German Campus Week
Event date to be determined
Monday, November 14th at 5:30 PM, Fed Ex Building Rm 1009
A Conversation with Afro-German Playwright Olivia Wenzel with clips from her plays "Corn in Germany and Other Galaxies" and "We are the Universe"
Olivia Wenzel was born in 1985 in Weimar. She studied Kulturwissenschaften and aesthetic praxis at the Uni Hildesheim. She writes plays and prose and lives and works in Berlin. Her plays have been performed at the Ballhaus Naunynstrasse Theater in Berlin and the Thalia Theater in Hamburg. She is also working on a new play that will premiere at the Gorki Theater in Berlin next March. I have DVDs of her Afrofuturist plays “Mais in Deutschland und anderen Galaxien” (2015) and “We are the Universe” (2016) if anyone would like to see them. “Mais in Deutschland” centers around two key figures: Susanne and her son Noah. As a teenager growing up in the GDR, Susanne was unhappy with its stifling culture. She devised a plan of escape by having a child with George, a visiting Angolan student. She had hoped that after George returned home, the state would allow her to relocate there in order to reunite the family. But before she could leave, some of her friends betrayed her plans to the state and subsequently her request to emigrate was denied. Thus, Susanne found herself stuck in the GDR with her black son Noah, racially insensitive parents and no future prospects. The play follows Noah and Susanne’s lives, after reunification, in a non-linear fashion, jumping around in time. It also features a comic book narrative within the play; the comic book “Mais in Deutschland und anderen Galaxien,” is a text Noah writes which portrays him driving his mother to a launch pad for a free trip to space. The play has several fantastical, arguably Afrofuturist elements, including space travel and a giant, talking dog. I also have a pdf of the script for “Mais in Deutschland,” if anyone wants to read it. “We are the Universe” is centered more on performance and doesn’t have an actual script. It is another space-themed play which relies heavily on the music and philosophy of jazz artist Sun Ra.