The new magazine is out! Drop by and pick up your copy outside the alte Cafete this week or check it out right here!
by Johanna Back
This is the title of the play under which the AnglistenTheater performs their newest production on Thursday 29th June, Friday 30th June, Tuesday 4th July, Thirsday 6th July. You can attend this capturing drama in Hörsaal II, starting at 7:30 pm each day. The performance lasts for about 60 minutes and stars capturing emotions, intense and musically accompanied dialogs, as well as a perspective on the loss of women after wars.
The Trojan Women
The Trojan War is over, many Trojan men have died, leaving wives without husbands, sisters without brothers, and mothers without sons. Amongst these women is their queen Hecuba, wife to the king Priamos, leading a group of women and children taken to the shores of the Aegean Sea, awaiting their fate to be traded off as the trophies of the victorious Greeks.
Gradually, Helena, the seeress Cassandra, and finally Andromache, Hector’s wife, arrive on the beach with his young son Astyanax in the circle of women, while in the background the conquered city completely burns down and gets destroyed by the soaring flames.
A Little Bit of Background on the Drama
The Trojan War was a ten-year long war of the Greeks against the citizens of the city Troy. The was triggered because the Prince of Troy, Paris, kidnapped the Queen of Sparta, called Helen. Her husband’s brother, King Agamemnon, took this kidnapping as an opportunity to attack the city with his army to invade the city and expand the territory of the Mycenean Greeks. At one point the Greeks were on the verge of losing the war because they were low on resources, caused by the longevity of the war and the Greeks not being able to conquer the city. But they then recalled on the plan of building a wooden horse, to get soldiers inside of the city walls. They offered this horse as a gift to the Trojan citizens. This deceit helped the Greeks to the opportunity of intruding the city unnoticed. They then invaded the city at night, murdered a lot of people and set the city on fire to finally destroy it.
This is the situation of when the drama starts. If you want to know how the story continues, you should go and watch the play.
I Watched It and This Is My Own Opinion
To start this off, I have to say that I was impressed by the performance of the actors and actresses. They poured all their heart into the performances and really brought the characters to life. The atmosphere of the drama is capturing from the start, and you can just immerse yourself in the story that’s told because the setting is really intimate since the stage is close to the audience. This intimacy also aids the audience to experience and feel the deep emotions of the characters portrait by the actresses and actors.
As far as language is concerned, I have to say that I did not have a hard time understanding the plot and the conversations on stage. However, the vocabulary used throughout the monologues and dialogues is rather sophisticated, so keep that in mind. But also, don’t be scared of it, because it suits the atmosphere of the drama well.
My favorite scene is towards the end. The scene was so intense, and the actors were so immersed in their characters, that the intense emotions even brought tears to my eyes and almost made me cry. If you want to know which scene in particular I am talking about you should go and see the drama of the Trojan women. I highly recommend it!
by Adrian Flohé
Under this motto, the AnglistenTheater performs three short dramas on three consecutive days at the very end of November. This month on the 28th, 29th, and the 30th, you can attend 3 fantastic plays right here in the Sensemble theatre in Augsburg. The performance starts at 08:30 pm every day and deals with the topic of intimidation, violence, political repression, and terror within 90 minutes.
Harold Pinter, Mountain Language
The four short scenes of Harold Pinter’s “Mountain Language” are set in an authoritarian country where mountain dwellers are forbidden to use their own language, where prisoners are mistreated and visiting women and mothers are harassed and molested with impunity.
Samuel Beckett, What Where and Catastrophe
In contrast to the realist mode of Pinter’s “Mountain Language”, Beckett’s short one-act plays “What Where” and “Catastrophe” – a play first performed in 1982 and dedicated to the imprisoned Vaclav Havel – are abstract, stylized parables that confront the audience with a world in which the unquestioning dressing down of people is enacted by mercilessly autocratic impresarios.
As a neat bonus, some pictures by Baran Abosaeedi, who created the image used on the posters, flyers, and tickets, will be shown in a slide show in the intermission, and you will even be able to meet Baran at the premiere on the 28th of November.
I Watched It and This Is My Opinion
First of all, I was impressed of how compact the Sensemble theatre is because I was used to the dimensions of Munich’s theatre scene. But it wasn’t something that seemed like a bad thing to me at all, it rather flattered the general mood and after an extremely kind reception, the atmosphere invited for some drinks at the bar where people were already chatting to relaxed lounge music.
When the play started I was amazed by how they managed to include certain light effects in order to illustrate a curtain, to set focus of certain spots and to change the general mood of the performance.
I was accompanied by a non-English student and was worried about the level of English spoken at first but it turned out to be pretty understandable and everyday English so that no problems of understanding came up.
In the 20 minute break after roughly 30 minutes of play, a slideshow about impressive pieces of art was shown. These drawings were underlined by texts describing the disturbing situation of what the three studies in cruelty made a subject of discussion. And being able to recap the first act after a fairly short amount of time, makes this a very beginner friendly theatre play in general, they even included some humorous parts without taking the serosity out of the subject.
The last two acts were more abstract but by no means less worth seeing. My personal favourite was the very last act where the actors even broke the 3rd dimension and made auditorium their stage.
All in all, it has been a very worthwhile experience for me and my partner and she even called it a piece that finally brings up the important issues, similar as we already know it from popular celebrities such as Joko Winterscheidt and Klaas Heufer-Umlauf and their recent actions.
So, Make Sure Not to Miss Your Chance
And if you did, no worries, there will be an intensive rehearsal week between March 26 and March 31/April 1 in 2023 in Sion, Switzerland. Or maybe you’re even interested in joining the team and performing yourself, in this case make sure to keep the 17th of January free and attend their general meeting right at our university.
Thursday, June 23, 2022. Gleeful anticipation. Finally, the German Federal Parliament announces what should be as sweet as honey in the ears of all students: The Federal Education and Training Assistance Act (in German: BAföG), which enables students to finance their education, is to be reformed and amended for the 27th time! But what does this mean?
In order to assist students in times of increasing inflation, monthly funding rates are now to rise from 427 to 452 euros. Additionally, rent subsidy for students living on their own will increase up to 360 euros. This means that the maximum funding rate a student possibly can receive jumps to a whopping 934 euros per month. But that’s not all – a one-off heating subsidy is also promised.
Well, that sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? The Federal Minister of Education and Research, Bettina Stark-Watzinger, refers to the new reform as an “encouraging trend reversal”. So, does the reformation really deliver what it promises, namely helping particularly low-income students during times of increasing prices? Spoiler alert: not really. At second glance, the so-called reformation turns out to be a real drop in the ocean.
It’s Not Enough!
First of all, one has to give credit to the government for recognizing the problems which many students are currently facing. However, what is the point of this putative help if it fails to keep its promise?
A spike in food and fuel prices, as well as spiraling heating costs hit particularly students with very low monthly income with full force. With an inflation at almost 8 percent, students will hardly feel the impact of the increased BAföG rate. Eventually, it’s only a compensation, not an increase in funding.
In addition, politicians seem to be oblivious to a severe problem, which affects students in big cities in particular: the massive surge in rental prices. Times are long gone where students had to pay little for a big room in a shared flat. Nowadays, we are talking about an average rent of 4 until 500, in Munich even 780 euros ! And it gets even worse: students who are no longer covered by family insurance and, therefore, have to come up for the student health insurance themselves will face a hefty surplus in their contribution rate in 2023. So, with all the numbers on the table, one can only realize that the calculation doesn’t add up.
Denial of Reality Par Excellence ?
It almost resembles a farce if one takes a closer look at the BAföG’s guiding principle: “a state social benefit designed to enable everyone, regardless of their social and economic situation, to pursue an education that matches their abilities and interests.”
This reads well on paper, however, an alarming study by the Joint Welfare Association1 revealed that 1/3 of all students are actually living in poverty! Fueled by inflation, with an average income of 800 euros, social participation becomes less and less possible and many students either fall into debt or see themselves forced to drop out of their studies due to financial reasons. This is the reality that we live in.
It seems, however, that the typical stereotype of students who have less money but a lot of spare time, lying back and relaxing is still manifested in our brains. We have to become aware that living in permanent existential fear doesn’t make for a good academic who contributes to society in the future.
When recapitulating this situation, one cannot help but notice clear parallels to the anthem of the Great Depression “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime” by Gorney and Harburg. The song reveals how Americans, who worked hard in order to pursue the American Dream, find themselves abandoned by their government. Deeply in despair, they feel the harsh consequences of the economic collapse. Back then, people were urged to find “honest work” in order to rebuild their nation – nowadays, we are told to go study and educate ourselves in order to contribute to society.
Certainly, our situation is not as drastic as back then – students don’t have to stand in line begging for a loaf of bread, thank God. But it still feels like having to beg for every penny in hope of receiving funding that actually helps in the current situation. So, I ask again with my hands held out: Dear BAföG, can you spare a dime?
1 source: https://www.der-paritaetische.de/alle-meldungen/armut-im-studium-30-prozent-aller-studierenden-leben-in-armut/
Author: Mariana Silva Lindner
In pop culture, the best compliment a male fictional character or celebrity could get last summer was to be “written by a woman”. Gen Z calls it the female gaze and is using it as a compliment for fictional characters or the image that the media portrays of public people.
The media calls it the female gaze and it describes the point of view of people other than cisgender men and how they perceive it. But the female gaze can also be a feminist approach according to Laura Mulvey’s theory and its counterpart, the male gaze. Through the female gaze, the focus lies on what is felt or how is something understood. In contrast, the male gaze focuses on what is shown. It shows the limited male view and how certain men perceive the world as their stage and movie at the same time.
Judging between women
The male gaze shows the perspective of heterosexual men in arts and literature. Therefore, it is objectifying women and only focusing on their sex appeal. In short, they are objects of desire. For example, female characters in action movies have no depth in character, like Megan Fox in the Transformer movies. She plays the role of Mikaela Banks, a smart girl that knows a lot about cars. But instead of showing the character’s mechanic-like skills, the viewers only saw the actress in revealing clothes. Other examples can be found in certain video games, stereotypical action movies and music videos, such as Perra by J Balvin or Taste by Tyga as they use female bodies as props. Women are used to satisfy the male audience.
Growing up in a world that supports and fuels this perspective, women feel the need to look sexy all the time. They put themselves under pressure to look perfect, even when there are no men around. Some women feel accomplished if they are desired by men; this creates a subliminal competition between women.
The rise of the pretty boys
Written by a man, means you as a woman are seen as super sexy by heterosexual males.
The female gaze is a new approach to portray characters, not only by women but also by people who are trans and/or nonbinary.
The female gaze was created to show the beauty in femininity and not focus on the body only.
In general, the female gaze doesn’t represent hyper-masculinity to show attractive men. Softer-looking men are becoming popular. The alternative standard of aggressive men with sizzled bodies, like the actors in Magic Mike, for example, is slowly worn out. Softer and gender-nonconforming men are more popular among women. A reason for that could be that women tend to feel safer with innocent-looking guys and less threatening men are seen as more reliable than hypermasculine ones. This new hype is often not really understood by some people.
Effects on young people and our society
One should consider that many young people spend a lot of time reading books, watching movies and listening to music. They get inspired by and also learn from them, consciously as well as unconsciously. Because of that, they develop a perception of the world based on what they see and read. People tend to base their self-esteem on how well they fit the standards and their ultimate goal is to be desired by their preferred gender.
On this ground, both of these gazes can be pretty blunt and harsh dynamics and lead to hurt young people. For example, men don’t have to either be soft-looking or super masculine and women don’t have to act sexy to be seen.
In addition to that, there is no way to fit into both standards and it forces us to put people into boxes. Our whole existence turns into a performance for someone else’s perspective.
Author: Lea Isler
Do we need to cancel cancel culture?
In this day and age, the idea of getting cancelled is something a lot of us have heard of, especially people who use social media. It seems as if there’s always someone who needs to be canceled. But what does that really mean?
The idea behind cancelling someone is that primarily celebrities or other public figures such as politicians get held accountable if they say or do something offensive. You can, of course, also “cancel” someone who isn’t famous, like a friend who has caused you offence, but the main idea of cancel culture is to effectively end the career of a well-known person and/or revoke them of their status because they did something offensive. This happens either through boycott or disciplinary actions, like firing someone. If you look at it like that, cancelling someone seems like a good way to achieve more social justice. It gives power to the people who have been harmed and can also serve as a way of combatting the major power imbalances between the public and public figures with far-reaching platforms and audiences.
However, there’s also lots of criticism regarding this topic. Especially more conservative politicians have voiced their concerns. They think that cancelling someone is nothing more than the attempt of a furious mob to silence others who might have something important to say. Then-President Trump for example described cancel culture as a political weapon which demands total submission from anyone who disagrees with the overall opinion of the wide public. He even stated that he thinks of it as a “growing danger that threatens every blessing our ancestors fought for so hard”.
But in reality, it actually takes a lot to end someone’s career and there are very few people who truly have been canceled. Some might have had to experience periods of time where they had to face more or less momentous criticism, but most of the time cancelled people won’t be cancelled forever. Some even come back stronger than before because they gained fame from it. Louis CK, a very famous comedian, got cancelled because he sexually intimidated multiple women. That, in fact, really seems like something you should be declared “over” for. Even though to some extent his career has been impacted negatively, he still has been nominated for a Grammy afterwards and it surprisingly even looks like these incidents found him a new audience.
Regardless, there are also people who fear getting cancelled. They are afraid to communicate their real feelings and opinions which can also be problematic. We are fortunately privileged enough to have the right of free speech in our country. Some say that cancel culture infringes on that right. In a functioning democracy people need to be willing to hear one another out even if they disagree, but we need to be aware that free speech does not include racism, homophobia, sexism or any other kind of violence.
Author: Christina Bello