RC German news . . . RC 2006 Artists in Residence from Germany: Element 3 . . . RC Deutsches Theater 20th anniversary performance (April 2005). . . RC German Cultures in Dialogue course with trips to Berlin. . . Did somebody say: "RC Deutsches Theater reunion? . . . RC Dt. Theater Spring Break '07 and '08 trips to Munich. . . RC German ISAC Award for Berlin

RC German is alive and well! A report that gets updated when we have time!...by Janet H. Shier
last updateFeb. 1,2009. (scroll down or click here for the latest...)

In 2005, RC Deutsches Theater celebrated the 20th anniversary of its birth in 1985! (Ach Mensch!) That meant that the company was a year older than its youngest cast members! (Oha!). Our 2005 production (funded by the Goethe Institut Chicago & some generous RC Alumni [Danke]) had an all-star cast, made up of veteran actors and some new recruits. It also involved children from the community in the "smaller" roles, so to speak. Eight students from the cast also went with me to Munich over Spring Break to live and breathe theater and the arts. In Munich, I led a one-day image theater workshop for RC Dt. Theater students and international students in Munich (from Eastern Europe, African and Arab countries), using texts about war. Doing scenework with students from places like Bosnia and Iraq was a great experience. Even our first-year German student who was on the trip kept up with the best of them, in terms of understanding the German of the texts we were using since we approached these in our usual Dt. Theater style (physical work first, then interpretation). Our group managed a few local excursions by day (Don't ask me how!) and theater every single night (It amounted to 10 plays. . . A week is longer in Germany than in the States!)

Our 2006 show grew out of a Cultures in Dialogue course taught by Olga Lopez Cotin (RC Spanish program) and myself. It featured scenes, stories, songs, and poetry presented in German, Spanish, and English. Some of you may remember my Spanish skills (??) and vocabulary (Pobrecito--sp?). I somehow managed to coach and direct a few Spanish scenes (and we're pretty sure that the Spanish students learned more German from me than Spanish). The goal of the performance was to raise awareness of immigration issues and also to get the cast and audience members thinking about the attitudes towards minority populations.

The entire Cultures in Dialogue class went to Granada Spain and Berlin in May, where we were able to witness firsthand what we had studied in the classroom, and what we had probed further on stage. The trip was funded, for the most part, by the U-M Office of International Programs. The Residential College remains committed to its language proficiency requirement and the RC still is a great community, within which to develop good, thoughtful, and caring global citizens.

From these pictures (taken in Berlin) you may recognize RC Dt. Alumna Carol Scherer (R), who is the Resident Director of the Lexia International Study Abroad Program in Berlin. Carol was one of our tour guides and also connected me with great Berlin faculty who led some of our tours. (She said that it was meaningful to her to be able to "pay back" to the RC, which she credits as giving her a great foundation for her thinking and her work today.) There were 15 students on this trip, which incidentally was the 9th university subsidized RC German trip since 2000. (See information on earlier trips led by Karein Goertz [RC German] or by myself by exploring this web site further!) Our goal is to find a way to get every RC German student to Germany to put language learning in its most meaningful context!

In Fall, 2006, RC Dt. Theater sponsored German hip hop artists-in-residence for a full week, thanks to generous housing offers from local RC professors, students, and alumni. The project which was focused on two films by German documentary film maker Margarethe Mehring Fuchs ("Between Rap and Ramadan", and "The Jews Drawer") was funded by the Residential College, Arts at Michigan (through a Public Goods Award), Screen Arts and Culture, and the Language Resource Center. It was also made possible by a fundraising effort by an RC Deutsches Theater fundraiser, selling RC DT Alumnus, Peter Shin's beautiful U-M vintage calendars. Element 3's visit energized campus and Ann Arbor! Having these young artists here for a full week gave many people the opportunity to get to know them, to discuss issues raised in the films about young Jews and young Muslims in Germany today, and to compare attitudes and issues and how these play out in Germany and the US.

Explore this web site for lots of information about the Element 3 Artists-in-Residence project, see photos, and read the article in the recent RC News. Read an article about the RC visit, as it appeared in the German Press! Süddte. Zeitung and in the Freiburg magazine Chili (auf Deutsch) Visit soon to see a short video clip from the RC performance.

The 2007 RC Deutsches Theater performance featured several veteran actors who were in the company between 1-4 years (d. h. Sie sind talentiert!) Every student in the Play Production seminar had travelled to Germany to witness theater first-hand, including twelve students who accompanied me on a Spring Break 2007 theater trip to Munich, the sixth such theater trip in as many years (Theater, Oper, Kunst, oh my!) I do solemnly promise to get some pictures up here, but you can already see some on our FACEBOOK site. Incidentally, if you haven't joined that yet. . . (hint, hint)

We are grateful for the support we've had through grants and curricular support. The possibility of linking course work with creative work and trips to witness theater first-hand, as well as the opportunity to work with experts such as Hanna Rieken, our German diction and speech coach, and Michael Lee, our movement coach, has raised our level of performance to new levels. Our shows have all been sponsored by the Goethe Institut Chicago (Goethe sei Dank--for generous funding for almost 20 years!) and by generous RC Alumni (Danke!!) and this year, it promises to be great (Mar.30-April1, 2007)!

Apropos DT alumni!. . . We dedicated the 2007 show to over 300 RC Dt. Theater alumni without whose efforts and experimentation we would not exist today. There was a slide show of photos (and music) from past performances to honor you.

And DT Alumni (Achtung!) at the RC 40th reunion in Oct. 2007 took part in a DT Workshop, where we did some Image Theater and had a lot of fun! We had representatives from the 1990s and early 2000s (what's that called?) years of DT, working with current students! (And so now we really want to do an intergenerational project and possibly a theater trip for DT alumni!)

We now have a DT Alumni web page where you will eventually be able to catch a glimpse of your younger self performing auf Deutsch! and you will be able to connect with DT classmates. We'll have some German program and Dt. Theater gatherings and celebrations at the 40th Reunion. And we've begun to get more great photos from older DT shows up online--but there are so darned many!!!

News updatets from 2007-2008...another good year with great students! ERSTENS: We sponsored a Klezmer/Jazz concert with artists Paul Brody and Daniel Kahn (an RC Alumnus) from Berlin 2008 which somebody (and it was really not us!) posted to Youtube; ZWEITENS: guest professor Esther Wipfler, an Art Historian from Munich, taught a Readings seminar on Medieval Culture for us; DRITTENS: Nine students participated in the RC German Spring Break Theater trip to Munich. Check it out! Several of them were able to receive funding, thanks to generous donations to the Residential College by the Don and June Brown "Students in the World" endowment and a loud DANKE to RC DT Alum, Peter Shin, who (through his publishing company, Asgard Press, provided us with our vintage U-M calendars for fundraising, and a third one (in English) to RC Alum Marty Scott, whose Art Gallery in Petoskey, the Northern Michigan Artists Market, sells only art by local Northern Michigan Artists (while simultaneously helping support RC German students' theater education in Munich by selling our fundraiser calendars). EIN RIESIG GROSSES DANKE SCHÖN AN ALLE!

VIERTENS: The year ended with a bang with our annual German Theater production, an ambitious black light staging of Nacht mit Gästen and a hilarious return to comedy with the staging of Jelinek's Ballade von Drei Wichigen Männern sowie dem Personenkreis um sie herum. These were two of our most popular performances to date and we got to present parts of them at a small gig held by LSA in April in the new Life Sciences Bldg. For pictures of these, please visit the RC Deutsches Theater Facebook site. (You don't even have to be a registered member of FACEBOOK to see our pictures, but you can join our group and get updates and see our pretty pictures if you DO join!)

And coming in Winter 2009! RC German received an ISAC award from the Office of International Programs for the proposal: Crossing Borders: The "Wall" and the "Wall in the Head". This allowed me to develop a new course on identity issues in Germany, which I'm teaching right now (!) in Winter 2009 and also in Winter 2010. Students in the course are all traveling to Berlin for a two week immersion in May. Planning for the study trip is well underway and it promises to be a fantastic learning experience. You can help fund a student's participation by buying a calendar from us this Fall or by sending a donation to the Residential College. Don't forget to make it clear that you are donating to RC Deutsches Theater. We're hoping that those of you who have traveled with DT in the past, will remember us fondly. Even $15 will buy a theater ticket and a light meal for a student.
For those of you who are having trouble reading the extremely small print , the signs say "BERLIN" and "DANKE!". . .

Please stay posted for updates to this page.

Schöne Grüsse! Janet

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