Teatralnoe dvizene Dveri, 17.10.2014, Minsk
Text by Katia Karpitskaya
Translation: Irina Goroshko
By Multicultural City (Berlin)
What can you know about a war, girl? 22 years old, born after the USSR collapse?
From where can you learn about a war, girl?
From books, newspapers, twitter, stories of grandmothers and grandfathers. Although the latter don’t really like to remember their burned childhood-boyhood-youth.
You can know from a theater.
The international performance “Displaced Women”, played by three actresses from Poland, Belarus and Germany, is a symbiosis of several works: “The Unwomanly Face of War” by Svetlana Alexievich, “Anonyma. A Woman in Berlin”, and “Berlin. Memories of polish forced laborers from the capital of the Third Reich in den Jahren 1939–1945”.
When working with the war topic, in my opinion, the worst is to become pathetic. Everybody knows that a war is bad, except for the small group of “commited” people, for whom a war is the only way of reaching their goals.
But the performance is not pathetic. It is simple in acting, props, and the musical design. Really, why does one need a military orchestra if an accordion and drums are better story-tellers, although quieter?
Why to embellish the Soviet military nurse if she was dirty and disheveled?
Well, she didn’t have time for herself in the war.
The actresses Svetlana Anikej, Monika Dawidziuk, Anna Poetter so easily again and again transform into new characters: a sniper, a raped German woman, a Polish forced laborer… But you understand that behind this is a hard work. And is it possible to act the war without feeling it with the skin?
Definitely, an exaggerated dramatic acting in this case would be excessive. That is why I am very grateful to Monika Dobrowlanska and the team for not acting these stories.
The stories seem to be told by your grandmother. The chorus of different voices with totally different destinies is falling on you and unbearably pushing. Only the understanding that you are in the theatre and it will end in an hour helps. But they didn’t see the end of the happening, which was crushing and breaking everything around, first of all them.
The favorite red scarf and sweets – such details completed the picture of the women’s war and coexisted with brutal guns-bullets-tanks. Such little things helped to save the female essence when the person had be half beast. Otherwise one won’t survive. Love also helped. It could have been difficult without it after the war.
A war has neither a female face, nor male. Neither kind, but nor totally evil (there were reasons for smiles and joys too). The face of a war is diverse, but it is not attractive at all.
When after the performance one of the spectators is trying to understand “why do you need performances about a war because the young girls should think about guys but not about a war”, I remember the phrase which I just heard half an hour ago, “people forget unbelievably fast what is hunger and roam”.
The performances are probably needed not to forget, because in 1939 people forgot. And in 1914 they also forgot. And nowadays they still suffer from memory lapses.
Oh look – we’ve nonetheless have become a little bit pathetic.