ATTENTION: LIGHTING CHANGE!
THE FOCUS OF OUR FESTIVAL blickwechsel 2011 LED TO THE FOLLOWING CHALLENGE: LET US USE THEATRICAL MEANS TO QUESTION THE MORAL QUALITY OF OUR SOCIETY.
The searchlight has now taken on a new orientation without disputing the motto of the festival. In recent times, there have been increased developments concerning our form of art that are well worth highlighting in more detail and that, to all intents and purposes, represent a way of reflecting our society.
So where has all the trash in puppetry suddenly come from? People are indeed fans of puppet comedy, but why has all of this work, have all of these pieces sparked such interest above all in the national media of Germany? Strangely enough, the feature pages only report on the absurd and macabre aspects of puppetry, if anything at all. This leads to the question as to whether such reports are showing the expectations placed on the puppet theatre of the present day. If so, then where do such expectations come from? Surely not alone from the fact, that such pieces exist. Every piece of artistic work should be free from constraints and regulations because the assessment of art and theatre is also a matter of personal taste and one’s own responsibility. We are neither the plaintiff nor the judge. But where do opinions come from, how are expectations formed? Is the success of such pieces a reflection of our society? Are they rendering homage to simplification? Is this what first and foremost the media world loves because it attracts attention and increases ratings?
So what causes popular taste to develop and how can we access potential audience members for whom a visit to the theatre is not a part of everyday life? The millions of German viewers are influenced by whatever media is available at the push of a button. This is how their level of viewing content is determined. It is indeed commendable that at least the public-law broadcasters in Germany offer culture and theatre channels. Nevertheless, these serve as fig leaves and can only be found in hidden channel locations. Do they only exist to satisfy the education policy requirements? At the same time, however, the main channels are increasingly indulging in simple entertainment in order to hold their ground in the ratings war.
But who on earth determines the level of entertainment?! This task ultimately falls on the artist himself, forming part of his responsibility as an individual working in the public eye. Nevertheless, given the fact that every form of public work is political per se, the entitlement to this task cannot be based on this fact alone. When German people talk about ’Puppenspielkunst‘, there is a reason as to why the word ’Kunst‘ (’art‘) is immanent. We are proud and honored to assert the close proximity that our profession has to the visual arts and other performance arts. All of the arts involved profit from the influences that they have on each other. Nevertheless, what is the image of puppetry, that the media communicates to those who are unfamiliar with ’the scene‘, and how does their perception affect the development of our art?
This is the question that we want to ask ourselves during the week of the festival, both in our performances and in a public expert discussion. With the performances that we have invited to be a part of the festival, we are going to prove that puppet theatre is a theatrical form that should be taken seriously – what else could it be?! We want the artists to face the moving questions of our time as politically responsible individuals. We want to show that theatre is still a moral institution, as Schiller stated. We want to show that entertainment value is not defined by how often the audience roars with laughter. We want to show that we consider ourselves to be unsaintly artists who are clearly against the mainstream and who demonstrate respect for our form of art and our audience.
In this spirit I would like to wish us all an exciting and inspiring festival week and I am delighted to be able to welcome you to our performances!