by Georg Seidel
"We know a lot, but we don’t know what would break out if everyone began to break out."
Today Georg Seidel is considered to be one of the most important playwrights to come out of the former East Germany. At the time he penned his works he had the reputation of being an agitator, whose writing was viewed as politically subversive. East Germany’s cultural bureaucrats did their best to hinder his success. Seidel started working at the Deutsches Theater in the mid 1970s – first as a lighting technician, then as a dramaturgical assistant. It was here that his plays came into being. They were critical examinations of social developments in an East Germany that was gradually coming unravelled, characterized by resignation and growing personal isolation. In 'Jochen Schanotta', Seidel tells the story of a young man whose utopian potential is increasingly lost, who is painfully torn between rebellion and conformity. Even if the political system has changed, feelings of social alienation and isolation, as well as the threat of a breakdown of social order, remain as relevant as ever. What would happen if everybody began to leave? What would break out if everyone began to break out?
December 18, 2011