Poetry on the radio, two hours long – that’s quite a matter of course. At least at Deutschlandradio, and at least every now and then. The new series is in April The Lyrical Cabinet started, a literary program that deals exclusively with poetry. Now running Book of Songsan exciting radio play experiment that is being expanded into a podcast in the station’s audio library.
The poet Jan Wagner, who Book of Songs does not want his art pushed into a niche. He self-confidently claims that poems are directly related to our lives and would not turn away from reality in order to immerse themselves in any spheres.
Wagner does not owe the proof. Book of Songs is a collective work, an ensemble radio play, if one likes to use the terminology of the film. For this, Wagner selected ten poems by contemporary European authors, and ten directors or teams of directors each staged one of them. It is a sometimes very concrete poetry that deals with the noise of the times, with wars on the continent, with criticism of totalitarian systems, or with mourning for the father.
The poems can be heard in a mixture of the original and a German translation, and above all they are set to music by renowned radio play makers: Andreas Ammer & Driftmachine haben song to the noise interpreted by the Welsh singer Deryn Rees Jones, Ulrike Haage mulberry grove the Turkish author Gonca Özmen, Klaus Buhlert The doll the Belarusian Vera Burlak. Other interpreters are Hermann Kretzschmar, Grace Yoon, Merzouga, Björn SC Deigner, among other authors are the Slovenian Aleš Šteger, the Pole Tadeusz Dąbrowski, the French Valérie Rouzeau.
It is a very dynamic, very accessible debate that highlights European sensitivities, commonalities – and the differences in the simultaneous. In the podcast version there is even more space for the introduction to the individual poems, the radio play version itself works like a kind of long acoustic poem.
This interesting discrepancy between self-perception and external perception
When it is in Book of Songs all the differences are about something like a common identity, is what the main character in Sarah Kilter’s radio play is looking for White Passing, staged by Nick-Julian Lehmann, following her very own path. Kilter plays with her own biography, with the discrepancy between a real role model and a role that remains unresolved in some places. This puts her right in the middle of her subject: White Passing is about the dichotomy between how a person perceives himself and how he is read by others. And that it matters who says or does something – and that the same things mean something different. Also, and perhaps most importantly, a person doesn’t have to be consistent. Above all, the so-called majority society gets in White Passing repeatedly slapped in the face for too often claiming sovereignty over things of which she has no idea.
Derailed even more violently than the main character in White Passing is the one in Penda Diouf’s radio play slopes. slopes is about Diouf’s trip to Namibia in 2010. A trip to Africa, but not to the homeland of her ancestors – Diouf has Senegalese-Ivorian roots and lives in France. She is passionate about Namibia because she adores Frankie Fredericks, the 100-meter sprinter who broke up the phalanx of dominant US sprinters.
Penda Diouf is looking for heroes and, along with Fredericks, comes across the leaders of the Herero and the Nama, who rebelled against the German colonial rulers at the beginning of the 20th century – the Germans then committed genocide against the two ethnic groups. Diouf interweaves this historical racism with her own experiences of exclusion and degradation. And shows the difficulty this causes in developing a positive attitude towards one’s own identity.
Book of SongsDLF, June 11, 2022, 8 p.m.
White PassingRBB Kultur, June 10, 2022, 7 p.m.
slopesNDR Kultur, June 15, 2022, 8 p.m.
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