by Daniela Firescu – Ramuri magazine, no.10/2014
A project in collaboration - ʺMarin Sorescuʺ National Theatre Craiova, State Theater of Braunschweig and werkgruppe2
Started within a program of the European Theatre Convention, ʺThe Art of Ageingʺ Strawberries and Orphans / Erdbeerwaisen collapses in the documentary theater, a space where artistic tools & techniques are used for and with different expectations - not to produce subtle mutations in the perception of the spectator, but to bring into debate a social problem while presenting their own version of the events. In the documentary theater, ʺdramaturgy of the realʺ (in the conceptualization of Carol Martin), art can be objective, and the actor/performer can be a person and not a character, a part in the classical acceptation of the term, applied in the dramatization procedure also applied in the dramatization performed by Julia Roesler. (...)
There are stories that reveal the true state of a widespread phenomenon - the exodus of seasonal workers, generically called ʺstrawberry pickersʺ, and especially the side effects: family disintegration, extreme situations, childhood without parents, material compensation, suffering, sadness, dissimulation. ʺWe are a happy family.ʺ is the conclusion of the first episode. There is a pattern in almost all stories related, a monologue which introduces the family drama, with digressions/confessions, a public denudation develops gradually. (...)
The episode of the two brothers is played naturally by Sven Hönig and Oliver Simon, perhaps the most convincing piece performed by the two German actors, nothing is ʺlost in translationʺ. (...)
Interesting is the option for the two cases presented - the grandmothers as feminine protecting presences, a matriarchal view on the family proves to be only a circumstance solution: lamentations, mourning of the woman living in the countryside, confused, overwhelmed (Gina Călinoiu makes a very suggestive translation between grandmother and girl) or the aggressive grandmother who says bluntly, ʺI started to get to the limitʺ. In all this madness, words are not enough, the music is a more effective means of outpouring, but all the songs reflect concretely breaking the harmony, sung false, incongruous, cried, most evidently in the song I would give up on life and you, in the two interpretations: Oliver Simon, quietly, almost intimidated, Gina Călinoiu - hard-bitten, desperate. (...)
The theater of the real is an inexhaustible source in this topic of orphans, where concealment is generalized ʺeverything is/will be fineʺ. Parents wearing cheerful, optimistic masks, where an eye is crying and the other is laughing, because (although ignored in the show), the parents’ leave (when it’s not overly extended) has a positive dimension, there is a restoring of the individual dignity, of the possibility to support one’s family - an idea best grounded on Gabriela Baciu’s performance, a speech of defeat (...), a scene that resists and stands due to the force, the intuition of the interpretation, rather than due to the script, which in most episodes prefers to stay at a documentary level, but in this context, the purpose is not the aesthetic, but the impact / the ʺaesthetic shockʺ.