Characters are perhaps the most impressive inventions of the human mind when it comes to giving shape to a kind of knowledge that is multi-faceted and embedded in diverse layers. They embody the specific patterns of a psychological and social experience, condensed in literary form at a particular time and thus becoming «timeless». Yet characters are also playthings, inventions, that are tied up in narratives, in power structures. Anyone who slips into the skin and script of a character moves within their story and under their surface. In theatrical plays, we inhabit characters in much the same way as we inhabit our own body or our «own» mindset. As humans, however, we hardly ever transcend ourselves unless we are in an exceptional state of ecstasy, shock, love or grief. But a character’s substance changes too. When viewed in close-up, they appear to be embedded entities, the result of the interplay between different agents – objects, technologies, stories, standards, fashions, landscapes, other characters and species. This forms the figuration in which they are created and simultaneously come apart. Why do we so rarely succeed in inventing «great» characters which are consistent over time? What makes them so touching both in the physical and virtual world? And do not the characters and devices themselves actually direct events?
Thomas Oberender, born in 1966 in Jena, is an author and curator. Since 2011 he has been the Artistic and Managing Director of Berliner Festspiele/Gropiusbau. From 2006 – 2011 he was Director of Drama at the Salzburg Festival, before that he was the leading dramaturg of the Schauspiel Bochum and Co-Director of the Schauspielhaus in Zurich. He wrote his doctoral thesis on Botho Strauß and co-founded and named the author’s collective «Theater Neuen Typs». He has written essays, plays and literature reviews.
September 18th, 2020, 5:30 pm
Cinema Toni, 3.G02 (level 3)