Accepted paper:

Radical collaborations in insurgent theatre: the intertwining of actors and activists in Die Asyl-Monologe

Author:

Fazila Bhimji (University of Central Lancashire)

Paper short abstract:

This paper traces collaborations between actors, refugee activists and political groups and the consequences and meanings of these collaborations in the context of a two and a half year long running performance about refugee politics in Germany.

Paper long abstract:

This paper traces collaborations between actors and refugee activists and the meanings of these collaborations in the context of a two and a half year performance about refugee politics in Germany. Three actors relate the testimonies of three individuals who arrived to Germany as refugees. Asyl-Monologe continues to be performed in avant-garde theatres, in demonstrations in solidarity with refugee activists, schools, churches, and universities across Germany. Following the performance, Q&A sessions led by activists as well as by individuals whose stories are told by the actors are held with the audience. I understand these practices between the theatre company and refugee activists as radical acts since collaborative and intimate relations are forged between the actors who represent reality and the activists who live the reality itself -leading to what Jaques Ranciere's terms as 'dissensus' -a conflict between a sensory presentation and a way of making sense of it-so that 'dissensus' resides at the heart of politics. In this way, such collaborations in spaces where the boundaries between political action and performative-art become elusive need to be understood as radical. The paper in particular explores the tensions, intimacies between actors and activists as well as ideological shifts for actors. The paper will additionally focus on ways I situate and position myself within this particular theatre company in Germany. Data are drawn on participant-observation, viewing of three performances of Asyl-Monologe, in-depth interviews of the director and actors in the play, an intern, and conversations with refugee activists.

panel IP07
Radical collaborations: a relational approach to social transformation