Hate Radio

Chilling.

Mesmerizing.

A play about Rwanda and the radio station RTLM that incited its listeners to genocide. It is a quiet play for the most part: survivors who bear witness to what happened and an hour of otherwise banal radio, except for the subject matter from the soothingly conversational chatter of the radio voices.

It’s a powerful production, a stellar example of what theatre can do. All the more so whilst in Berlin after visiting the Holocaust memorial, itself a brilliant monument down the street from the Brandenburg Gate and the Reichstag.

More on the production here (English PDF).

At the Theatertreffen in Berlin

I’m in Berlin at the annual Theatertreffen theatre festival, where I’ve had the opportunity to see a wide variety of shows – different companies offering different kinds of performances, tackling different kinds of subjects, offering different kinds of styles … and yet I’ve observed a few features that seem to be there consistently across all these productions. Herewith a few of them:

  • People shout a lot. Not just project their voices, not just raise them in a heightened emotional state. They shout. They rant. They rave. And they wander around the stage while they do it. (Okay, sometimes, they sit in one place.)
  • It rains. I don’t know how expensive it is to handle all that plumbing, but it sure rains a lot in these shows. Global warming?
  • Someone is going to make a point of eating something to express some deep emotional meaning. It might be dirt. It might be a raw potato.
  • Someone, male or female, is going to be wearing a stunning pair of stilettos.
  • Someone is going to get something smeared across his or her chest, face, or other body parts. It might be food, it might be blood, it might be excrement.
  • Someone, usually a man, is going to be reduced to his underwear. And as often as not it’s going to be girlie underwear, too.
  • Someone, usually a man, is going to be subjected to (simulated!) involuntary coitus with another man.
  • The curtain call is going to take a very, very long time.