Audience Reactions

An interview with Anna Scherer from Landestheater Burghofbühne Dinslaken.

FTH:K’s What Goes Up…, directed by Jayne Batzofin, is a gentle and playful piece that uses South African Sign Language to explore “the physical and emotional scopes of all things Up and Down”. Having been created for deaf and hearing impaired children, it was a delight to also see hearing children in the audience being swept up in, and thoroughly entertained by, the magic of this Production.

After the Performance, I chatted with Anna Scherer (a member of the audience and Head of Theatrefor Young Audiences & Theatre Pedagogy at Landestheater Burghofbühne Dinslaken, Germany)  about what she thought of the production and of the Cradle as a whole.

Josephine Lane [Dialogue] (JL): What did you think of ‘What Goes Up…’?

Anna Scherer (AS): I liked it very much. I watched the audience and I could see how much they appreciated and loved it.

The two actresses were just so passionate. There was so much love.

I also thought the stories they told weren’t just bright and funny but also had a lot of sadness and it was just beautiful. I liked the ideas and how they were placed.

JL: And what was the most memorable thing about the show?

AS: There were two things.

Before the show, the actresses talked to the Children and it didn’t look like work for them.

They looked like they really enjoyed it. Then I think the moment when they were playing with the little rabbit, there was empathy for it. I really liked this moment.

JL: Is there anything else you’ve seen at the Cradle that you liked?

AS: There have been lots of things. I really liked Spirit Songs – the Actors were from the townships. I think there were forty people on the stage. It was really great, it was so passionate and the energy was great and they were so honest. I also liked Pim and Theo. It really touched me. I was overwhelmed with feelings when I left. The good thing about it was you couldn’t decide who was right. It was about freedom of speech and it asked the question: would you be willing to die for freedom of speech? It made you think about things.

JL: How would you sum up your experience at the Cradle of Creativity?

AS: When it comes to the artistic stuff, I’ve seen lots of African shows and I’ve realised that they use different aesthetics. At first, there were things I didn’t like so much because of the different humour. They have a way of mixing humour and serious subjects and I didn’t feel able to commit because of this but then I started to appreciate the energy and great work. They are very precise on stage, that’s what I Iiked. It also made me get rid of my strict opinions of how a play should be. The other thing is the clash of richness and poverty, which I experienced here a lot. I went to the townships.

Seeing how great people are here and with how much love they are doing their jobs has been wonderful, and the urgency of acting and doing Theatre.

There is urgency in Germany, too, but it’s a different kind. To see what Theatre can do here and what it means for people.

JL: And what does it mean for people, in your opinion?

AS: Liberty. And the possibility of being seen and having your wishes and needs being seen and being able to be happy and free and what you want to do without pressure. To show political issues and to stand up for or against things.