The last two play that I worked with Burkhard as he was director of the National Theatre of Mannheim were written by Roland Schimmelpfennig. It is at this occasion that I discovered this writer and he became one of my favourites.
The first work was for the play « An und Aus » in January 2016. As quite often, Burkhard called me and ask me:
- « Hey Jean, do you have sometime for me ? ».
- « with pleasure Burkhard, when would you like me to come? »,
- « can you make it for tomorrow..? »
Well I am kidding a little, and of course it was never going this way for productions in which I had to do a lot of choreography, but sometimes during a directing in which I was not planed, Burkhard got the spontaneous idea that I maybe could help for a scene and then he called me this way. While I am writing this, I have a big smile remembering it.
So, back to « An und Aus ». This piece is telling in quite surrealistic form the story of some people watching from the hotel room in which they are, how outside through the windows water level is rising up till they have the feeling to be in a submarine.
Never in the book is any reference to a tsunami, or to the Fukushima drama in Japan, but, to me it seemed quickly clear that Roland Schimmelpfennig found a very clever way to express in his own way and style what people in Japan experimented when this incredible thing happened.
I can remember, like certainly all of us, how I felt when I saw life on TV what was happening, and how this quiet and big wave was sweeping away all what was on its way.
I was myself in Japan one months after this event, and I can remember that the atmosphere among the Japanese people was kind of surrealist. After that something so unbelievable happened, they all were still under strong shock.
So even if my intervention in this directing of Burkhard has been very small, it left me a very strong impression, as a play to read, and as a play to watch. As always, Burkhard ideas and directing, Florian Eti´s stage scenery, and the actors were great.
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