Alles ist Material

20 Years of “Postdramatic Theatre”

Twenty years ago Hans-Thies Lehmann brought the concept of “postdramatic theatre” to an international audience with his book by the same name. It’s about a non-hierarchical theatrical practice of contemporary performance, combined with collective authorship and an understanding of material that takes for granted an equivalence among aesthetic means. On the anniversary of the publication HAU is showing both new and by now canonic works that are particularly committed to this practice. Aenne Quiñones describes the concept in this way: 

“Postdramatic theatre is not a special path, but an independent art form linked with a specific practice. While conventional theatre traditionally focusses on an existing work and its interpretation by a director in the centre, here it is about a different understanding of authorship in general. Artistic strategies become available for use over and over again. Not only in terms of the working methods of the artists involved, but also with regard to the material that they develop together.” 

On the anniversary of the publication of Lehmann’s book, HAU is showing both new and by now canonical works associated with this practice, including the performance “PLAYBLACK” by Joana Tischkau, about representation and Black German experience, the performance classic “Quizoola!” by Forced Entertainment, “Dancing About”, the first dance piece by Gob Squad and the premiere of “Kanon”: Along with selected guests from the Berlin independent scene and the audience, She She Pop propose a canon of moments experienced in the performing arts over the past 30 years from memory – a performance between ritual, revue and collective historiography. In “the continuous activity of living people” – half essay, half personal reflection – Tim Etchells, a member of the group Forced Entertainment, provides a differentiated view to the world of the postdramatic.