For the first time since the pre-pandemic days of 2019, the Schaubühne is once again able to present the Festival International New Drama (FIND) during its accustomed slot in the spring. This annual highlight of the theatre season showcases drama from countries around the world.
As the centrepiece of this year’s spotlight on the Americas, FIND has has chosen the Québecois director Robert Lepage to be its Artist in Focus. The festival programme is luminous and visionary, rather like Lepage’s work itself. Two of his stage works feature in the line-up, and they could hardly be more different. The Seven Streams of the River Ōta deals with the fallout – quite literally – of the Hiroshima bombing. The ‘seven streams’ refer to the tributaries of the Ōta, which runs through the city, and to the seven intertwined stories in the play, which runs for about seven hours.
His other stage piece, 887, is an intimate memoir that Lepage wrote, directs and appears in himself. The title alludes to the street address of the building where he grew up. This becomes his memory palace, with clever use of props and sets to represent public and private spaces. FIND also features two of his films, which will be shown off-site at Eva Lichtspiele: The Confessional and La face cachée de la lune (Far Side of the Moon).
Other plays from the Americas include Until the Flood by US playwright Dael Orlandersmith, about racism and power, as well as fellow American Tina Satter’s Is This a Room, a verbatim theatre piece taken from FBI transcripts of an interrogation with a whistleblower. Oasis de la impunidad, by Chilean writer and director Marco Layera, is based on events during the social rebellion in Santiago de Chile in 2019.
The programme, which seems almost hallucinogenically prescient for our current times, contains much more as well. Two shows feature dystopian visions of the future: Kingdom by Belgian playwright Anne-Cécile Vandalem and FRATERNITÉ, conte fantastique by Paris-born Caroline Guiela Nguyen. Most feature surtitles in English, with some available in French and Spanish.
FIND Mar 31-Apr 10 Schaubühne, Charlottenburg