest of the crew, actors and co-directors, in Malta a week later. An exciting perspective all in all.

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Nélida Béjar was born to her Spanish parents in Munich 1979. Nélida studied Music at the Musikhochschule in Munich and Composition at the RSK in Munich with Wilfried Hiller. She has written pieces for the Gasteig, the Bayerischer Rundfunk, the vocal group Die Singphoniker, the dutch ensemble De Ereprijs, the DoArte foundation, and various soloists. Nélida received the Richard-Strauss-Preis 2005 and a residency at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris in 2004. At the moment she is preparing for her PhD in Composition with Donnacha Dennehy at the Trinity College in Dublin, while living in Paris.

La Fortuna

März 31st, 2008

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EXODUS is a joint theatre production of artists from Germany, Poland, France, Italy, Spain, Austria, Portugal and Malta and is dedicated to the foundation of a veritable European Theatre: The seven participating theatre companies from all over Europe aim to create a regular schedule under the umbrella of a common corporate identity. EXODUS is the initiative’s showcase. The international production team will be blogging on the development of the initiative on a weekly basis.
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Par Marion Sancellier

Après trois jours à Naples avec Björn, afin de faire quelques recherches pour nos projets, nous partons pour la Sicile, Catania, afin de rencontrer Paola, notre partenaire italienne de notre Théâtre Européen et de parler d’Exodus, de la dramaturgie…ce fut pour moi l’occasion de la rencontrer. C’était un réel plaisir, je mettais enfin un visage sur un nom. L’équipe prend forme. Le lendemain Björn et moi partons pour rejoindre Malte où notre travail nous attend.

Une tempête traverse la Sicile, c’est le lundi de Pâque, les transports sont perturbés…nous finissons après quelques difficultés, par accéder à Pozzalo, port où nous devons prendre le bateau pour Malte…Mais la météo bloque le trafique maritime, et nous voilà coincés pour deux jours (le prochain bateau n’est prévu que pour le surlendemain soir). Il pleut, il fait froid, il est tard…nous trouvons un hôtel. Que faire pendant ces deux jours…notre temps est précieux.
Nous avions appris quelques jours auparavant que dans l’Italie du sud, dans la région de Calabre (antique colonie grecque à l’époque de la Magna Graecia), qu il y avait encore quelques personnes qui parlent un dialecte hérité du grec ancien ! Incroyable…après presque 3000 ans. Et si nous trouvions une personne pouvant participer au projet Exodus… ? Quelqu’un qui avec cette identité culturelle vraiment minoritaire… réminiscence de la Grèce ancienne, source principale de notre culture européenne ! Nous identifions quelques villages où quelques habitants parlent encore ce dialecte et nous décidons de partir pour Bova !

Bilingual road sign in Bova Marina

Bova, petit village perché au dessus d’une montagne de Calabre, vu sur la mer…dans cette région les noms de rues sont écrits en italien et en grec, lieu incroyable…mais il fait toujours froid et il pleut toujours…Nous trainons toujours ma grosse valise rouge, depuis Naples…et oui nous sommes « en route »… Malheureusement ni Björn ni moi ne parlons italien…nous avons un peu de mal à nous faire comprendre. On nous indique la présence dans ce village de Maurizio….allemand, vivant ici depuis quelques années ! Il nous est d’une grande aide, nous trouve une chambre à louer chez un vieux couple tenant une petite boutique. Nous discutons de nos projets, et de nos recherches autour d’un verre, notre enthousiasme est toujours là malgré un peu de fatigue. Le lendemain Maurizio nous apporte trois noms de personnes susceptibles de correspondre à nos recherches…Nous les contactons et arrivons à obtenir un rendez-vous avec l’un d’entre eux, Attilio, pour le lendemain à Reggio di Calabria. Nous passons notre dernière nuit dans ce petit village et sous la pluie et le vent nous partons pour Reggio di Calabria curieux de rencontrer Attilio.

Marion and Attilio in Messina

Nous l’attendons à la sortie de la gare…il doit aller en Sicile, nous devons faire le trajet avec lui, nous continuerons ensuite notre route pour Malte. Le voilà ! Un homme d’une soixantaine année, cheveux blanc mi-longs, yeux bleus, profonds, nez aiguisé (« à la grecque ») une énergie folle, heureux de nous rencontrer ! Il est si fier de son origine, de sa langue ! Ce dialecte grec est sa langue maternelle, et elle se meurt. Notre projet l’intéresse beaucoup et l’enthousiasme…il pourra parler de sa langue, de son histoire…si peu de personne savent qu’elle existe encore ! Il veut se battre pour ça, pour son identité ! Attilio, nous a confié qu’il se sentait d’abord grec avant de se sentir italien, son histoire aurait sa place dans Exodus…
Nous l’écoutons beaucoup, nous lui exposons le travail…et nous nous séparons. Nous nous reverrons très bientôt pour commencer le travail.

La météo devient plus clémente. Nous retrouvons Paola à Catania où nous passerons une dernière nuit avant de repartir pour Malte.

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Marion Sancellier was born in Dijon in 1980. Marion will be directing the French contribution to EXODUS. She developed her talent while attending three years of classes of dramatic art at the Conservatoire Nationale de Dijon with Ewa Lewinson. Her formation included dance and chant as well as a workshop on the methods of Meyerhold’s biomechanics held by acting trainer Guenadi Bogdanov. The physical techniques of Commedia dell’arte also was part of Marion’s formation. In her professional career, Marion worked with various theatre companies in France and abroad. Since 2004, Marion is working with the French company PRÉFACE on a constant basis.

The Uprising

März 24th, 2008

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EXODUS is a joint theatre production of artists from Germany, Poland, France, Italy, Spain, Austria, Portugal and Malta and is dedicated to the foundation of a veritable European Theatre: The seven participating theatre companies from all over Europe aim to create a regular schedule under the umbrella of a common corporate identity. EXODUS is the initiative’s showcase. The international production team will be blogging on the development of the initiative on a weekly basis.
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By Maciej Adamczyk

From March 5 to 12 I went to thw Polish capital to visit the Warsaw Rising Museum; a museum showcasing the biggest patriotic rising of World War II. The opening of the WarsawRisingMuseum marked the 60th anniversary of the outbreak of the Rising. It is a tribute paid by the residents of Warsaw to those who fought and died for an independent Poland. The exhibition was opened to the public on October 2, 2004.

My quest was to find someone who was had experienced first-hand World War II and the havoc it had wreaked in Poland, and who was willing to recount his experiences of this time on stage. The co-director of the Museum: Paweł Ukielski , an extremely considerate person, promised to help me in my quest. He recommended that I contact his assistant Karol Mazur, who then guided me through this incredible place: the Warsaw Rising Museum.

I was told that every year, during the anniversary of the Rising various theatre projects take place in the Museum. I recalled that two years back, one of my colleagues: Marcin Liber, with whom I had worked in the course of some projects involving my theatre company Body Snatchers Theatre, had directed there. Furthermore, just one year ago Jan Klata, a very popular and avant-garde theatre director in Poland, also staged a performance in this Museum. His production was particularly poignant and the combatants present were extremely moved. Interestingly, Klata has his own theatre festival called “Klata Fest” during which he once staged a performance called “Transfer!” which gives an account of the evictions which occurred after the Second World War – this performance did not include any actors, only the people who had experienced the event first-hand recounting their experiences.

My quest led me to meet Mr Jerzy Kasprzak, who was 15 years old during the Rising and was a member of the uprising post. Our conversation ran for hours, his experiences being so riveting! Mr. Kasprzak also gave me a journal he had written, within its pages were preserved his memoirs of the time. Unfortunately it turned out that he and other combatants I met were unable to participate in the staging of the production due to their age. Yet I collected all their stories with particular reverence and respect towards each narrator, it being clear that these were people who had helped shape the Poland – my Poland – that I know today. I am particularly struck at what a pity it is that these stories cannot be presented by their original raconteur as every single story would make excellent material for any theatre or film production: the biography of a man who for 50 years pretended to be a combatant; the story of two Italians who fought on the Polish side, even an Indian who took part in the Polish Rising! Most of the stories are terribly heartbreaking and tragic. As I once again walk through the Museum and think of the people I met and their experiences, the realization of all the terrible events that took place in Poland during World War II sinks in deeper that it ever has and a deep melancholy grips me. In the few days I spent searching for candidates for our theatre project I encountered so many heinous experiences, much more than I could ever have imagined. Yet in the midst of such terrible stories, one thing always shines through: the courage of the people. It’s a place of memory, a place of remembrance for the great Polish people who fought for their country. Such people don’t seem to exist any more; Poland is so different nowadays. I am doubtful as to whether such people still exist; people who would risk everyting for what they believe in.

Maciej

Instead of working with a participant of the Uprising, I will now be performing myself: I will be travelling to Jerusalem, the Holy City of the three monotheistic World Religions. Being equipped with a camera and further technical stuff, I will take our audiences to a guided tour through the city. The images will be projected live on a screen that will be part of our stage settings; so, when you come to see one of our shows in Malta, Catania, Vienna, Munich, Warsaw or Lisbon, I will take you live to Jerusalem - this is also a nice challenge!

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Maciej Adamczyk was born 1972 in Krosno Odrzańskie. He studied acting at the National School of Theatre in Wrocław. Maciej works as a theatre director and actor (film and theatre). He is the co founder of Teatr Porywacze Ciał (Body Snatchers Theatre). The Poznań based company has received wide acclaim for their contemporary performances in Poland and entire Europe.

En Route…

März 16th, 2008


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EXODUS is a joint theatre production of artists from Germany, Poland, France, Italy, Spain, Austria, Portugal and Malta and is dedicated to the foundation of a veritable European Theatre: The seven participating theatre companies from all over Europe aim to create a regular schedule under the umbrella of a common corporate identity. EXODUS is the initiative’s showcase. The international production team will be blogging on the development of the initiative on a weekly basis.
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Par Marion Sancellier

Mes valises sont faîtes, me voilà prête à prendre la route à la rencontre de tous les membres de notre Théâtre Européen et de tous les participants d’EXODUS. En route sur le chemin de cette grande aventure, la valise à la main.
La valise, symbole de l’homme en marche. D’une ville à une autre, d’un pays à un autre, d’une langue à une autre, d’une histoire à une autre.

Cette envie de fonder un théâtre européen, c’est aussi l’envie d’exploiter ce creuset culturel qu’est notre Europe actuelle, au carrefour des influences socioculturelles et religieuses créer par tant de mouvements migratoires, de rencontres.
EXODUS est ainsi un grand voyage à la rencontre de notre histoire contemporaine.
L’exode, qui est souvent un voyage sans retour, où notre valise contient notre vie. L’exode, mouvement migratoire, mouvement de fuite, mouvement qui cherche. L’homme en mouvement, implique le mouvement de son histoire. Dans sa valise, on y trouve sa culture, ses traditions, ses croyances, sa langue.

Mettons–nous en mouvement pour raconter ces histoires, pour montrer le contenu de ces valises, partons sur les routes européennes pour diffuser ces histoires, avec le théâtre.
Le théâtre, art vivant, art du mouvement, de la parole, de la transmission. Ses artistes qui se mettent en route pour donner à voir et entendre ces histoires de vie.

Nous sommes au début du chemin, nous en croiserons d’autres et petit à petit notre route se dessinera. Nous déballerons nos valises, y rajouterons un nouveau bout d’histoire et nous repartirons…sur la route !

Bon voyage…

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Marion Sancellier was born in Dijon in 1980. Marion will be directing the French contribution to EXODUS. She developed her talent while attending three years of classes of dramatic art at the Conservatoire Nationale de Dijon with Ewa Lewinson. Her formation included dance and chant as well as a workshop on the methods of Meyerhold’s biomechanics held by acting trainer Guenadi Bogdanov. The physical techniques of Commedia dell’arte also was part of Marion’s formation. In her professional career, Marion worked with various theatre companies in France and abroad. Since 2004, Marion is working with the French company PRÉFACE on a constant basis.

May we kill for our ideals? If not, what are we going to do if we have to?

März 10th, 2008

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EXODUS is a joint theatre production of artists from Germany, Poland, France, Italy, Spain, Austria, Portugal and Malta and is dedicated to the foundation of a veritable European Theatre: The seven participating theatre companies from all over Europe aim to create a regular schedule under the umbrella of a common corporate identity. EXODUS is the initiative’s showcase. The international production team will be blogging on the development of the initiative on a weekly basis.
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By Björn Potulski

The basic concept of EXODUS is to find in Europe seven “real people” whose biography includes a form of “Exodus”; a term which implies migration, the frequently quoted “clash of civilizations” and inter-religious and political conflicts. In confidential interviews, our cast shall divulge their stories involving war and the suffering it brings about, being a refugee, suppressing others or being suppressed themselves for religious, political or cultural reasons and so forth. We ask for their “Promised Land” and what they did to attain it and if they failed, why? This work will result in the seven storylines the show shall be consisting of. These autobiographical accounts will be presented on stage by those who have experienced them:

“In 1999 I was working in Slovenia when I saw on TV that the war had started. I called my family, told them I felt that I should be fighting for my home. They agree.”

My own journey to Kosovo takes place nine years later, on February 15th, 2008. The plane from Vienna is packed with journalists and cameramen; it is a miracle how they all manage to stow their equipment in the overhead bins. Independence is expected to be declared by Kosovo in the following days. Seeing as our theatre production is asking for Promised Lands, the former Serbian province offers a fascinating subject matter. It is my mission to find in Kosovo a new member for the EXODUS-cast. The UÇK: the “Kosovo Liberation Army” comes to mind. The Hague Tribunal officially considers UÇK a “criminal organisation” whereas the Albanians in Kosovo regard them as heroes for their people. I also think of the Serbs in Kosovo living in enclaves that have to be protected by UN-troupes. The Serbian massacres committed against the Albanian population in 1999 led to the intervention of NATO. The subsequent allies’ air strikes on targets in Serbia caused a great deal of inner conflict in Europe, which many Europeans, myself included, remember very vividly.

Two Albanians are picking me up at Pristina airport

Pristina, February 17, 2008

“As soon as possible I take a flight back to Albania. I meet with my comrades near the frontier to Kosovo to be armed. The following night, we cross the border. Each of us is carrying at least 35kg: a machine gun, ammunition, grenades…”

On the way from the airport the ragged beauty of the landscape impresses me: greenish hills and snow-white mountains, rising three thousand metres above sea level silhouette the horizon. I recognise these images; I have seen them many times on TV. Along the streets I see countless flags, all displaying a black, two-headed eagle emblazoned on a red background: the national flag of Albania. The red background signifies blood, my Albanian guides tell me.

“During a 28-hour march, carrying a burden of 35kg, we never stop or leave the forest. If the Serbian troupes found us, it would be over. They were much better equipped and their soldiers greatly outnumbered us. But we knew the territory like the back of our hands. This is our home.”

February 16: I ask my guides to take me to Mitrovica, a divided city in the north of Kosovo. On the south side of the river, the Albanian population lives, while the Serbs have their houses in the northern part. French KFOR-troupes try to keep them apart. I want to see the famous bridge.

“But you don’t want to go on the other side, do you?” my Albanian friends ask warily. Of course I want to, I reply. They say they would never join me as in doing so they would be putting their lives at risk.

On the way to Mitrovica, my Albanian guides direct my attention to a number of terraced houses along the street. The houses look idyllic. “The Slovenian Village” they say. Upon enquiring the origins of the term they reply, “During the war in Croatia and Slovenia, Serbian refugees who had lost their houses and families came here.” They explain: “The refugees were given these places to stay. When in 1998 the Kosovo war started, the Serbian refugees returned.” All right, I think, “they returned”.

“We arrive at a place near my home village. Around thirty members of my family live there. Our order is to offload the weapons at this place. We had been successful. The Serbs had not caught us…”

Björn and Imer Deliu, Kosovo, February 2008

Mitrovica: My Albanian friends depart for a short while. I have a discussion with the soldiers guarding the bridge, aiming to convince them to let me pass. They see my German passport so they let me go. I slowly walk towards the Serbian side. A cold iron hand grips my heart – walking through a divided city, in the midst of Europe. Serbian flags everywhere. Defiance. Hurt pride. I sense that I am being looked at furiously – most probably I am mistaken, it is only the despondent ambience. I think of German fighter planes dropping bombs on Serbia.

“Serbian troupes are approaching! They are much greater in number than we are. Our commander gives the order to leave the place as quickly as possible. If the Serbs associated our presence with the village and its inhabitants, they might take revenge.”

On the way back from Mitrovica, my guides suggest stopping at a small village where they have family and friends. They want me to meet someone who fought with UÇK right from the beginning of the war. He lost 24 members of his family in a massacre. In the solitary heated room we sit on the floor around an oven. Some seven men and boys are present. They are shocked to learn that I had just returned from the Serbian side of Mitrovica. “Did you have problems?” one of them asks. Not at all, I reply. “That’s because you are German and they are afraid of your Tornado-fighter planes”, he says. Some of the others laugh. I don’t.

The UÇK-veteran arrives. A man in his fifties, clearly highly-respected: all the others stand up immediately when he enters the room and approach him to shake hands. I am impressed by his dignity. He speaks carefully, in a resolute manner, and is incredibly polite. He tells me his story. Before long, I am certain: This is our man. I ask, whether he would like to come to Malta to join the cast of EXODUS. He agrees. We fix an appointment for the next day to have an exhaustive interview.

“From a distance, we observe the Serbs’ approach. They enter the village. From the sounds we hear it is obvious that something terrible is going on. We stay hidden. We observe. We were powerless, unable to do anything to stop them.”

February 17: At 3pm, the Prime Minister of Kosovo, before parliament, declares the independence of the new Democratic and Multiethnic Republic of Kosovo. In his speech, he also addresses the Serbian minority in Kosovo in the Serbian language. At a hotel lobby in Pristina which is packed with Albanians and journalists, I watch the ceremony live on TV: Each Member of Parliament is being addressed individually to sign the declaration of independence. The Serbian MEP’s are absent. The streets are packed with thousands of people, waving thousands of flags: the Albanian flag, the Stars and Stripes, the German and Italian Tricolours. It is the most touching scene I have ever witnessed.

“In the early morning – whilst dawn was still dim and foggy – it was decided that we should send someone to the village to check what had taken place. I was chosen to go. I was extremely careful not to cause any noise, not to be seen. When I arrived at the village I could see that there were no Serbs around. With a growing sense of dread I search for my family. But there were no sounds at all…“

The next day: On the way to the interview with the UÇK-veteran, my Albanian guides stop the car in the midst of nowhere. They take me to an improvised cemetery next to the road. Twenty-four grave stones, marking the resting ground for members of a village, all killed on the same day. The eldest was 94 years old, the youngest a mere 3 months. An hour later I ask our future actor how long in his opinion it will take, until Serbs and Albanians will the able to coexist in Kosovo peacefully as neighbours. “Soon”, he replies; “I hope it will be soon”.

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Björn Potulski was born in Munich in 1976. As the initiative’s artistic director, Björn is coordinating efforts to form a veritable European Theatre and to produce EXODUS. Björn studied Drama, Literature and Political Science at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich. In 1997 he founded Munich based Theater Sündenfall. Since 2006, the company is consisting of a Franco German team that is regularly performing on an international level. Björn’s international experience includes the organisation of various guest performances amongst others in Washington, D.C., Boston, New York, Vienna, Budapest and Paris.

Starting up

März 1st, 2008

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EXODUS is a joint theatre production of artists from Germany, Poland, France, Italy, Spain, Austria, Portugal and Malta and is dedicated to the foundation of a veritable European Theatre: The seven participating theatre companies from all over Europe aim to create a regular schedule under the umbrella of a common corporate identity. EXODUS is the initiative’s showcase. The international production team will be blogging on the development of the initiative on a weekly basis.
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By Björn Potulski

A father, mother and five children had been offered places on one of the last remaining ships heading west. Taking this chance meant leaving their life behind, taking with them none of their belongings except the clothes they wore and if lucky, one suitcase between them. Nonetheless they fervently awaited the moment they were to board that ship. Should they hesitate, the places they currently occupied would be taken from them in an instant by any one of the thousands of others who shared their dream. However the father did not manage to reach in time the harbour where his family awaited him. In order not to be separated from him, the family decides to wait for the father before joining the Exodus of refugees fleeing on the country way. The aforesaid ship was the Wilhelm Gustloff: on January 30th 1945, it departed from a harbour in Eastern Prussia without this particular family.

Alexander Iwanowitsch Marinesko’s career in the Soviet navy was currently unstable. A lack of discipline had attracted his superiors’ attention: a shortage of officers being the only reason he had maintained his position as commander of a submarine. In the night of January 30th, 1945, Marinesko’s crew reported the sighting of a major target. Now was his chance to redeem himself. Marinesko gave order to fire four torpedoes. Three of them hit the Wilhelm Gustloff mid-ships. She sank within 50 minutes, drowning 9.000 refugees in the ice cold Baltic Sea. For sheer coincidence, one family was not on board the sinking ship: it was my family.

I am German, yet I bear a Polish surname – I have never seen my grandparent’s house and most likely, it no longer exists. This very personal background might be part of my motivation to initiate a major theatre project about identity, questioning demarcation, asking for Promised Lands and what people are willing to sacrifice and go through in order to reach their dreams.

We have called our project “EXODUS” and shall be keeping you informed regarding its development on a weekly basis through this blog. “We” refers to a team of artists from Malta, Germany, France, Poland, Italy, Austria, Spain and Portugal. We shall be simultaneously working upon our project in these afore-mentioned countries. By the end of April, the whole team will assemble in Malta to combine their contributions and share them with you. EXODUS shall premiere on the island in May before going on tour to other European countries.

The basic concept of EXODUS is to find in Europe seven “real people” whose life-history includes a form of “Exodus”; a term which implies migration, the frequently quoted “clash of civilizations” and inter-religious and political conflicts. In confidential interviews, our cast shall divulge their stories involving war and the suffering it brings about, being a refugee, suppressing others or being suppressed themselves for religious, political or cultural reasons and so forth. We ask for their “Promised Land” and what they did to attain it and if they failed, why? This work will result in the seven storylines the show shall be consisting of. These autobiographical accounts will be presented on stage by those who have experienced them. We shall be focusing on the individual; the tangible and poignant presence of a real person. We are not interested in politics; we are not interested in abstract discourses.

Our casting is in progress. Recently I have met with Captain James Grixti who is Commander of the Maltese Navy’s flagship. I was fascinated by his stories of search and rescue missions, them being the first contact with arriving immigrants and the tragedies happening on the open sea. Yet even these distressing stories held moments in which pure altruistic humanity expressed itself. Our search shall lead us to Palestinian Christians who have emigrated from the Holy Land after circumstances become unbearable. We are about to cast a veteran of European colonial wars in Africa, an immigrant from Africa to Europe. A former combatant with the Albanian rebel army fighting for their Promised Land, an independent state that would be a catastrophe for Serbian people still living there. In Warsaw we established contacts with contemporary witnesses of the Uprising (1944) who then as Boy Scouts have delivered letters for an underground postal service; these boys were called “messengers of hope”. We are interested in the fact that this postal service stood in the centre of attempts to establishing a civil democratic society in midst of occupation and terror…

We are grateful to be citizens of a unified Europe, giving us the opportunity to live and work wherever we choose to. We now want to exploit this opportunity which has been achieved through the hard work of previous generations to bring into being a veritable European Theatre. This project shall undoubtedly lead to many unique encounters, which we wish to be able to share. Thus, we will be presenting our experiences and reflections in this weekly blog. My journey to Kosovo shall be the focus of the next issue. I witnessed the declaration of independence in Pristina on February 17.

We would like to extend our thanks to the City of Munich for a generous grant in support of this project.

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Björn Potulski was born in Munich in 1976. As the initiative’s artistic director, Björn is coordinating efforts to form a veritable European Theatre and to produce EXODUS. Björn studied Drama, Literature and Political Science at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich. In 1997 he founded Munich based Theater Sündenfall. Since 2006, the company is consisting of a Franco German team that is regularly performing on an international level. Björn’s international experience includes the organisation of various guest performances amongst others in Washington, D.C., Boston, New York, Vienna, Budapest and Paris.