NOVEMBER 1918 * 1989
Revolution in Germany
November is the title of a play collectively authored by Theater der Klaenge,
about the german 1918 revolution as compared to the 1989 GDR incidents. Revolution
- a big subject, which in 1989 however became suddenly witnesseable . In opposition
to the events of the 1989 GDR, the 1918 revolution in Germany is left to oblivion.
The Theater der Klaenge compared the two revolutions in a large theatrical
collage of very different scenes, which continuously placed the individual phases
of the 1918 revolution against the ones of 1989.The historical outline of November
deals with the events of November 1917 (Russian revolution) till the spring
of 1919 (National Assembly in Weimar), just as with the time frame between May
1989 (collapse of the hungarian border enclosure) and March 1990 (new elections
for the GDR People's Chamber).
In the background stood always the question: What were the utopian dreams,
what chances did the revolutionaries stand, and what came out of it all? November
is a documentary play, which attempts consciously and in diverse ways to lean
on the documentary style theater of the 20's in the form of a large revue type
of collage. Acting, allegory, farce, improvisations with masks, pantomime and
puppet show stand vis-a-vis simultaneous dance and (Meyerhold's) Biomechanic.
These are immersed in a live-electronic music which is driven by two percussion
instruments. To that are added documentary film collages and slide projections.
The whole takes place in a refashionable scaffolding construction with moveable
screens. The international ensemble of the Theater der Klaenge becomes therein
a modern actors troupe which act out their vision of the incidents insimple,
easily understandable images and scenes.
November was at the same time the first attempt of the Theater der Klaenge
to create a collectively written piece about a self chosen political subject.
The experiences of the previous productions flowed in and put the Theater der
Klaenge ensemble in the position to search, for each fact which was being represented,
the theatrical form which would most adequately deliver the appropriate picture.
The resulting format of a revue style collage proved itself however at the same
time the only possible format for such an angle of approach in the theater.
This would not become the style of Theater der Klaenge, for which reason a
new exploration of theatrical approaches became necessary. November came into
being in 1991 as the first co-production with the Bauhaus Dessau and was performed
both in Duesseldorf, as in Dessau, altogether 19 times. This production was
also unable to be absorbed into the repertoire, because of its size, but also
because of lack of demand by guest performance organisers.