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Radicalisation is a worldwide phenomenon, says Lutz Hubner, German playwright

During the three day-youth conference, Towards Peace, organised by Maharashtra Cultural Centre and Max Muller Bhavan, one of his notable play Paradies will be staged for the first time in Pune at Jyotnsa Bhole Sabhagruha and Max Muller Bhavan

pune Updated: Jul 14, 2019 17:13 IST
Prachi Bari
Prachi Bari
Hindustan Times, Pune
Pune,German,Max Muller Bhavan
German playwright Lutz Hubner (HT PHOTO)

Award-winning German playwright Lutz Hubner is known for his extensive and varied repertoire. Hubner is hailed as a contemporary dramatist. His play Frau Muller Muss Weg (Ms Muller Must Go) has been adapted into a movie. Other than his achievements inside the theatre, Hubner has also been a member of the jury of the Berlin Theatertreffen (a two-week theatre festival that takes place every year, during May in Berlin, Germany) in 2015.

In 2016, Hubner was awarded the Preis der Autoren der Frankfurter Autorenstiftung (prize of authors) by the Frankfurt Authors Foundation. His plays have been translated into over a dozen languages and are showcased across the world.

During the three day-youth conference, Towards Peace, organised by Maharashtra Cultural Centre and Max Muller Bhavan, one of his notable play Paradies will be staged for the first time in Pune at Jyotnsa Bhole Sabhagruha and Max Muller Bhavan.

The play Paradies shows how quickly a person is easily exploitable, under pressure through false promises. The story is of teenage, middle class, immigrant born and raised in Germany, who meets radicals, who in turn convince him that the disorientation he felt in life was due to lack of religion.

“It is about radicalisation. It is a specific story about a young guy, who joined ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) and is waiting in the night for a man he has been ordered to kill. We see his memories about his former girlfriend, his family, his ISIS brothers and fighters, who pressurise him and the play goes ahead to explore which side he decides to turn in his loyalty to,” said Hubner.

Radicalisation, in terms of nationalism and religion, is a worldwide phenomenon. He added that in Germany there has been a rise in the number of right radical skinheads and - in the Muslim community - of young guys who drift into Islamism. “There were a certain number of young people, who went to Syria to fight for the ISIS. What is it that motives youths into leaving behind their families behind, to go to war and die in the expectation to wake up in paradise? It is the search for adventure? Or being part of something bigger than you...that is, what we wanted to show.”

Speaking about the theatric connect with the youth, Huber says it begins at a young age in Germany. “German youth theatre is offered in school as part of the curriculum, and then we have discussions afterwards. So, there is a chance to talk with the kids about their attitude and opinions. The main characters in the play are young people, so they can identify with them. It is not pedagogic, it is about the chaos in a child’s head - and that is what unites all kids in the world. There is a time, where you don’t know which way to go.”

India has a long relationship with Germany in terms of theatre through German Grips Theatre and the Indian Children and Youth Theatre. “I met the Indian playwrights Vibhawari Deshpande and Shrirang Godbole for a first collaboration play in 2013, Paradies (and Y, the Indian play) is our second collaboration.

“It is enriching and inspiring to work together and to find out, where we have the same theatrical issues and where are the differences. The Marathi play was very successful, and the German audience appreciated the performances, I hope there will be many more chances to watch Marathi theatre in Germany,” said Lutz.

“My collaboration with Deshpande and Godbole worked well, as we have similar opinions in terms of theatre. Theatre writing plays that deal with political issues are always entertaining for the audience. Telling stories in a dialectical way and not as a pedagogical vehicle. For me it was (and still is) also important to have contact with the actors in Pune, having workshops with them, giving lectures and to discuss the social and political situation in our countries...to learn from each other. And to have that over a long time (six years now) means, that coming to Pune (with a play) means, coming to friends and a company I feel connected to. That is something precious for my work, so I’m sure, there will be other collaborations with Pune in the future,” he said.

First Published: Jul 14, 2019 17:11 IST