variable casting

How free is art? What is possible, what is permitted, what must art be? Is it a purely aesthetic enterprise or a vehicle for politics? Should it support the state or take on a subversive role? Should it be a ‘safe space’ or a dangerous arena? And who cares about these kinds of questions except elites in their ivory towers caught up in their theoretical bubble? Meanwhile, the “Protectors” patrol the streets outside, a collective made up of “responsible” citizens calling for public order as well as comprehensibility and traditions instead of otherness and ambivalence. Thomas Melle’s play details the clash of emotionally loaded viewpoints. The privileges of white Western Europeans meet campaigns for ethnic diversity; shitstorms are sparked by suspicious wording; examinations of identity mutate into an alt-right ‘Identity’ movement; strict border controls develop in the discourse that resemble frontiers dividing enemy nations.

But Ode only appears to negotiate these highly charged, intensely nervous debates about art. The audience quickly understands that art is not a peripheral effect but the central battleground, the heart of our democratic society whose fundamental values we suddenly find being renegotiated.

World premiere
20.12.2019 Deutsches Theater Berlin (Director: Lilja Rupprecht)

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