This is how the premiere of R-Factor was

Hanover. A few African tribal masks were distributed on stage, as a decoration, something a folklorist would do. The first actors are already playing table tennis with her. One asks if this is not just pretentious, reckless, or painful given centuries of colonial history, cultural appropriation etc. “We still can’t have the supremacy of interpretation here either!”

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Cultural Appropriation, Colonial Heritage, and the Rule of Interpretation: The unfathomable R-Factor. The play, which now celebrates two premieres of Hanover at the Ballhof, could not be more subjective than it was at a time when a culture war was raging on the Antiquity adventure stories. But the play was already red when it premiered a good year ago: the premiere stormed the debate over accusations of racism at the Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus. One doubts: this is not about the subjects, but about the constant sad everyday life.

Everyday racism in the culture industry

Author and director Ayesha Guvenderin met with the kind of humor that helps swallow even the most bitter pills. The look: A one-woman show, based on the grotesque ’90s TV show “The X Factor”. There are carpets in the Ballhof. In the back, the blinds writhed and the headlights flashed. Shafak Shengol, who was still a student at the premiere in Munich and is now a member of the Hannover Actress, takes the place.

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Knowing Narrator: Shafak Shengul as a presenter.

She’s the medium and she has incredible things to report, incredible things about everyday racism in the German cultural scene, that she wants to be a haven of truth, beauty and goodness. The story is about two acting teachers who have room for only one Turk a year, devious art directors, transgressive directors and arrogant dramaturgy, all people who have the usual right to know everything and a penchant for world-explaining monologues. You know them all.

“Is this fact or fiction?”

“Is this fact or fiction?” The medium asks again and again, and, unfortunately, everything is true: the text of the article is based on the experiences of people who, despite or because of their supposed difference, were given a place in a noble cultural scene.

The basic mechanism is always the same: a person is declared to be “the other” and, since he is different, he must also be representative of all the others, if you allow – and then you can ideally explain to him how he did to be different. Şengül also plays all these genres in the videos with tremendous enthusiasm, tremendous comedic talent and extreme precision.

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‘White fragility’, ‘others’, ‘abolition of culture’, ‘Whataboutism’ are keywords for this continuous process of lazy thinking and self-righteousness, and the fact that there is no German equivalent to it shows a problem with the debate here: you don’t even have words for what you don’t want to You think about it. As a German, one also bears the “burden of National Socialism”, as it is said at one point, “I would like to be a foreigner” at another time. In any case: “There is no morality on the stage.”

The attack in Hanau

engül is not herself an actress, but she is an omniscient narrator with a satirical twist. I’ve subtly come out of the character only twice, once when I read a report on the deep trauma after the racist attack in Hanau, where it was clear to the community that “it’s not going to be okay again after a few days” — and once at the end. With a deep sigh, she clicks. The light turns off. The names of all whose stories are based on this strong theme are dropped on the curtains. They, as it turns out this evening, are only the tip of the iceberg.

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“R-Factor,” Güvendiren says in a follow-up discussion, is a call for those affected to laugh at what hurts them bitterly. Everyone else can learn to listen here, which is the basis of every dialogue. If it works: wouldn’t that be incredible?

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Read more after the announcement

Written by Stefan Gulich

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