Ten years ago in Drawers, She She Pop members sat across from some of their East German contemporaries. Drawers explored the systemic conditions that forged their identities, showing two strong ideologies and opposing doctrines each with their inner logic. Our self-images, however, have not survived the past ten years and the myths of where we came from already lay in ruins. Can a common future even be built on the baggage of the past, the failed utopias of our parents’ generation and the abuse and injustice of the past 30 years?
Against the backdrop of present times, which are marked by isolation and destruction, She She Pop opens the stage to search for collective visions of the future and what stands in their way. As a mental extension of Drawers, She She Pop has once again invited various guests to share the stage or be connected virtually in their new production, Walls. Together, they travel through time to past moments and possible futures. In doing so, they try to form a community that surpasses linguistic or physical barriers, which are outside the range of solidarity or imagination or even brutally defined by visa requirements. Whereas the stage was still a place of uncomfortable clashes in Drawers, here it is turned into a neoliberal co-working space or dark padded cell used as a think tank. The journey takes the audience along walls that permeate how we perceive shared reality and its emotional impact. She She Pop and guests sift through the rubble of documentary material and combine it with futuristic camera technology to turn the stage into a time capsule. Women travel in it to uninhabitable or deserted scenarios to speculate on or live in other forms of the present and possible futures. Fantasy or the possibility of fiction emerges as a precious commodity. It is a dimension that is difficult to reach and can only be attained together with a special effort of doubt, fear, insolence, humour and clairvoyance.
Idea and concept: She She Pop, By and with (performed in alternating line-up): Sebastian Bark, Natasha Borenko, Johanna Freiburg, Annett Gröschner, Jahye Khoo, Alexandra Lachmann, Katharina Lorenz, Lisa Lucassen, Peggy Mädler, Mieke Matzke, Ilia Papatheodorou, Wenke Seemann, Berit Stumpf.
Dramaturgy: She She Pop, Annett Gröschner, Peggy Mädler, Artistic Advice: Rodrigo Zorzanelli Cavalcanti, Director of Photography Video Installation: Benjamin Krieg, Video Support: Rocío Rodriguez, Sets: Sandra Fox, Costumes: Lea Søvsø, Costumes Assistance: Lili Hillerich, Music: Max Knoth with Maria Schneider, Sound Design: Xavier Perrone, Technical Director and Light Design: Sven Nichterlein, Production: Chiara Galesi, Interns: María Giacaman, Ruth Lindner, Workshop Input: Lavinia Knop-Walling, Rehearsal Interpretation (German/Korean): Eunsoon Jung, Simultaneous English Live Translation: PANTHEA / Anna Johannsen, Audio description: Pingpong Translation & Subtitling / Martina Reuter, Johanna Krins, PR, Communication: ehrliche arbeit – freelance office for culture, Freelance Communication Support: Tina Ebert, Financial Administration: Aminata Oelßner, Company Management: Elke Weber.
Special thanks to the photographers and archivists who have provided photographic material from their artistic works:
Benjamin Krieg with works from his archive.
A production by She She Pop in co-production with HAU Hebbel am Ufer Berlin, Kampnagel Hamburg, Künstler*innenhaus Mousonturm, FFT Düsseldorf, Schauspiel Leipzig, HELLERAU – EUROPÄISCHES Zentrum der Künste. Supported by Theaterhaus Berlin Mitte.
Funded by the City of Berlin — Department for Culture and Europe, the German Federal Cultural Foundation and by Rudolf Augstein Foundation.
“Taking objects as their point of departure, She She Pop soon explore a utopian space through a rather impressive projection of photographs onto several layers of gauze. The performers crawl through a kind of tunnel, sometimes ending up in a destroyed house after the catastrophe of Chernobyl, then they are back in front of a block of houses in former East Berlin – today’s Berlin-Mitte (…) Along the way, the performers try to continue the dialog about the many unanswered questions surrounding property or participation using constantly new rules. First breathe, then speak. Or touch. The rules have to be renegotiated over and over again, as utopia remains utterly elusive, and so the picture transforms into an increasingly incomprehensible collage of the future.”
Annette Stiekele, Hamburger Abendblatt, 19.01.24
“The drawers have become walls, which doesn’t sound very optimistic, but doesn’t spread gloom either. (…) But the beauty of She She Pop’s narrative experimental theatre is that ideological exaggerations always just serve as an initiation for their dismantling. And on this evening they achieve this dismantling with only a few wonderfully playful tricks. Whenever the dialogue reaches a dead end, they give themselves new rules for expressing themselves (…). And slowly their self-reflection slips into a dreamlike journey through time, back to that turning point in history when everything still seemed possible. A gauze curtain falls and a wall of dense undergrowth is projected onto it. The former border region of the Berlin Wall has become a social divide. But slowly the camera zooms closer and closer into the green until a black hole opens up, through which the performers simply slip backstage, into another space-time. The stage becomes a magical floating place between yesterday and today, between concrete slab and mahogany interior – and the performers climb around in it, as in their most daring utopias. Suddenly, everything seems possible here, including joining forces with two other colleagues from Seoul and Siberia via video. And for the length of one performance the world is a better place.”
Doris Meierhenrich, Berliner Zeitung, 08.12.2022
“After ten years, She She Pop once again open the drawers at Berlin’s HAU in which they autobiographically sought to engage in a dialogue between East and West. Among the books from the past, which they divide into what can go and what should stay, they also discover old utopias. Which are still worth something to us today, in the midst of a war and an increasingly visible climate catastrophe, after all the debates on identity politics and a growing awareness that our white Central European perspective of prosperity is perhaps in itself more a problem than a solution?”
Georg Kasch, Nachtkritik, 08.12.2022
“Visions of the future from the past. In general, much here revolves around the future, visions, utopias. (…) The protagonists undertake a journey through time, which takes them both into the past and into the future. It is a journey on which the women repeatedly change planes. The planes of time and perception. And over and over again, they come up against barriers, walls.
Antje Bonhage, rbb-online, 07.12.2022