:bsz international. Last weekend the play “Pornography” was performed on the Studiobühne. On the occasion of frequent terrorist attacks in Europe, director Dr. Niklas Füllner showed with his positive ending that social cohesion can remain, even in hard times.
„Pornography“ is not – how one could assume – the title of a play about pornography, but about the terrorist attacks of Islamist suicide bombers in London on July 7, 2005. Three other events that took place on this day or the day before are repeatedly mentioned in the play by Simon Stephens: The G8 summit in Auchterarder near Perth in Scotland, the “Live 8” concert „Make Poverty History“ in Hyde Park and the bid for the Olympic Games 2012 in London. The director Dr. Niklas Füllner led at the Musischen Zentrum. This production was part of the Optionalbereichsmodul “English Drama in Action”.
Stephens‘ protagonists, played by eight actors from various faculties at the RUB, are Londoners of different social backgrounds as well as of different ages and sexes. The play focuses on their lives the week before and on the day of the attacks. Füllner decided to show the play in form of four monologues and two dialogues, unlike the premiere of Sebastian Nübling. Between the scenes he broadcasts the biographies of the real victims by a beamer.
One scene of the play shows a worried wife who will never see her husband again. The next scene shows an half-Italian who has identity problems. After that Füllner decided to show the inbreeding of two characters. „Liverpool Street is white with sugar and pace and desire. Smoke blue, blood red, ghost white”, is the reaction of a business mother who was on the way to her work at scene four. In the penultimate scene, the viewer sees a date that does not end peacefully. The man tries to strip his guest‘s clothes off and is rejected. At last an old woman rings at the door of people who organize a barbecue party in their garden.
She asks for a piece of chicken – and she gets it. But the house owner forbids her to enter his house. Is this Stephens‘ call for us to be kind? Or a farewell to human compassion? Füllner finished the play, with all the characters on the stage meet to eat together. Even the audience was asked to join the meal. In his plays, Stephens wants to bring people the message that everyone should be more human.
The play lasts over two hours and you feel it clearly. While Nübling focuses in the premiere on the acting, Füllner is concentrating on the text.
Who is Stephens?
Simon Stephens, born in 1971, is one of the most famous contemporary English playwrights. In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, Stephens has explained the title of his play with a reference to the
symptomatic character of pornography for the contemporary consumerism: „It‘s the story of the bombers‘ action in an alienation from the people were going to kill and from themselves. This seemed to be a symptom of a consumerist culture. And objectification so sits under the production and consumption of pornography. I think we‘re living in pornographic times.“ In this way of understanding, all the characters of the play act „Pornography“ by treating – and in different ways – themselves and others as mere objects.
„Pornography“ was premiered on June 15, 2007 at the Schauspiel Hannover in co-production with the Festival Theaterformen and the German Schauspielhaus Hamburg by Sebastian Nübling.