Category Archives: 10.11.2014

Speaking about Speaking Out

Speaking of marginalized and dominant discourses, the latter being (naturally) overwhelmingly present on Sunday, on Monday we got a presentation of a theater project which aims at giving a voice to those who were excluded from the national euphoria in the early ’90s.

There is a good chance that Nai Wen’s perspective as someone who came to Germany as an adult helped her to ask the questions and get the answers which the performance project she presented is based on. Working with techniques of the Theatre of the Oppressed, and Brechtian alienation effects, on the site of the well-established memorial site Bernauer Straße, her original project combines multiple dimensions of a de-colonial, subversive approach to history:

By generating a script from interviews with contemporary witnesses, people from the margins of German society are given the opportunity to speak out, and a sense of authenticity is generated.
By using the, sometimes graphic, overacting and alienation techniques, this sense is smashed to pieces, and the individual experience is genera
By acting on-site, starting off with the traditional format of a guided tour around an official memorial site, official discourse is at the same time challenged and
interacted with.
By leaving it to visitors themselves to figure out who and what is part of the play, individual involvement is encouraged.

For me, this performance project stands out as an example of creative, dynamic, and engaging approaches to deal with history. Especially when dealing with people who are neither very fond of “traditional” ways of learning about history, e.g. books and museums, nor represented in official discourses, I imagine projects like this are potential “gateways” to generate interest in historic events in general.

Nai Wen’s presentation was, unfortunately, very disappointing. Some short clips, and then a workshop in Theatre of the Oppressed, or just more room for questions, might have allowed (me) a deeper understanding of her work, and prevented exhaustion!

Artistic Pedagogical Methods

A: Nai Wen’s input was extremely valuable, as it both offered  a video material that very thoughtfully gave voice to non-hegemonic perspectives about the fall of the Wall in 1989 and an explicit account of the “We are the play” project. I would like to try out invisible theatre as a method for encouraging people to remember and communicate memories about a political event. Before realizing that the men and women initially generating rememberance are actors, people would connect to the memory and verbalize it.

A little bit about invisible theater here:


Today was the day when we heard a theoretical part of different kind of workshops. Firstly, we had a presentation about perspectives of former East Berlin migrants at the GDR and post GDR discourses. This lecture I found valuable, because I couldn’t imagine how it felt to be “free” when the wall fell. There still were many boarders for the minoritys. And the lecture helped me to know more about the social statuses and migrants posinions in the early united Germany. Secondly, we have presented the places we have visited on the event day ( the fall of the Berlin wall aniversary).We showed pictures, videos and told our impresions and what does this event mean to us. It was a bit hard, because it was very emocional sometimes. Finally, we had and Anti Bias worshop. It tought us about negative side of stereotypes. I liked that workshop alot, because it helped me to realise in what kind of stereotypical world I’m living.


Mostly today was a theoreticalal day.I got a lots of useful,interesting and new information and I think I’ll use those knownoledges during my life.As for me the most interesting part was at the evening,when were talking about “anti-bias” it was all new to me,so I was really fond of it and also making a research about stereotypes in  small groups was interesting