11, 13/05 – 20:30

12/05 – 15:00

DE > FR / NL


For some years now, the predominantly female group of Berlin performers She She Pop have made a name for themselves internationally with a theatre that has something of a shared moment in life about it, using real-life experience to tackle the universal. In their latest creation, Schubladen (“Drawers”), they examine a page in European history that is still making itself felt: the division of Germany after the war. On stage are six women born on either side of the Wall. They take memories out of their drawers: letters, private diaries, photos, records… Weaving a profoundly human story, this autobiographical material exposes the ideological divide between the two Germanies. Honestly and accurately, the women seek to understand who they were then and what they have become. Has reunification stifled diversity? More than a manifestation of Ostalgie, Schubladen is the polyphonic and subjective narration of a nation at the heart of Europe in a performance that will bring the walls tumbling down!

She She Pop

By & with
Sebastian Bark, Johanna Freiburg, Barbara Gronau, Annett Gröschner, Fanni Halmburger, Alexandra Lachmann, Katharina Lorenz, Lisa Lucassen, Mieke Matzke, Peggy Mädler, Ilia Papatheodorou, Wenke Seemann, Berit Stumpf & Nina Tecklenburg

Cast in Brussels
Peggy Mädler & Ilia Papatheodorou, Alexandra Lachmann & Mieke Matzke, Katharina Lorenz & Lisa Lucassen

Dramaturgical advice
Kaja Jakstat

Coordination & assistance
Veronika Steininger

Sandra Fox

Lea Søvsø

Sven Nichterlein

Florian Fischer

Sandra Fox, Branka Pavlovic

Second assistant
Eilika Leibold, Anja Predeick

Subtitles & translation
KITA/David Maß & Erik Borgman

Production & PR
ehrliche arbeit

Tour management
Xenia Leydel

Company management
Elke Weber

Thanks to
Anja Dürrschmidt & Marion Müller-Roth

Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Zinnema

She She Pop (Berlin)

Hebbel am Ufer/HAU (Berlin), Kampnagel (Hamburg), FFT (Düsseldorf), brut Wien

Funded by
City of Berlin, City of Hamburg, Fonds Darstellende Künste

Performance in Brussels supported by
Goethe-Institut Brüssel

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In Schubladen ('Drawers') She She Pop - women from what used to be West Germany - meet their contemporaries from what used to be East Germany in order to embrace one another as sisters. Twenty years after this major event, they resolve to get close to one another again - together they belatedly show "reunification" as relationship building live on stage. It is about understanding their own biography within the context of historical movements. On the one hand this means identifying how they themselves have been marked by family, political system, ideology and individual experience. How have I become the person/the woman that I am? But it also means gaining a better understanding of the part they themselves have played in what they have become. What were the most important decisions in my life?

The performers also use autobiographical material from their own "drawers". Letters, diary excerpts and other documents are sorted into rough chronological order, along with each person's internal picture library and music archives. A multi-voiced and profoundly subjective chronicle of East-West German history is told live, substantiated by private or publicly accessible text sources, recited from memory, alongside or against the great world views. The stage becomes a place for utopian dialogue.

"August 1961, a girl is at Magdeburg Central Station to buy a ticket to Leverkusen. She wants to go and meet her friends who work in the chemical industry just like her. The train stops in Berlin for five minutes. Suddenly a boy arrives at the station holding a bunch of 25 roses which have cost him seven frozen chickens from the cold-storage room of his research institute. "Don't go," he says. "Will you marry me?" The girl is overwhelmed and everybody is staring at her. She accepts the roses but asks for some time to think about it. Meanwhile, the train leaves. The following day the boy receives help from the state. Berlin's sector borders are closed, barbed wire fences are put up and in the end the Wall is built. This September my parents will be celebrating their golden wedding anniversary. I might be wrong, Johanna, but I really think that without the Wall, I wouldn't be here today."
Annett Gröschner, Schubladen team, during rehearsals in January 2012

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She She Pop is a performance collective founded in the late 1990s by graduates of the Applied Theatre Studies programme in Gießen. Its members are Sebastian Bark, Johanna Freiburg, Fanni Halmburger, Lisa Lucassen, Mieke Matzke, Ilia Papatheodorou and Berit Stumpf. Elke Weber manages the company office at Mariannenplatz in Berlin. For She She Pop, the stage is a space where decisions are made, various forms of dialogue and social systems are tested, and grand gestures and social rituals are learnt or discarded. She She Pop sees its mission as exploring the social boundaries of communication – and transgressing them in a purposeful and artistic way in the protected theatrical space. She She Pop has a specific aesthetic and ideological profile. Their shows are developed as a collective. There is no director – but also no author or actors. Texts and concepts are developed together. Their understanding of performance simultaneously emphasises the artistic responsibility of each and every performer. Authorship is therefore less an individual achievement and more an answer to the question of who is responsible for the text, the action taking place at that moment on stage. It is hoped that individual decisions made on stage, as well as the glory and failure of performance, are more comprehensible and relevant for the audience against this backdrop. Aside from the individual shows – but also in the best parts of every performance – their artistic work as a collective is defined as its most fatal and greatest challenge. They are not actors. Instead, they give themselves and others interesting tasks to fulfil and solve them in public on stage. All the performers develop their own perspective of the material based on their personal horizon of experience. This is interpreted by some as autobiographical theatre. However, references made to their own lives are actually a method and not the content of their work. They condense their personal material into a recognisable artistic strategy and stylised exemplary positions. What is familiar becomes foreign, monstrous. Lately, this also works the other way around: in some of their recent shows, they have adapted well-known monstrous texts from the literary canon using this same autobiographical method. She She Pop is a female collective. The existence of male members and collaborators has little influence on this fact. This may also be the reason why issues such as the ability and inability to act, constellations of the gaze and structures of power are inseparably linked to their work. The act of presenting themselves to an audience as a group of (mainly) women – of all things – is for them something that they reflect on time and again and observe both on and behind the stage. Their form of theatre is experimental. In other words, it explores the basic principles of theatrical communication. In every show, they make new agreements between the performers and the audience – and this is precisely what they consider to be their art. To achieve this, She She Pop often reconstructs familiar, everyday scenarios in which entertainment and enlightenment lie side by side, often alarmingly. Their audiences encounter them for example in the brightly lit circle of an encounter group, in the ballroom, around a bonfire, at a candle-lit blind date, on the catwalk or in an improvised sports arena. The ping-pong between participation and withdrawal, control and escalation, non-compliance and devotion often shapes the dramaturgy of an evening with She She Pop. However, individualised interactions with members of the audience no longer play a role in recent She She Pop pieces, but this does not mean that the audience does not assume a concrete role in the show or have a specific function. In their own way, all She She Pop pieces are experimental set-ups or a line of argumentation which would be null and void without witnesses.

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