Written by Elizabeth Meyer
Heidelberg. Early humiliation at the hands of her emotionally cold father ruined the young woman’s life. When the family is barbecuing together, they are looking for peace and quiet in the shade of a tree. Suddenly her hair was caught in the resinous bark. Her father cuts her hair with kitchen scissors. The path of suffering of the heroine in Maria Velasco’s play “I want to wipe humanity off the face of the earth” begins with this insidious ritual. Thanks to the strong poetic script, the playwright and director won the International Author Award at the Heidelberg Game Market. The prize money donated by the state of Baden-Württemberg is 5,000 euros.
Diversity of sounds and forms dominated the weekend in the international competition as well as in guest performances for the Spanish stages. The team of Spanish curators Jose Manuel Moura and Carlota Ferrer selected three authors. With Maria Velasco, the playwright who did not radically pursue only a feminist approach won. Formal überzeugte ihr Text in der Vierer-Auswahl durch die Lust am Experiment ebenso wie durch Sprachkraft: “Sie sieht aus wie eine Kahlköpfige, eine dieser Frauen, die geschoren wurden und gedem in Weitrütnid z etr. the tree.” Velasco combines fascinating poetic imagery with a critical view of the political reality of the southern European country, shaped by Catholic traditions. Franziska Muche conveniently translated large linguistic pictures.
Discovering new drama outside the capitals of Madrid and Barcelona was Ferrer and Moura’s goal. In terms of content, Xavier Oryz’s text “Thanatology” was also compelling. It is about the accumulation of suicides in society, which was finally classified as a pandemic. Clever, although formally built very simply, the Malorani author reflects the political dimension of isolation in society and suicide in personal destiny. Thomas Swertig translated the text from Catalan. Ruth Rubio appeals to the young audience with her piece “Die Feuerfesten (Universum 29)”. The comically designed text refers to an experiment conducted by behavioral scientist John B. Calhoun with mice in 1972.
Choosing products for the weekend in Spain, curators also chose a wide range. Writer Rocio Bello, who also represented her family’s drama “My Italy Film” in the authors’ competition, appeared as a guest with her group “Los Bárbaros”. The Madrid team combines fantasy, reality and video art. In Interpretations, theater makers search for the roots of their theatrical art. On screen as well as on stage, actors Rocio Bello and Elena H. Villalba quickly found a connection with the audience.
In addition to Shakespeare’s “Othello” by young Galician author Fernando Ebelde and director Marta Buzos (see above), guest country scouts Ferrer and Mora presented their own productions at the theater’s Margreer Hall. Jose Manuel Mora wrote “Questions for the Universe” during the lockdown. Charismatic actress Carlotta Ferrer, who also directed the production, starred in the play about the search for the secret of life. The actress lovingly carries a skeleton across the stage. The beauty of her movements captivates the audience.
The production was framed by video images featuring zoom conferences by the theater makers. How can we find beauty in the chaos of loneliness? Ferrer’s answer is as straightforward as it is beautiful. The director cleverly creates images that reflect the mysteries of life. Green hill, delicate foliage gives hope. But the climate catastrophe is finally lurking. Mora and Freer’s approach to rediscovering the spirituality of theater is both fascinated and troubled by audiences.