FEAR EATS THE SOUL theater collaboration (2017)

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Rainer Werner Fassbinder made a film about an elderly German cleaner who falls in love with a thirty-years-younger Moroccan, and the feeling is mutual. The protagonists refer to each other as ‘old woman’ and ‘Arabian dog’. Their relationship doesn’t seem to sit well with anyone, but many benefit from it. Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (1974) is a story about a society that fears anything seen as different, but its economic will to survive causes it to appropriate all things foreign and adapt them to fit its narratives.

Some stories are harder to tell than others, particularly in today’s Poland. There are stories we cannot imagine or understand, especially if set in an ethnically and religiously homogeneous country. We don’t tell the love story of Emmi and Ali, because a story about a relationship stronger than social terror is not our story. In the 1970s, Fassbinder’s film made it possible to understand Germany’s economic, social and economic reality. Now, in the 21st century, in Poland, Fear Eats the Soul demonstrates why we cannot and do not want to grasp our current reality.

Our story is about a society terrified to see in their midst people who don’t conform to the same laws and rules. Our story is about rumours, slander, hasty accusations and false communities; about phantasms and notions that have a social reality where, true to the motto of Fassbinder’s film, ‘Happiness is not always fun’.

The play is produced as part of The Fourth Generation, a project curated by Agnieszka Jakimiak, Marta Keil and Iwona Nowacka and supported by the Foundation for Polish-German Cooperation and Warsaw’s Goethe Institute.

partners: Schauspielhaus Bochum; Ringlokschuppen Ruhr, Mülheim

actors: Karolina Adamczyk, Grzegorz Artman, Klara Bielawka, Julian Świeżewski

director – Agnieszka Jakimiak

dramaturg, stage designer, lighting director, video – Mateusz Atman

translator – Iwona Nowacka

choreographer – Agata Maszkiewicz

music – Łukasz Jędrzejczak

director’s and set designer’s assistant – Emilia Korsak

curator – Marta Keil

producer – Kuba Olszak

premiere: 19 December 2017