1989: 30 лет спустя
On the 3rd of November, 2019 they presented a premier of the show 1989:Thirty Years Later as part of the Krasnoyarsk Book Culture Fair (KRYAKK) annually sponsored by the Mikhail Prokhorov Foundation. This unique production is a result of 30.past.89 project. With pleasure we offer you an opportunity to watch a video recording of this show performed in Krasnoyarsk.
The project started in Spring 2019. Young people from Poland, Russia and Germany were tasked to record interviews with their parents and grandparents. Local stories of different people, relatives of the participants, their memories, emotions, and experiences laid groundwork for the project and then grew into a show. Young actors did not try to make a historical breakdown of the string of events of the last thirty years. They were experiencing that time through memories of their parents imagining themselves in their parents’ situations – what they would do under those circumstances. They were creating everything together without dividing it by country – traveling to Warsaw and Gdansk, Moscow and Yaroslavl, Berlin and Leipzig. During those trips they met with witnesses of the historical events of the early 1990s. For example in Russia the theatre group met with Irina Prokhorova and Grigory Yavlinsky, the Yabloko [Apple] party leader, and in Poland they met with Solidarity Movement members. Such meetings became an important element of the project too. They helped the participants to understand the timeline of the events through emotions of their friends and relatives.
This is what makes the show so captivating – a chance to look at the turbulent events of 1989 through the eyes of those who put together their historical puzzle from stories of their parents and grandparents.
In the end the project was a great help for its participants. The young people have become carriers of the past. Through their stories, emotions and memories the young people were exploring themselves looking for their place in their country, in Europe and in the global world. Only time will show whether the project has reached its goal which is finding an answer to the question: What nurtures, excites, moves, separates and connects young people in Poland, Russia and Germany?
The German version of the show was performed on the stage of the Deutsches Theater in the middle of October. Two weeks later the actors and the production staff gathered in Krasnoyarsk to present the Russian version of the show which was very positively received by the Russian audience.
The show went on almost for two hours yet most of the audience stayed after it for a discussion with the participants and the director of the project. Perhaps some important historical facts were not fully covered which Irina Prokhorova addressed but the performance of non-professional actors found a way to everybody’s heart in the audience. Nobody remained untouched – memories of the older generations, young people’s interest to the events of those years, laughter and tears were in the House of Actor on that evening.
In this historical laboratory, due to curious interventions, a bitter truth of reality turns into a live culture of memory. The audience may feel how participants of this original project steered by director Uta Plate and playwright Birgit Lengers got to know each other and made friends with each other while doing their research and rehearsing. This is well portrayed in the scene of clothes exchange custom that they borrowed from soccer teams.
The show is really like a quilt. It is an album of newspaper clips with different stories… It works best when people want to understand each other whether it is understanding across generations or borders.
Big colorful packs are an important part of the show. They are not just an element of the set – they are an allegory of emotional baggage of each young person. It is the baggage of the past that a person lives with. It shapes their mindset and world view.
They talked about it during the KRYAK [Krasnoyarsk Book Culture Fair] Club discussion titled Emotional Experiences, New Generation Discourses on Personal and Social History of the “Turbulent Years”. The show was evaluated by museum workers, historians, political scientists, and initiators of the project. Ilya Kovalsky, one of the participants of the project, made some comments important for understanding in which direction it is to move further. We hope that soon we will make a video version of the show available to watch and discuss.
This show is unique. It will not and can’t be repeated. Uta Plate, the director of the show, believes that the outcome of the project delivered by this particular group of young people must be shown here and now, and it can’t be repeated in six months. It will be a different project then.
Uta Plate, the director and the head of the project. She studied cultural pedagogy at the University of Hildesheim, followed by management of the African-German theatre group Rangi Moja. Her publication "Fremd bleiben" [Remained Foreign] describes intercultural theatre work (co-author Wiebke von Bernstorff, IKO-Verlag, 1997). In 1996-99 at the Nordhausen Theatre, she was a director of Theater im Knast [Theatre in Jail] project at a juvenile detention centre. In 1999-2000 Uta Plate was a theatre teacher at the Schaubühne Berlin. In parallel, she was managing a project of the youth theatre DIE ZWIEFACHEN for young people from socially troubled families.
In addition Uta Plate did international theatre workshops in Chili, China, Turkey, Finland, Palestine and Romania. Since Summer 2014 Uta Plate has been teaching at the Berlin University of the Arts [Universität der Künste Berlin], the Zurick University of the Arts and the University of Hildesheim. As a director she worked in different theatres (BACKA Theatre in Göteborg, Sweden, Theater Neumarkt in Zurick, Deutsches Theater Berlin, Aarhus Teater/Secret Hotel), in projects with professional and amateur actors, on the conventional stage and in alternative formats. In 2015 and 2016 together with Göte Institute of New Zealand, she did several projects including a project in the Wellington female prison. In 2016-2017 she worked on the youth project Get Up! Stand Up! at the Bürgerbühne in Dresden, and together with refugee teenagers and local senior citizens she staged SERVUS-SALAM [Hello – Salam] show. In 2017 and 2018 Uta Plate did theatre projects in Burkina Faso and Austria. In 2018 and 2019 together with Evangelical Church EKD she delivered theatre workshops for cartoonists who did educational work with young people.
Students from Germany: Jan Hinnerk Henze, Katharina Hoffmann, Emil Kollmann, Molimo Mehlem, Jasmin Fifassi Sebastiani, Emma Charlotte Weiß.
Students from Poland: Kornel Duchaczek, Michal Ireneusz Halas, Hania Kulnianin, Ewa Mazgajska, Anna Maziarska, Rohan Fryderyk Tryc-Bromley.
Students from Russia: Prokhor Gusev, Ilya Kovalsky, Daria Kolpakova, Polina Laptyreva, Yegor Litvinov, Ioanna Meschaninova
Playwright – Birgit Lengers
Stage manager - Paul Schmidt
Set Design – Lana Ramsay
The project has been done by the Deutsches Theater in collaboration with the Protestant Church of Germany and the Protestant Church Community of Teltow-Zehlendorf district of Berlin in partnership with Dr. Michael Detloff Foundation and the Stanislavsky Elektrotheater.
The Friedrich Naumann Foundation
The German Federal Foreign Office
The German-Polish Youth Project
The Friedrich Christian Flick Foundation against Xenophobia, Racism, and Intolerance
The Foundation for Polish-German Cooperation
1989: Thirty Years Later is a documentary confirmation of exploring the past. It is an attempt of putting it into a theatre language, which is the project’s destination… Enthusiasm of beautiful young actors brings the audience in a magical space where the impossible seems possible – they get to know each other, understand each other, and learn from each other