Monday, June 10, 2013

One month later...

     Last night marked the one month anniversary of my first introduction to German theater. On May 9th we saw Theater HORA perform at the Theatertreffen. As many of you already know from reading previous blogs, Theater HORA is more commonly referred to as "disabled theater", given that all the actors in the company have either a mental or learning disability. Although the piece that Theater HORA performed was not my favorite play that we saw in Berlin, it is usually the first one I tell friends and family about when they ask me about theater in Germany.  
     It makes sense, if I was telling my long string of trip anecdotes chronologically, to begin with Theater HORA. But I begin with "disabled theater" for another reason. Theater HORA represents the antithesis to American theater. Theater HORA's composition is unconventional. Its themes are discomforting. Its staging is idiosyncratic. In short, Theater HORA is not afraid to push the envelope. This is not to say that American theater has never pushed the envelope. Rather, the bulk of American theater--particularly mainstream American theater--usually pushes the envelope without crossing over into political incorrectness. Yet, it is only when a play crosses over into the politically incorrect that the public is confronted with the stark realities of life--realities that American audiences usually don't want to address.
     I appreciate Theater HORA because it is not afraid to attack an audience's sense of appropriateness. And although I cannot convey the full meaning any piece of German theater to a friend or family member who asks me about my trip, I believe that "disabled theater" conveys the best message of German theater as a whole: nothing is taboo.

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