Blogging from Germany: Interview with Sophia Stepf

(Let it be noted that Sophia Stepf answered these questions from Kreuzberg, Berlin while eating dosais and pesto with M.D.Pallavi, protagonist and sole performer of C Sharp C Blunt. Let it also be noted that I have absolutely no idea why this blog post suddenly has a white background. One hour of trying to undo this has further convinced me that the limited intelligence of APPS like Blogspot compels me to put my heft behind SHILPA and pick up a hammer.)

Sophia Stepf was born in Kassel /Germany and lives between Berlin and Bangalore. She has studied dramaturgy for theatre and media and now she does all sorts of things with her company Flinntheater and her lable Culture for Competence. She believes in the power of life experiences and experiential learning, she likes to watch HBO series and to run in the forest, she is not into capitalism too much but benefits from it, she wants a lifelong visa for India and more funding for the arts world wide.

1. As an expert on inter-cultural relations Sophia, what is your personal opinion on Ragi Mudde? Have you tasted it? If so, did you swallow or chew? Can you imagine a mudde-spargel combine? Please describe.

A: Yes I have! Many times. I love it now, but its an aquired taste. I was told to swallow it and not chew. I chewed it and I like the consistency now. It also tastes insanely healthy. Mudde Spargel, difficult.
Option 1: 2 asparagus and bechamel sauce wrapped in Ragi Dosa
Option 2: The mudde demands a spicy component which asparagus is not, so with mudde you'd have to make the asparagaus in some spicy way. So the sauce would be the thing: I would suggest fry the asparagus in a little olive oil, add pepper and salt and maybe some thmye or estragon. Then make a bechamel sauce with a lot of the sour component in it like vinegar.

2. You have lived and worked in India. Have you ever had Gobi Manjoori? How's that for     intercultural? Please comment.

A: Apart from the name it does not taste or look intercultural to me. It looks and tastes and is produced very Indian, much like Pakora, no? I feel it is the vegetarians substitute for chicken, as it is fried to a chickenlike consistency. If it was ever not Indian, it has been completey appropriated: sinful and spicy street food.

3. But seriously, do you think Katrina Kaif has a future in India after Sheila ki Jawani? Will anyone marry her or is she simply too sexy for us? 

A: Can you ever be too sexy?????? Maybe she doesn't want to get married?

4. You do recall our conversation about said star of Yadon ki Baraat - Zeenat Aman. Would she have had a future in Germany? Would anyone marry her?

A: Who is that woman and what kind of future? I would not marry her, she is too old for me. 

5. As the director of the recent C Sharp B Blunt in Bangalore, what is your opinion on blunt female APPS? Do you think they should zip it? Are sharp female APPS too much for the Indian market? How do Germans like their female APPS? Also, what do you think of Michelle Obama's blunt? (Just askin')

A: In the digital world there is a new fight against sexism. Because there is more and more sexism in the digital world. I think it is time to offer alternatives. If they come in form of APPs or movements like FEMEN, or initiatives like "MissRepresentation" or "A girls guide to taking over the world" - we need a new global feminist movement. Its not about India or Germany, sexism is all over capitalism, because sex still sells best. (Note: She pointedly ignored Michelle's hair, she must have something against capitalism)

6. Were you supplied tea during your rehearsals in Bangalore? Masala or plain? Any other snacks? Bonda, Vade, Maggi noodles? 

A: Coffee, Masala Chai, Dosa. We all decided that Maggie is evil and banned it, although we like it. Idli / Vada we had a lot too. Tonight I am making Dosa with Pesto, if that works out, tastewise, I am in culinary heaven.

7. What would you say are the critical differences between Indian and German rehearsals? Be blunt.

A: My rehearsals are not "German" as I devise my plays in both countries and my process might seem completely chaotic to a German subsidised theatre person. The morning to evening 8 hour rehersals was new for my Indian team. 

8. What are your future plans for the play? Do you foresee any additional activties for the perfect Shilpa? Would she dance? Cook? Iron? Mastur...oh, never mind.

A: Shilpa 404 might become a little more dangerous in the next run of show. Yes, she will. And then there will be the German version of Shilpa for the Berlin shows, who can be even blunter and wilder.
We see this show travelling, hopefully more in India and the Indian diaspora. 

9. Is there any likelihood that there will be a new male APP in the future? Would your APP have abs? Will he and Shilpa marry (like Ken and Barbie)? In Germany will they live together? Would your Indian audience accept this?

A: Shilpa 606 will be a giant like google or facebook. She will decide what you see and what you want. She will never marry, she will fuck your brain gently and you won't know it. 

10. Do you have any final words of advice to young theatre artists...Black or white? Sunnyside up or double fried? Polka dot or checks? Paul or John?

A: Do your own thing, experiment, follow your instinct, find new forms, keep working relentlessly and never lose faith that you can change your world.

MD Pallavi in C Sharp C Blunt
Thank you Sophia Stepf. We await, with bated breath and much optimism, the arrival of Shilpa 606. 

Postscript: For my readers who requested an explanation of ragi muddhe and gobi manjoori, I resort to trusty Samosapedia, the last word in South Asian lingo.

Ragi mudde: http://samosapedia.com/e/ragi_muddhe Ragi is a super healthy iron rich indigenous millet. 

Gobi manjoori: http://samosapedia.com/e/gobi_manchurian Locally, no one says Manchurian, that's too esoteric, so Manjoori is what it is.

Spargel: The German word for asparagus and specifically the gorgeous fat white asparagus that is in the markets in spring, a specialty in Mannheim.