The German perspective

The German perspective

The German perspective

Bangaloreans have a chance to get a glimpse of renowned theatre director Andrea Gronemeyer’s work this weekend as she’s back in the City with a children’s play, ‘Squirrel’s Birthday’.

The play will be a part of the Aha! Theatre for Children: International Theatre Festival which is hosted by Ranga Shankara every year.

Metrolife caught up with the German director about her journey so far and why she likes working with children. The reason she wanted to be a director is because she wanted to express herself artistically but not put herself on stage.

“Being a good director is about having a good concept and knowing how to show and tell it. You also need to know what you want to say and should be able to guide the actors when they are confused,” she says. Brought up in Cologne, she is currently the director at the Schnawwl Theatre & Young Opera in Mannheim, Germany.

Although she has 40 plays to her credit, she remains humble as ever. She doesn’t take sole credit for any of her work. “Theatre is a wonderful media. It brings together a group of people to create something nice. As a director, it’s nice to give your capacity to such a group of artistes,” she says. 

She prefers theatre to films because “In film, there is less of group work and the director is more in charge. It is more of a technical job; the creative job comes while cutting (editing). Theatre is a community of artistes and in the rehearsals, we all give something, try different things, choose and change things and let it grow into something beautiful.” 

She likes the bond that exists between people in theatre. “It is a more physical and social act. If the actor is cheered on by the audience, it makes him a better performer. It’s an energy that flows between the audience and the artistes and it is special.” She also like the interaction between the actors and herself. 

“There is a need in this world right now for this kind of interaction. Everyone is sitting in front of their computers and there is no more direct interaction. We repeat our performances for an audience of about 400 which isn’t very economical but it is important,” she says. The director has specialised in children’s theatre for the past 20 years. She says it’s the kids that are the future generation and good seeds must be sown in them so that they can do better some day. 

“The audience is a part of the creation; if they have a special energy, actors change for them. The fantasy of the child interacts and creates fantasies and this makes them more creative and intelligent. Unlike films, theatre has gaps which allows the audience to fill in the rest. Children need creativity and art. They can never be taught, they need to teach themselves. We just need to give them something to learn and that’s what theatre is,” she says. 

This is the reason the director uses minimalist sets for her plays. Her last play, ‘The Boy in the Suitcase’, which was a hit worldwide, used basic props. She says she if there are gaps and minimal props, people are made to use their imaginations more, which challenges them and makes them smarter. “Every society needs people full of creativity and fantasy, otherwise there will be no economic, scientific, political or human advancement,” she says. 

Why did she go with puppets in her upcoming play? “The puppet is smaller than the child and we talk about human questions through animals. But there is a bit of alienation because the kids know it is not reality. That means of alienation is very important for the child because they can relate to subjects without being affected deeply. One must remember, the child is mightier than the puppet,” she says. 

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