The new eMAG is out – grab your copy in front of the old Cafeteria (D building) between January 29 and February 2!
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.
We’re heading towards the forest on a muddy path. Four people, making their way through the quiet forest, carrying a wooden palette between us. Our destination is the marked-out route of the new highway A49. As we are walking, the dense forest suddenly opens up and a giant gap can be seen, where the clearing has already begun. As far as your eyes can see, there is nothing but cut down tree trunks, fallen leaves, branches and broken remains of the protests that have been fought there. We are walking away from the graveyard-like place towards the trees that are next on the route. One of us climbs up one of the trees using two loops around the tree which he strains alternately. As soon as a sufficient hight is reached he pulls up the wooden palette und ties it around the tree with some ropes to create a small platform. It’s around six o’clock in the morning as we are leaving the forest. Another group of activists passes us. They will now climb the trees and platforms such as the one we just hung up. They will wait for the police who will arrive between seven and eight o’clock and evacuate the activists from the trees. What’s the purpose of it all? To win time. Time for a forest that can only be cut down as long as there are no people occupying its trees. Time for a forest whose days are already counted.
The clearing of Dannenröder Forst started in October 2020. The forest needed to go since the space is needed for a giant car infrastructure project: the new highway A49. Ever since the decision was made many protestors got loud. Demonstrations and legal campaigns took place, but all that didn’t help to change the situation and people started to occupy the forest. They build tree houses, planned, and organized legal protest camps next to the forest and contributed their whole life to the project. But why are so many people giving up their lives and luxuries of their regular routine to move into a forest in the middle of winter?
Dannenröder Forst is a healthy mixed woodland, some of its trees being up to 300 years old. Nowadays this is not a common thing and together with the huge area it covers, it is very important for plants and animals. That is also why it is classified as a nature reserve. Through its massive size it is home to complex ecosystems, which will be destroyed if the forest is cut in half by a massive highway. Furthermore, the forest is located on a water protection area. The ground water beneath it provides thousands of people with clean drinking water. However, the water will get polluted when the forest is gone or through the building and even more so the usage of the new highway.
In the end the whole project shows us how we keep destroying natural habitats even in such dire times. It is no secret anymore that the climate crisis will become a huge problem even for western countries- and yet our government decided to sacrifice a forest that was able to store CO2, for an outdated piece of infrastructure, that produces further CO2.
The last tree of the main clearing in Dannenröder Forst fell on December 8th, 2020. Some people were aghast, some outraged, some were weeping. As the last tree house falls so do their hopes for a better future.
Author: Linda Ruchti
Augsburg Owls and the Bavarian League
Quidditch is a fast-paced and full-contact sport that combines elements of handball, rugby, dodgeball and flag football. A quidditch cadre can contain up to 21 players. 7 athletes per team are on the field at any one time. It is played in coed teams with nor more than three players of the same gender on the pitch during play.
In 2005, it made its way into the real world when students in Middlebury, USA, found a way to adapt the sport from the Harry Potter universe to a world without flying brooms then, both the sport itself and its community are growing tremendously.
Quidditch in Germany and Augsburg
In Germany, the sport has become increasingly popular as well, especially in recent years. There are over 40 teams registered with the German Quidditch Association (Deutscher Quidditch Bund) or in development. The local team in Augsburg is called Augsburg Owls. The team was founded in 2015 and remains Augsburg’s first and only Quidditch team to this day. Besides taking part in the annual Bavarian League, which is one of the six leagues throughout Germany, the greatest success of the team has been the qualification for the European Quidditch Cup 2020, which was postponed due to the Covid Pandemic and is expected to take place in Limerick, Ireland in 2022. Furthermore, the team managed to win the Bavarian Cup, which was first held last month.
How to participate
For interested and curious students, the Owls offer a starter course within the sports program of the University of Augsburg. Additionally, so-called “Newbie trainings” take place regularly at their home club FC Haunstetten. So, if you want to discover the sporting world of Harry Potter beyond the books and movies, check it out and have a try at handling quaffles, bludgers and brooms. Your real-life Quidditch experience is closer than you might think.
Author: Anja Volkwein
How individuals can fight food waste with Foodsharing
It happens to all of us. Whether we bought too much stuff and can’t eat it all before it goes bad or trying out that new dish that turns out to taste awful. We all throw out an unnecessarily high amount of food.
Some data upfront
Worldwide, a third of all edible food products ends up in the trash, around 1.3 billion tons every year(1). Here in Germany, it’s 18 million tons a year(2). A study estimated that, on average, around 527 kcal per capita are wasted each day (3), which translates to an additional 2 billion people that could be fed. I know what you’re thinking, how on earth are we even able to squander this much?
Reasons for wasting edible food
A huge chunk of crops doesn’t even make its way to the stores because it is sorted out for not living up to the strict standards that supermarkets have. That means, a ton of food is left to rot because the average Joe isn’t buying that apple with some brown spots on it. On their way onto the shelves, food products suffer from exposure to weather and delivery conditions. And since Joe wants the cheap apples from Spain and not the locally grown ones that cost more, they have to be brought all the way here, so some are bound to get damaged in the process. And finally, supermarkets must throw out products that are past their expiry date, therefore Beverages, dairy products, canned goods and stuff like rice and pasta that are perfectly fine to eat land in the trash container. It goes without saying that one individual cannot stop this deep-rooted problem and save us from this food waste mess – but what can you actually do to help, besides the obvious don’t throw away so much?
Foodsharing as an option to save edible food
There is this awesome internet platform called Foodsharing that set itself the goal to end food waste in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. 200,000 registered users contribute to the fight, and an estimated 7.8 million kilograms of food has been saved by the initiative already(4). So how does it work? Various supermarkets and bakeries that are part of the program give away edible goods to verified ‘Foodsavers’. To become one, you simply need to pass a test proving that you understand the dos and don’ts and you’re good to go. What’s making this whole thing even more attractive, especially to students or people in need, is that you save a lot of money in the process. You get to enjoy delicious food that you saved from landing in the trash and cut down your expenses on food, so that’s definitely a win-win in my book. I hope that I managed to generate some interest for this whole thing and maybe you will start saving food yourself. Together we can do something against this massive problem!
Author: Steven Degenkolbe
And who’s calling out cops over catcalls?
Augsburg’s kind of a small, quiet city – if you’re going to call it a city at all. Not the place you’d think globally received activism is happening. So when a local Instagram blog somewhere in the 500-like margin suddenly receives over 10,000 upvotes for a single post, is endorsed by a New York-based blog with almost 200,000 followers and reported on by the Süddeutsche, you know things are either going exceptionally well – or shit’s hit the fan.
Sorry, I live behind the moon. Come again?
We’re pretty sure you already have some basic idea of the issues we’re going to address in this article – and if you don’t, you might want to take a closer look at your social media habits. But let’s recap, shall we? Last Wednesday, December 09th 2020, a new post was uploaded to the Augsburg-based Instagram blog @catcallsofsaugsburg. As per usual, the photo showed a catcall, an unwanted sexual statement experienced by a woman. The perpetrator’s exact words had been written on the ground in chalk in the exact place where the catcall had happened – at a very central location, the Rathausplatz – by the activists behind @catcallsofaugsburg to raise awareness. They’ve been doing this for a while now, so what’s new? Well, as followers were informed in the caption, several police officers and fire fighters came up to the scene with a fire truck shortly after the writing had been created and flushed the whole thing away with a fire hose.
So what’s catcalling?
Catcalls entail sexually charged comments, loud whistles, or inappropriate touching, usually performed by men on passing women, (supposedly) gay men or trans people. They may be paired with discrimination of people with disabilities or – as was the case in our example – POC (People of Color), among other groups. The question why far too many men engage in this heavy-handed behavior comes up a lot. Now, there are a range of explanations: on the one hand, toxic masculinity still has a huge impact on our society and seems to lead men to all kinds of inappropriate behavior, even against better knowledge. On the other hand, women are still being sexually objectified to the point where catcalling is received as some sort of twisted compliment by some: “Don’t make such a fuss and be happy about it,” victims are often told. Er, no. Street harassment is everything but a compliment. A compliment is an expression of respect and affection.
Catcalling, on the other hand, is harassment that can instill fear. Some victims suffer long-lasting psychological wounds from it. It is a severe humiliation which imposes male dominance and superiority over women and minorities, often intended to make the victim feel powerless and out of control. Catcalling is a global problem; that’s why @catcallsofxyz blogs were created, a social feminist movement that originated in New York City and has spread from there to many cities around the world. By chalking up all the rude and inappropriate comments and incidents on the street these blogs provide a platform to those who are affected by street harassment – and initiate public debate.
Take this as the trigger warning of the century – it’s getting ugly!
There had been another, earlier post published on @catcallsofaugsburg two days before – i.e. on Monday, December 7th. It showed the fire truck in action and was followed by a few paragraphs of explanatory text in the description. Apparently, passers-by had called the police because the writing was irritating them. Now, it did include some very nasty words, was evidently sexist and even contained a racial slur. However, judging from the actual photo that was uploaded two days later, the purpose should have been more than obvious all along. The writing included an anti-racist hashtag, the name of the blog and a huge trigger warning at a very prominent position. The word fuck and the n-word were both censored, using asterisks. Evidently not the kind of lengths you’d go to if you were just a sexist Neo-Nazi trying to make people feel bad, right?
To some, it wasn’t that evident. According to @catcallsofaugsburg’s Instagram captions, a climate activist camping nearby had to inform the police about the purpose of the writing and the movement behind it. Still, they proceeded to call several colleagues and, since said activist refused to remove the writing (not sure why that should have been his job in the first place), the firefighters. So far, so exaggerated. Since this kind of media attention can be very uncomfortable even to an anonymous victim and create further trauma, @catcallsaugsburg got back to the person that had experienced the catcall and made sure they still wanted it published. Two days later, the actual photo was uploaded. As of now, both posts have been liked several thousand times. Seems fair to say a lot of people don’t agree with the procedure, including, for instance, the slightly more popular @catcallsofnyc. So where’s the problem?
Mistakes were made…
Now, there seem to be several dimensions to this event, and it’s probably safe to say that more than a few people were implicated in one way or another. First off, there’s the passers-by. Let’s take a walk in their shoes, shall we? You’re walking past some writing on the ground, now you’re stopping to read it, oh look! Profanity, sexist language, a racial slur… Irritating for sure, we’ll give you that. But you’d probably read the whole thing, wouldn’t you? At least if you’re going to call the police over it, right? Do that, and you’ll find out: there’s a trigger warning. Words have been censored. An anti-racist hashtag has been added. An Instagram blog has been tagged. There’s zero immediate danger to you, so why not get out your phone for a bare minimum of research first, if you’re still not getting it? Same goes for the involved police officers, who had been informed about the purpose of the whole thing. It’s very clearly feminist activism; that should be easy enough to understand.
Of course, that’s the nice way of reading it, assuming there was zero bad will, only lack of information and poor judgment. But there’s another, more uncomfortable reasoning: maybe some passers-by simply couldn’t stand being confronted with the discrimination that women and POC face daily and felt they couldn’t just ignore the whole thing and move on. Maybe they didn’t like the idea of victims speaking up. Maybe cracks were starting to form in their bubble, but they wouldn’t allow it to burst. Why get informed about discrimination and, crazy suggestion, learn something from it, when you could just shoot the messenger instead? Better call the police and have them remove all traces of the traumatic event you‘ve just had to endure, right? Luckily, they’re ready to help.
… followed by more mistakes…
And then, of course, what’s up with three police cars and a fire truck? If you’re just going to remove chalk – crazy suggestion: use a bucket of water, not a fire truck. Literal kids use these things on asphalt or concrete, and they’re gone with the first drop of rain. So are we talking about a waste of taxpayers’ money? Yeah, but there’s also the attention a fire truck in front of the town hall’s going to create – meaning there’s the danger of attracting additional bystanders, apart from the overly large number of officers and firefighters already involved in the whole affair. All of these people will end up spending an unnecessarily long time huddled together in a mask-only zone, while a pandemic’s going on. All of that, just to show some presence? Totally worth it. A victim goes through all the original trauma of an unwanted encounter, risks bringing it all up again by contacting anti-catcalling activists, tries to make a statement by sharing their story… and then, that statement’s literally going down the gutter, because some bystander who’s probably never had to endure any of this themselves is feeling uneasy. By removing the chalk, the perpetrators are not only protected; the victims are also actively deprived of their voices! What a slap in the face.
…. and they couldn’t leave it at that, either.
And here come slaps no. 2 & 3: a reply by the police and an official statement by Augsburg’s mayor Eva Weber that are visible on @catcallsofaugsburg. Now, it was to be expected a police statement would be supportive of the police, and it’s a fairly polite and informative message overall – which is precisely why the final paragraph sticks out like a sore thumb: “the incident quoted in the writing – should it actually have taken place as described – constitutes a criminal offense that we […] would like to follow up on.” What’s with the relativization? Is that some sort of police language, some (clumsy) way of avoiding a premature assignment of guilt to a suspect who’s not yet been proven guilty? As in calling someone a suspect instead culprit to make sure everybody gets a fair trial? But there’s no suspect anyway, and there’s nothing premature in saying a “quoted incident” constitutes a crime. Calling it a quoted incident already implies you’re working with what you’ve heard, really. Why be so upfront in saying there’s (major) doubts about the truthfulness of a report that was never even filed? Could that be a cover-up for the fact that hardly any catcaller is ever punished or even identified? And by the way, maybe victims would feel safer reporting offenses if you weren’t eliminating their public statements.
It’s also a crying shame that Eva Weber didn’t have in her to dissociate herself decisively and vigorously from the police’s behavior in her official statement. Instead, she only fed the press with a half-baked statement that’ll, ultimately, change nothing. She also didn’t drop a single remark about the racial slur being used, only referring to respect for women in very general terms. Unfortunately, this further proves how too many politicians and government institutions are losing their grip on our reality and the current, modern problems of our communities.
Did we mention mistakes?
What a double standard: We can protect our concrete from chalk but can’t protect victims from catcalling. We pay attention to the sensibilities of bystanders but not to victims when they speak out. What’s up with that? If we want to address this mismatch, we need social movements like catcallsofxyz! We need people to start taking the stories seriously as well as paying attention and listening to them. It goes without saying that the solution of this problem is not reinforcing public police presence or implementing short-sighted laws. The source of the problem is deeply rooted in society: the patriarchy – you knew it had to come up somewhere. We must disintegrate harmful structural and constitutional thinking patterns by developing media and public education initiatives to change attitudes and behaviors. We need to publicly demonstrate intolerance for sexual harassment of all kinds. And we shouldn’t have to waste time justifying our anger and our activism!
A huge thanks to the activists behind @catcallsofaugsburg. You really are the cats that won’t cop down. Keep up the amazing work (that we all wish you didn’t have to do)!
Authors: Niklas Schmidt & Mariana Silva Lindner