That Point in the Drama Where It Starts to Hurt, That’s Where the Work Gets Interesting.
Interview with Roland Schimmelpfenning.
Interviewed by Randy Gener
In this Statement I will discuss about the Set Design of the theatre production The Golden Dragon, presented in New Orleans, Luisiana, at Tulane University’s Dixon Performing Arts Center, in The Lupin Theater through April 8 – 13, 2014; and why this project fits perfectly with the main theme of the Prague Quadrennial 2015 Shared Space: Music, Weather and Politics.
The avant-garde style of the low budget production was presented in an intimate black box experimental theatre space that influenced not only the spatial relations of elements of the performance, but also determines the relations between the performance and audience, the audience became in my design an essential scenic element. The performance provoked a multiplicity of deep feelings like the ever- changing Weather and the success of the performance sweeps way as a hurricane the myth, that New Orleanians don’t need theatre because they have Mardi Gras parades and they are not ready to understand the European contemporary theater; this I heard since I’m here. I was very proud to present my work to New Orleanians and I think this production can represent the American Theatre Stage Design at Prague Quadrennial next year.
The tragicomedy’s abstract and playful nature had a big impact on me, at a personal and emotional level. The play is about the Globalization, about immigrants like me (born in Moldova), the artistic director Dmitry Troyanovsky (born in Russia), etc.
The big theme is the complexity of human problems taken out from their usual space, easy for some, hard for others. The globalization on one hand gave us some freedom: to move, to find a better life, to work in a better place; but on the other hand we have been taken from our habitual space, which can make us unhappy and lonely, to find ourselves in a different world without our families and Network. Few generations before us, especially in Europe, people usually used to spend all their life at the same place they were born, never moving. This could be bad, but they always felt that they belong to that place; and now this feeling disappears for the young generation.
My design choices were inspired by the following themes: The Globalization space: Unified stylized urban space; The conflict between Asian and Western elements; The Consumerism space, Unified stylized urban space; Unified stylized Asiatic restaurant space: Asian kitsch and Asian kitsch.
The design is not just a unit set, but it’s also a permanent set, no changes or moves of the scenery are made during the show. The unit set space is the restaurant space that connects all the stories together. I placed the audience in a thrust stage style and the first row of the audience were siting at the table and they where served with plates with dirt and grass. I wanted to introduce an organic element that expresses Life and Hope.
Roland Schimmelpfennigis is one of the most produced German playwrights at the moment. The Golden Dragon won all major German-language theatre awards since it first premiered in the fall of 2009 in Vienna, since than it had over 40 productions worldwide. The Golden Dragon is darkly whimsical play; in a way is a global play, but it also concerns personal needs, problems, fears and pains; is about illegal immigration and human trafficking, but this Political Theme of the absence of rights of illegal immigrants depicted in a kaleidoscopic fashion from varied perspectives.