theatre studies

Do You Dance?

also known as “So, you dance, right?”.

That’s basically the reaction after you tell people from a non-theatre researcher-backround that you are enrolled in a dances studies MA programme. I mean, I know how to conquer these sort of weird questions because for the past three years I had been studying something that made people ask “So you wanna be an actress!” (nope, I don’t. If I wanted to be one I’d applied to performing arts schools.).

Right after I had been on stage with the performance I wrote about in my post “Theatrical Birth // Theatergeburtstag” I decided that I am not a performer at all and that there are things I am definitely better at than performing. That was around the time when I decided I wanted to be a dramaturg. And nothing has changed in this department. So, now I am enrolled in a dance studies programme and people ask me “Do you dance?” or tell me “Right, you had been dancing for so long as a kid!” all the time.
But people: I’m not there to dance.
Of course, I have been attending dance classes for a little more than 12 years of my 23 year long life – and I have enjoyed it all the way – but this has absolutely nothing to do with me being intersted in dance studies today. There are people beginning to study theatre studies and they tell people “I liked drama in school!” or “I’ve taken drama for the last three years of school.” or “At home I was in this drama club and now I’m here!” and to be honest, it’s great that they enjoyed being on stage so much, but I never have understood them properly. I am not saying that this is the wrong way to approach your studies. What I am saying that this’d be the wrong approach to me. If I enjoy doing things so much I enjoy doing them and not watching other people doing them, right?
For example: Last week I was sick and I could not run or go to the gym. One day my sister send me a pic of her running shoes on her feet with her running tights on and the caption “Morning Run!” and I was like: Noooooooo! You don’t do this to a runner who can’t run!
Do you get my point?

At some point I’ve realized that I enjoyed watching people do stuff on stages much more than I enjoyed being one of those people on stage doing stuff. I am not a “Hey, look at me!”-kind of person. And most important I am NOT an actress or a dancer.
What doesn’t mean that I am not aware of my body in a presence-kind of way. All of you following me on twitter (if you don’t, you should @Lisanne_Wi) get a sense of my running-gym-adventures and I am a rather picky eater because I know what my body likes in order to work well (in a very basic sense of: functioning and me being able to be happy). I know how my body does and reacts (to) certain stuff and I know how certain movements (might) impact my/your/a body. But that of course doesn’t mean that I have to do this all the time. In a way I hate moving/doing dance stuff around people I’ve originally met to work with as a researcher.

The other day some people I know from my BA studies had a performance (sadly I couldn’t see it) in a performing arts festival and right when they told me about it, I was like: Damn, why am I not with them? (because I still think I’m a good thinker and I can do theatre.) But then I remembered that I don’t perform.

So basically the conclusion of this post could be: NO! Theatre scholars are not actors and dance scholars are not dancers. They might not even like to dance or act. And they might not even like/love theatre in the first place.

Are you studying something that makes people think you do stuff different from what you REALLY do?
I’d be delighted to hear about it. 🙂

Theatergeburtstag // Theatrical Birth

(since this is a post corresponding with a German blogger initiative there will be the German post first, and English one can be found below)

Tanja Praske hat in ihrem Blog zu einer Blogparade unter dem Motto “Mein faszinierendes Kulturerlebnis” aufgerufen. Und da das hier ein Blog ist, der sich mit Kultur – primär mit Theater – beschäftigt, ist das quasi genau mein Thema. Zuerst einmal: Danke, Tanja, für diesen Input!

Seit ich diese Aktion gesehen habe, habe ich natürlich darüber nachgedacht, was mein (ultimativ)faszinierendes Kulturerlebnis gewesen sein könnte. Meine erste Begegnung mit Bildern des Malers Caravaggio in einer Kirche in Valetta, Malta? Der Blick auf die Altstadt von Jerusalem vom Ölberg aus? Oder mehr Theater: Meine Theaterbesuche am Broadway vergagenen Monat? Barrie Koskys Inszenierung von Rusalka? Eine Videoinstallation zu Kurtags Kafka-Fragmenten? Meg Stuarts Built to last? Aber dann ist mir aufgefallen, dass ich all diese Sachen nicht gesehen hätte, wäre nicht etwas ganz bestimmtes in meinem Leben passiert, was inzwischen etwa sechseinhalb Jahre her ist. Damals lernte ich nämlich Tobias Rausch, Ilka Rümke und Jan Linders kennen, als ich nach einem in der Mitgliederzeitschrift der DGhK veröffentlichten Aufruf zum ‘Casting’ für das Performanceprojekt highQ – Gehirne in Hochgeschwindigkeit besetzt wurde. Das war mein einziger Ausflug als Performerin und damit bin ich sehr glücklich, denn eigentlich habe ich da gelernt ins Theater zu gehen und darüber zu sprechen.

Ich war damals 16 Jahre alt, in der 11. Klasse und verwirrt, weil die meisten meiner Klassenkameraden 18 waren und ‘erwachsen’ und Party machten. Bei highQ war ich untern den Performenden zur Abwechslung mal die älteste, der jüngste von uns war zu dem Zeitpunkt erst 8 oder 9. Zusammen haben wir in unseren Proben viel Blödsinn gemacht und waren kreativ (manchmal zu viel, manchmal zu wenig – ich erinnere mich daran wie Tobias uns Jugendliche mal dazu zwang ein Sonnett zu schreiben, das sich eben durch strenge formale Vorgaben auszeichnet. Ich bin selten so grandios gescheiert!). Und vor allem sind wir mehrmals gemeinsam ins Theater gegangen. Rückblickend ist mir das (und vieles aus der Zeit) ein bisschen peinlich, wie naiv ich und wie wenig ich über Theater wusste, aber das ist nun mal so. In meiner Erinnerung ist es so, dass irgendwann angefangen habe, auch etwas mehr ins Theater zu gehen, zuerst war das eher so ein “mitgehen” mit den Erwachsenen, großen Theaterleuten, später bin ich dann auch alleine gegangen. Sie haben mich wie selbstverständlich gefragt, wie es bestimmte Dinge an Aufführungen fand und was ich generell sagen würde. Dadurch habe ich für mich sehr schnell einen Weg gefunden, über Aufführungen und Theatererlebnisse zu sprechen, gerade dieses Sprechen spielt heute (und wird hoffentlich in meinem ganzen weiteren Leben) eine große Rolle für mich: Über Theater sprechen ist nicht nur eine Grundvoraussetzung für die theaterwissenschaftliche Aufführungsanalyse, sondern hat auch für mich privat in den darauffolgenden Jahren eine große Rolle gespielt. (weil: wer über Theater reflektieren und sprechen kann, kann das auch über andere Dinge…)

Ohne diese Erfahrung hätte ich in diesem Sommer nicht meine Bachelorarbeit in Theaterwissenschaft geschrieben, ich hätte mir nicht mit 16 in den Kopf gesetzt Dramaturgin zu werden. Gleichzeitig hätte ich natürlich Tobias nie kennen gelernt und hätte nie in der vorletzten Spielzeit mit ihm arbeiten können, als ich nämlich Interviews für die Produktion “Felix Krull und seine Erben” am Theater Kiel führen durfte.


Tanja Praske asked on her blog for posts dealing with a fascinating cultural experience in ones life – and since this is a blog about culture, mostly theatre, it seemed to be my topic! So first of all, thank you, Tanja, for asking.

I read about that initiative a few days ago and since then I was thinking about what I could consider to be my (most) fascinating thing I experienced in the arts. My first encounter with the paintings of Caravaggio in that church in Valetta, Malta? The view over the OId City of Jerusalem from Mount of Olive? Or to be more theatrical: My visit to Broadway last month? Barrie Kosky‘s production of Rusalka? That video-installation of Kurtag’s Kafka-Fragments? Meg Stuart‘s Built to last? But then I realized that most of these thing wouln’t even have happenend to me if something very special hadn’t happened in my life. About six and a half years ago I got to know Tobias Rausch, Ilka Rümke and Jan Linders at an audition I attended after reading about it in the magazine of the German association for gifted children. After all I got cast in a performance called “highQ – Gehirne in Hochgeschwindigkeit” (“highQ – high-speed brains”) – which was my only appearance as a performer and that’s more than okay because basically that was when I learned to speak about theatre.

Back then I was 16, in 11th grade and confused – most of my classmates were 18 and of age and partying every weekend. At highQ I was the oldest of us performers, the youngest was only 8 or 9 at that time. We did a lot of nonsense at rehearsal and we were creative (sometimes a lot, sometimes not so much I remember my failed attempt to write a sonnett with all these formal restrictions once) and we also went to see some performances together. Looking back today it’s almost a little embarrassing how naive I was and how little I knew about theatre, but that’s how life works. I remember that as the time when I starting to go and see performances – at first I only went with somebody, then I started going on my own – just as I do today. Naturally the older, ‘grown up’ theatrepoeple would always ask me what I thought about certain scenes or the performance in general. Due to that I soon learned how to talk about performances and this way of talking has been very important to me ever since. Not only is talking about what you see in theatres very important to performance analysis just as we do it in the theatre studies, but also to me personally. If you can reflect and talk about theatrical performances you can also do that with other events in your life.

Without that experience I never would have written my BA thesis in theatre studies this past summer and I hadn’t decided to become a dramaturg one day when I was 16. At the same time I never would have met Tobias and never would have had the chance to work with him again second to last season when I was a interviewer for his production “Felix Krull und seine Erben” at Theater Kiel.

My week #7 Sept 16 – 23

what I saw 
Dirty Hands (Sartre) directed by Jette Steckel at DT Berlin. I liked it. Kind of. I mostly liked the thought of another actress playing Olga than the one who as actually playing the part.
Murmel, Murmel remember last week when I saw these two Herbert Fritsch productions at Volksbühne? Well, that was the third and it was the best. Mostl because I had the feeling that Fritsch couldn’t just be lazy only finding kind of easy pictures for the texts. Because: When people say “Murmel” for 90 minutes that’s not much of a text, right? 😉
A midsummernight’s dream (Benjamin Britten) at Komische Oper directed by Viestur Kairish. Nope I didn’t like that one. Let’s not get started here….

what I read    
my friend’s BA thesis. And mine. And the others’ comments on mine. And again: mine.

what I listened to  
Drew Gasparini: I could use a drink. Great songs, great singers. Go, listen to them on iTunes!

what I bought 
some vacation preparational stuff.

what I did  
first things first: I finished off my BA thesis! Yay! My friend is gonna bring it to the examination office tomorrow. That’s some good new, right?
Other than that: Nothing much. I worked on the new webpage to represent the project I’m working for. I went out for dinner with my two “criminal dinner”-bosses. I had an amazing night with my best friend at a great bar with great wine.

where I travelled
the nightly Berlin. Again. This time: Less drunk, more bike-fun. I really love riding my bike across the city for 45 minutes at night. It’s amazing. It would have been even more amazing if it was still summer, but…..(sadly I didn’t to that at all this summer, but the next summer will arrive sooner or later…)

Back from summer?

Well, I guess someone (read: me) had three months of blogging-summer-break. Now with the new theatre season right peeking right around the corner I’ll try to hop back onto the blogging-waggon. Sounds stupid? Yeah, pretty much. 🙂

Since some stuff happened in my life I’ll give some updates right here. Just for the records. a) I’ll (hopefully) finish my BA thesis in the next two weeks and hand it in. (for those being interested its title will be: “Don’t compare. Construction of Self and Other in ‘Third Generation’ and ‘I love I'” … those are two theatrical performances bringing performers from different countries in the Middele East on stage together)

b) right after that I’ll leave for a ten day trip to New York City with my lovely mother. Kind of as a BA-graduation-mark. Since I secretly am a Broadway-fangirl, we’ll watch a number of shows (6 to be exact) and explore the city that never sleeps. I’m so EXCITED!

c) after we’ll return to Berlin I’ll have another week off before I’ll start my MA-programme. After having majored in theatre studies for three years (was it THAT long ago that I started university?) I’ll now concentrate more on the dance-aspects. I’m enrolled in the dance studies MA programme at Freie Universität Berlin.

Everything else we’re gonna see. Anyways, I’m very excited for fall and winter although it will include lots and lots of working – but as we all know, it’s pretty nice to have work in theatre business, right?

Oh and btw: My first theatregoing-experience this season (if we don’t count that open air video installation ‘Slow Dancing’ I saw mid-August) has been ‘Uncle Vanya’ directed by Jürgen Gosch at Deutsches Theater Berlin last Sunday.  And it terribly reminded me why I love theatre ifself but hate most of the people in the audience. Well. Yeah.

‘See’ you soon.