Old cinema Ebersberg: “Global space” continues – Ebersberg

Susanna Kuhnlein continues to act, although the director knocks hard on the stage: “Please stop, we have to do it differently.” Only when the actress is clicked notice the interruption. She cannot hear the instructions because she is deaf. “I always knock on the stage to interrupt, so those who don’t hear can feel the shake, but sometimes I don’t knock hard enough,” director Andrea Killian explains. She is currently rehearsing with Susanna Kuhnlein and other participants at the “Space” theater at the Old Cinema in Ebersberg for the big show next weekend.

The show being rehearsed here is part of the “Global Space” project funded by the Ministry of the Interior. For this purpose, as diverse a group as possible should gather under the roof of the old cinema so as to be able to depict a cross-section of society. The entire “world” should come together in one “room” – hence the name. A group of interested people quickly appeared without much advertising, but by word of mouth. However, the fact that the pandemic began with the start of the project made the weekly meetings originally planned for the play impossible.

Because of the pandemic, most of the “world space” initially had to be moved to digital, and here theater teacher Andrea Killian is presenting the project via live broadcast.

(Photo: Peter Haines-Rosen)

The concept of the play was initially suspended – and the epidemic itself on the topic of alternative project ideas: What are you experiencing now? What is unbearable, what is pleasant? Whether it was text, music, video messages, or sculptures – the format of the presentations was freely selectable. The last film that combined stories, oddities, and one-on-one interviews wrapped up the project for the time being.

When the first easing of the restrictions put performance back into the realm of possibilities, the Welt-Raum team pulled plans out of the tray again: it was now all about playing together. However, some of the original participants had already left the study, whether due to a semester abroad or a second job – only the hard core remained. This also changed the form of diversity: while the diversity of the participants was initially dominated by the theme of the origin, now diversity is the common theatrical performance of people who do not hear.

“A scene emerges from individualized experiences processed”

The content of the piece Behind the Windows does not have a hard core, but it does have a real core. As with the previous project, the cast addressed personal experiences during the pandemic. However, there are basic general autobiographical experiences: “The requirement was that each person bring nine terms associated with their resume,” explains Killian, who has taken the artistic direction. From these terms, the other participants then chose one for which the person must develop a scene, which they now represent at the end. The ad states: “Real-life stories, delicate moments, great characters, and real emotions meet the necessary sprinkle of humor.”

Culture in Ebersberg: What is the biographical experience behind this scene by Roland Kühnlein?

What is the biographical experience behind this scene by Roland Kühnlein?

(Photo: Peter Haines-Rosen)

Killian says some were initially unhappy with the term assigned to them. Barbel Corner, for example, actually wanted “grandfather’s joy”, but got “school failure” https://www.sueddeutsche.de/muenchen/ebersberg/. “When we thought about the topics together, we were able to share our experiences—and so Barbel was not yet convinced that failure at school was worth so much.” In one-on-one conversations with the trained director, the actors then thought about how they would shape their moment on stage. “But the scenes always arose from individual experiences and ideas,” says Killian. In the end, a total of 20 small acts came together: through radio plays, sketches, clips and flash crowd, the band builds a bridge between worlds.

“Susanna first had to convince me to play with people hearing too.”

Roland Conlin, Susanna’s husband, is also deaf. He plays a scene around the word “misunderstanding”. For 40 years he has been performing in the theater – the theater for the deaf. In the old cinema, he appeared on stage with people hearing for the first time: “Susanna first had to convince me to play while also listening to people,” he says. His wife works as a therapeutic teaching assistant and thus is in great contact with people who are listening anyway. So the decision was easier for her – although this is the first time she has been on stage.

They both see it as a privilege to be able to take part in a theater project like Welt-Raum. The fact that the couple come from Ebersberg makes the whole thing more practical: “As a deaf person, you are used to driving long distances to take advantage of offers specifically for deaf people,” says Roland Kühnlein. But this time, exceptionally, they had a short trip home.

The sign language interpreter translates for up to six hours at a time during rehearsals

Since Kühnleins cannot speak themselves, they rely on sign language interpreters. 30-year-old Lena Schmidt-Pess is in charge of running today, her arms constantly moving. Since rehearsals sometimes last up to six hours, the question arises, how do you manage them? “It’s exhausting, but that’s what I’ve trained for,” the interpreter admits. She also loves to come to the old cinema – also because of the “great atmosphere”. Schmidt-Pesse will also perform for the simultaneous translation of Kühnleins. But the deaf in the audience will not be forgotten either: another interpreter will turn to the audience.

Culture in Ebersberg: Lena Schmidt-Bäse translates the instructions of director Andrea Killian into sign language.

Lena Schmidt-Pess translates the instructions of director Andrea Killian into sign language.

(Photo: Peter Haines-Rosen)

The overall project is also something new for director Andrea Killian – but as an expert on “physical theater” she’s clearly the perfect fit for it. In this type of theater, the body is the starting point for artistic design processes, while the spoken word takes a back seat. This may seem strange to many at first – but for people who rely on sign language or lip reading in everyday life, body orientation is the only way to communicate anyway.

However, the physical exertion of the other participants often does not go far enough for Killian: when an actress is on the phone with an imaginary conversation partner, Killian asks them to use their bodies more. “When I’m on the phone, you can’t see the other end of the line if I’m moving,” the actress’ bodies. “But the audience does – that’s what it’s all about,” the director replies. And creative warm-ups also require some getting used to: “I didn’t expect to do something like this in the theater,” says Gerhard Leitner, when he was supposed to rub himself “like a bear” against Roland Conlin, “tree.”

Culture in Ebersberg: A warm-up exercise that takes some getting used to: Who's the tree here, who's the bear?

The warm-up exercise some are used to: Who’s the tree here, who’s the bear?

(Photo: Peter Haines-Rosen)

With the performances approaching, the adrenaline is already soaring among the performers. “Please rehearse everything back at home, the scenes have to be correct,” warns Killian. So the pressure is slowly increasing. However, in the end, everyone returns home “satisfied and happy” – and we look forward to their first big performance.

“Welt-Raum – Das Stück” at Altes Kino Ebersberg, premiering on Saturday, May 28, house opens at 7.30pm, starts at 8.30pm. The second show will take place on Sunday, May 29th, starting at 7pm and doors open at 6pm. Tickets below www.kultur-in-ebersberg.deBy phone at (08092) 255 92 05 or in person at the ticket office in the lobby of the old warehouse.

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