Blogging from Germany: Theatre of Generosity

Yesterday after rehearsal, Simone invited me to her house for dinner. Aren’t you tired, I asked, because all the actors have been groaning with aching thighs and knees and I am the Wicked Witch: Cause of It All. It’s three now, we have dinner at six, so it’s fine, she smiled.

She met me at the Café Alte Feur Wache along with Magic Miro, her white-blonde two year old (Blau fish-Rot Frisbee, Miro) and we walked across to her apartment. High ceilings, wooden floors, and straight into Miro’s room where a tall window, a shelf of children’s books, a coloured child’s piano and a blue tent with stars on it drew me in like a magnet. I was happy to sit there with Miro listening to him play and talk. Happy spaces tend to do that. You want to enter the game too, and play, break bread together and have conversations. Dark spaces undoubtedly, have their own enchantment, but the desires there are more solitary, the pursuits more individualistic.

We sat at a table in the kitchen drinking red wine and Till, Simone’s partner and fantastic father of Miro, brought out a glass for Miro as well and poured him some “kinder wine” and we all raised glasses and talked through the evening, about stuff – a musician from Mali who was playing on the stereo, the fact that the internet has spawned a certain form of subversion allowing all sorts of sub genres to spring up mocking the hegemony of the Big Record Companies. Miro was so much a part of the table, intently turning the pages of the Ganesha comic I gave him.

Then there is Evi who leaves to Delhi on Saturday and is a little scared and says - What should I wear, how should I be? Just FYI, dear Reader, I said - Wear what you like and be who you are. I used to be very “when in Rome” as a younger person, but I don’t feel like that anymore. When I go to Schnawwl in the morning, Evi who must be 6 feet tall, is blond, gorgeous, individualistic and a single mother of a 13 year old, says “Come to me” and draws me in with such heart warming kisses that I know the day will be good. She is in charge of the costumes department and presides over a kingdom of wigs, hats, shoes, sunglasses, can-cans, boas, dungarees, polka dot dresses, make-up and cardigans. She tides me over a tough day with coffee and sweetness.

And Jan, who is one of the technicians. Yesterday I took my German bike up to his department to have the seat adjusted for a 5’4” shorty. The technicians at Schnawwl have to be the busiest people there. They run 2-3 different performances a day and are constantly changing sets, building sets, maintaining lights & sound, building rehearsal dummy sets, checking fire-proofing, working with designers. I often see them moving massive trolleys from Schnawwl to the rehearsal space at Neckarau. And into this scenario, enter Kirtana with bike needs. Jan patiently took the seat down, re-adjusted the basket asked me to check the height. Re-did it twice. Then he suggested kindly that I might perhaps one day like to cycle along the Rheine from Jungbusch to Neckarau instead of leaving my bike at Schnawwl and taking a train.

For I have been cycling around the city! Me and my map. In this way I found my way to the National Theatre last night and went up to the Werkhouse to watch the Germany-Spain game. Oh!….the feelings in that super-crowded room. But two images will stay with me. Julia’s T-shirt that said Summer of Loew in front and Frau Shweinsteiger behind. And Shweinsteiger on the field, post match. Bent over on his knees, head on the earth. Like a child, like a worshipper.

Maike rode back with me, showing me a shortcut from the National to Jungbusch, that took us through back streets of mourning Germans, bewildered, sad, pissed off. And then like electricity, some young Spanish kids charging about in lovely, wild celebration. Then African drums and a singer, people dancing, eating ice cream, folding up their flags and hopefully optimistic for FIFA 2014.

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