‘Words Don’t Come Easily’: Reflections on Monster Truck’s Sorry and the discourse on race in German theatre

‘Words Don’t Come Easily’: Reflections on Monster Truck’s Sorry and the discourse on race in German theatre

School of Culture & Creative Arts
Date: Thursday 16 May 2019
Time: 17:30 - 19:00
Venue: Room 208 (Hepburn Room), 7 University Gardens, Glasgow G12 8QH
Category: Academic events
Speaker: Dr Ann-Christine Simke, University of Glasgow

All welcome at this free, unticketed session which forms part of the Glasgow Theatre Seminar series at the School of Culture & Creative Arts. 

Spaces subject to seating capacity of venue.

In May 2016, Monster Truck’s performance 'Sorry', a collaboration with Nigerian choreographer Segun Adefila and his troupe The Footprints of David, premiered at the Sophiensaele Berlin. It claimed to “engage in a discourse about the (im)possibility of an encounter on equal terms, overshadowed by asymmetrical postcolonial power dynamics” (Monster Truck, monstertrucker.de, 2019). 

While the German press has largely hailed the performance as a challenging and visceral experience for audiences ready to engage with their residual racialized stereotypes, Afro-German scholar Natasha A. Kelly has criticised the performance for its reproduction of racist imagery for white majority audiences. This critique has been rejected by the artists of the German performance group Monster Truck, who pride themselves on their provocative aesthetics and who deem their artistic freedom inviolable.

In this seminar Dr Ann-Christine Simke uses the case study of Monster Truck’s 'Sorry' as a spring board to shed light on the current state of debate about German theatre’s engagement with race.

Image © 'Sorry' Florian Krauss

Speaker Biography
Dr Ann-Christine Simke is a Teaching Assistant for Theatre Studies at the University of Glasgow. Her research revolves around dramaturgical practice in historical and contemporary perspectives with a specific focus on institutional practices. In October 2018, her chapter on Max Reinhardt’s dramaturgical team was published in Volume 4 of the Great European Stage Directors series (Ed. Simon Shepheard, Methuen Drama).

Apart from her academic work, she is a Cultural Programmer for Theatre, Dance and Film at the Goethe-Institut Glasgow.

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