3 countries. 3 role models. 3 encounters.
The Reformation celebrated its 500th anniversary and, in honor of that occasion, the Youth DT Berlin were developing a tri-national teen theater production in cooperation with the Evangelical Lutheran Church Circle of Berlin's Teltow-Zehlendorf district. During three sessions, 18 teens aged 15 to 20 from Russia, Poland and Germany contemplated certain questions together: What do we stand for? What are we resisting? And, in doing so, what resistance must we overcome?
What else can I do?
Five centuries after Luther proclaimed “here I stand, I cannot do otherwise”, teens familiarized themselves with personalities who have evinced a will to stand their ground. In St. Petersburg, Warsaw and Berlin, they studied both historical and contemporary role models who defied blind belief and comfortable following to proceed according to their own conscience. Participants worked with director Uta Plate and dramaturg Brigit Lengers and developed a play that was performed at the Deutsches Theater (Berlin) in autumn 2017.
Am I alone?
The project encouraged teens to play their own point of view off those of their counterparts, regardless of previous theatrical experience. Participation emphasized exchange and encounters with and within different countries, which means taking current political situations into consideration at home and abroad . Through dialogue and in navigating real scenarios with local personalities, the teens critically reflected on their own points of view. At the same time, participants were challenged to identify role models within their own families and their personal histories.
© Charlotte Grief
Does it matter?
The Allianz Cultural Foundation already sponsored an international, participatory teen theater project at the Youth DT Berlin in 2011/2012. It was based on Holger Schober's specially written play “You're In!” – a work for two players that is of general interest to teens and can be performed easily and economically in the classroom during one school period.
Casting shows are always wildly popular. Staging one's own reality, performing one's own self is becoming increasingly important. 'You're In!' is not only a play about casting shows. It follows a basic plot: A man and a woman enter a classroom. He came in fourth place in DSDS 2007, she came in third in Popstars 2008. Both competed in great hopes and with big dreams, and both walked away empty-handed. Now they are being sent on a school tour; it's their last big chance. 'You're In!' is a play about people following their dream. It's a story about what the person behind the transparent persona is still worth in an age in which people believe three clicks of the mouse say more about us than a conversation over coffee.
– Playwright Holger Schober
The international classroom play “You're In!” was developed between partner theaters in Berlin, Zagreb and Parma in collaboration with local schools. After being presented in the form of a multilingual theatrical reading on stage at the DT on 24 June 2011, the piece toured to all three countries, the participating schools and theaters, and finally to theater festivals.