Theatre in Germany is generally determined by a white, elitist upper class. But why is that actually so? Do the problems of this population group still reflect the thinking of the audience? Are there other – minority – perspectives on the canon of plays that dominates contemporary city theatres? In his production, which is based on Gerhart Hauptmann's worker dramas Die Weber (The Weavers) and Vor Sonnenaufgang (Before Sunrise), Belgian actor and director Benny Claessens addresses a subliminal racism that is also deeply rooted within the theatre and art system striving for political correctness.

What are white people's problems?

Benny Claessens: The biggest problem for whites is that they invented race. In a way it will be less about the problems of whites than about the fact that we whites are the problem ourselves.

What is your interest in Gerhart Hauptmann?

Benny Claessens: I'm not interested in Gerhart Hauptmann or any dead German playwright. For this evening I'm more interested in the fact that Hauptmann, if you read it parallel to a book like Hegel and Haïti by Susan Buck-Morss, appears as a great joke. It also helps that I don't understand the dialect Hauptmann's characters speak.

What role does the Zeche Eins play?

Benny Claessens: Buildings like this always make me think of the theatre of the nineties. Back then, some rich kids thought that working there was raw and real. In fact, they couldn't handle the reality of a raw factory, so they cleaned everything up and built a grandstand and a bar where cheap white wine was served. I would like to give the Zeche (colliery) back to the workers as if the characters of the performance were their ghosts who haunt us and demand their rightful place back from the white pseudo-elite.

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  • Duration: 3:30h, one break
  • Premiere: 02.11.2018
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Press voices

Wer es nicht gesehen hat, macht sich keine Vorstellung davon, was hier ‚abgeht‘!“
WAZ, Jürgen Boebers-Süßmann

„Benny Claessens verrührt Fantasien, Ideen, Ängste, Vermutungen, Gewissheiten, Obsessionen und Selbstzweifel über Politik und das Verhältnis der Geschlechter zu einem brodelnden Absud, der nach Leichenhaus, Erniedrigung und sexueller Ausbeutung schmeckt – also nach allem, was europäischer Kolonialismus für Afrika mit sich brachte.“
WAZ, Jürgen Boebers-Süßmann