REVIEW: The Trojan Women – an Adaptation of Euripides’ Trōiades

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!

REVIEW: AnglistenTheater – Three Studies in Cruelty

by Adrian Flohé

via AnglistenTheater, © Baran Abosaeedi (image), Andreas Böhm (layout)

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.

The Popularity of Hamilton: An American Musical

Hamilton: An American Musical has been very successful as of today. While not being a hundred percent accurate to history, the musical tells the story of Alexander Hamilton, one of America’s founding fathers, and how he immigrated to America, made friends, married, joined the revolution as the right-hand man to George Washington, served as the first United States Secretary of the Treasury under Washington’s presidency, dealt with his affair and lastly, his deadly duel. The founding father is also known as the face of the 10-dollar bill.

There are multiple factors playing into the success of the musical, the most obvious being the style of music. Usually, musicals in theatres were rather classic, but Hamilton, written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, was one of the first plays to introduce a hybrid of hip-hop, rap, pop and jazz to the classic theatre in 2015. In 2015, this was not completely unknown, but rather unusual as none of these musicals had major success like Hamilton. However, it seemed to have paid off, as it integrated these music styles into the world of musical and are now more commonly used. Signalled by the use of hip-hop and rap, the target audience of Hamilton is not your ordinary, upper-middle-class (and above) family, but the youth.

Another way to attract the youth to musicals was Hamilton’s publication to the streaming platform Disney+ in July 2020. At this point, Hamilton was only being performed in the United States of America and the United Kingdom. The only other way to access the musical was either to solely listen to the soundtrack on streaming platforms like Spotify or to watch bootlegs on YouTube, which are not entirely legal and often of poor quality. With its publication on Disney+, the musical got more accessible to a variety of people and started to gain more success in other countries as well. It got so famous, that the play is currently being translated into German to be held in Hamburg in September 2022 (if the corona situation has calmed down by then).

Lastly, the musical is notoriously famous for its story-telling. It is not only telling the story of the founding father but the story is told by the American people. The Broadway cast is largely made up of actors who are African-American, Latinx, Chinese-American or of another marginalised ethnicities. While they tell what is called “white history”, the multiculturalism of the cast attracts people that feel represented by the musical and makes it interesting for people of many cultures. Yet again, this is seen as it is performed in Canada, Australia and, as mentioned before, currently being translated into German to perform, while being an “An American Musical”.

Author: Leonie Thomas

Garou, the Tragic Monster

Justice from the Point of View of an Antagonist

Being the strongest character is the ultimate goal for the protagonist of any Shōnen anime – but what if that ultimate power is also a curse?

The anime One Punch Man starts off by handing us a protagonist, Saitama, who’s already the strongest character in his universe. In fact, he’s so strong he can defeat any enemy with a single punch – hence the name. This power is his ultimate curse, as it leaves him bored and depressed. He simply doesn’t get excited about anything anymore. Now, my favorite character from One Punch Man is not Saitama, but Garou, a 19-year-old human with martial arts skills. Garou is not a friend of Saitama’s; he is, in fact, the exact opposite, an antagonist, who even calls himself a monster, despite being an ordinary human.

While Saitama is the protagonist of One Punch Man, every character has their own unique background story, circumstances, and motivation for what they’re doing, and Garou’s are what make him my favorite antagonist in all of anime history. His story starts as a little kid, when he’s playing with his classmates. Every kid has watched TV shows about heroes fighting bad guys, but Garou, unlike the other kids, is always rooting for the monsters, who get so close to defeating the heroes, but can never succeed. When playing with the other kids, he always plays the villain, and he gets bullied and beaten up in return. Whenever he stands up against a “hero”, other kids come and help that kid defeat Garou. In the light of these events, Garou decides that he wants to be different: he wants to be a monster that breaks the cycle of the heroes winning. He wants to become the ultimate monster that will defeat every hero.

Because he’s getting bullied and beaten, Garou quits school and joins a Martial Arts dojo run by S-Class heroes, who are the highest-ranked heroes on the fictional planet of Silverfang. He trains every day to become stronger and more powerful, but his Sensei has no idea about Garou’s actual intensions. When he turns 19, he realises that he can´t learn anything at the Dojo anymore, so he leaves. Before leaving, however, he defeats every other student and almost kills them all. Garou thinks he’s now ready to end the constant defeat of villains and monsters, so he declares war on the Hero Association. He defeats a few heroes with ease; however, many more follow and try to stop him. Although struggling, Garou manages to strike them down. Now, in most movies and TV shows, the villain first overpowers the hero(es) and comes really close to winning. In the last possible moment, the hero(es) get that one, critical extra boost of power through friendship or love and manage to hold their ground. With Garou, it’s the exact opposite: at the start of each battle, the heroes overpower him, and he needs to find some extra strength to defeat the heroes.

What’s interesting is that I found myself rooting for him every time, because to me, he feels more like a misunderstood hero. Even though he’s the antagonist of the anime’s actual main character, whenever he is on screen, he becomes the protagonist. After all, we’ve learned his backstory, seen fights from his perspective, heard his thoughts, know his ideas and anticipate his tricks. Those are all features usually reserved for the main character! So Garou is presented to the viewer as the protagonist, even though he is a villain. To me, that makes him the best antagonist in all of anime.

Author: Chris Schneider

The Brave Coward

Understanding Strength Through Usopp from One Piece

“Romance Dawn” is the title of One Piece’s first chapter published in July 1997. While One Piece tackles many different topics, themes, and ideas, at its core it’s a story about romance. By romance, I refer to the wider notion of romance, the feeling of excitement and mystery beyond everyday life, the longing of following one’s dreams. In its essence, One Piece is the ultimate romanticised pirate adventure. The world of One Piece is inhabited by sea monsters, giants, humans with superpowers, talking animals, angels, and self-proclaimed gods. Amidst all of that, there is also Usopp, the sniper of the Straw Hat Crew. He is a weakling, a coward, a liar and most of the time, a crybaby. The polar opposite of what a great pirate is supposed to be, right? Except that I think, he is one of the bravest and most powerful characters in the entire series.

While the Straw Hat Pirates all travel together, they each have individual dreams they strive for. In Usopp’s case, this entails becoming a brave warrior of the sea, similar to the giants he unwaveringly idolizes. The only problem: he is neither as physically strong as a warrior nor is he brave in the common sense of the word. In fact, he often hides behind his lies and comrades when facing a superior enemy. As their journey progresses, it is only natural for their enemies to get stronger as well. After barely avoiding a near-death situation on Long Ring Long Land trying to protect Robin, he recognises his uselessness. Usopp convinces himself that he, like their ship, won’t reach their final destination. He leaves the crew because he doesn’t want to drag them down. His understanding of strength is ignorant. Strength isn’t limited to physical power. As Sanji points out later, he should focus on what he can do. Through the persona of Sniper King, he uses his lies as a source of internal strength, allowing him to stand at his comrades’ side again. While his strength isn’t remarkable, his reach as a sniper is, allowing him to play a crucial part in Robin’s rescue. The idea of strength gets perfectly contrasted by Spandam, the antagonist of this story arc who fittingly gets defeated by Usopp. Spandam has no power of his own. He only wields power in the form of the buster call and CP9 members, representing everything Usopp doesn´t want to be.  

By understanding his weaknesses, Usopp gains new strength. However, his understanding of Sanji’s words remained incomplete until the Straw Hats reach the island of love and passion, Dressrosa. Once more, he finds himself facing the aftermath of his lies while being the only one who can still complete their mission to knock out Sugar and break the country’s distortion. Overwhelmed by his anxiety and guilt over betraying the Tontatta Tribe’s trust, he realizes the greater meaning behind Sanji’s advice. Not do what only you can do but do everything you can do. He understands that he can’t hide behind his mask forever, dropping it and his lies with it. Through honesty, he pulled off a miracle so great the people who witness it literally titled him God afterwards. This development in character is represented by his bounty poster changing from Sniper King to God Usopp. For him to achieve his dream and become a great warrior of the sea, he must become an honest one.

There are many lessons we can learn by examining the character of Usopp but for me, it is oddly comforting to see a character in this larger-than-life setting struggling with the same mundane things I struggle with on a daily basis: battling with and ultimately overcoming his nature even in the face of great adversity.

Author: Michael Felber

Should we all be feminists? – Or does that just mean hating men?

I am a 20-year-old woman and, until a couple years ago, I’d never been confronted with real- life inequality. And of course, in school I’d learnt a whole lot about problems like racism, gender inequality or lack of human rights. But I’d never witnessed anything that comes near those things. I’d never experienced different treatment because I’m a girl. And so, for a long time, I was convinced that, nowadays, people understood that every human being, no matter what gender, religion, skin color or origin they have, is equal. I thought that, after all we’ve learnt about slavery, oppression, and all the awful things that happened in the past, people would be smarter. Or at least more reflected.

Before I decided to write this article, I wasn’t a – trigger warning – Feminist. I was in fact annoyed of girls who called themselves Feminists because I didn’t understand what that was supposed to mean. I thought: “Why do I have to hate men just because I am a woman? Why should I stand up for one side, if that side is just as wrong and discriminatory as the other side?” I love shoes and lip gloss and dresses, but also sports and I like hanging out with my boys and girls on the weekend. So I couldn’t be a Feminist – I’m way too liberal for that, aren’t I? And I’m way too girly for that, right? Well, I started my research for this article by looking up the definition of the term “Feminism”: apparently, Feminism is ‘the belief in social, economic and political equality of the sexes.’ I was confused. That was exactly what I want and what I believe in. Such a reasonable attitude and movement! So how could I end up with such a bad opinion on Feminism?

Has “Feminism” become a swearword?

It turned out I wasn’t the only one associating ‘Feminism’ with negative terms like ‘man- hating’ and ‘reversed discrimination’. Way too many people have this dangerous half- knowledge or simply don’t see how ‘Feminism’ should fit into its definition. A male Anti- Feminist said: “There are way too many different shapes of feminism nowadays. It’s not simply about gender equality anymore, it’s also a distorted self-image of women who exploit the role of a victim”. Now I was angry. I couldn’t understand in what way women should be exploiting oppression. I felt furious – how could he, as a man, dare to talk so negatively about something he’d never had to experience? To get less respect, just because of his gender. I mean, my life had been cozy, too, but at least I was willing to get informed, right?

Wait, so men have feelings, too?

So I had a look at the statistics he mentioned and was shocked. For instance, in India, male suicide rates are nearly twice as high as rates for women. That’s because not only women suffer under gender prejudices. Maybe women are expected to be housewives and mothers, look pretty and shut up, to not take part in politics and economics and not have a real job or a career. On the other hand, many men feel they always have to be strong and successful; they have to be insensitive cavemen who earn the money and take care of their women and children. So men around the world are under this enormous pressure to never feel overwhelmed or sad, but to be ‘the man’ in the house.

Do we need new names?

The word ‘Feminism’ only contains reference to women. That’s because it used to be a movement to secure that women get to have the same rights as men, e.g. to vote or to work. And maybe in the past that reference to only women, to clarify that women are equal to men, was necessary – and easily understandable. But not anymore. There’s still a long way to go, there still are women who can’t decide for themselves and don’t have the rights we might enjoy in Germany. And for those women, we still have to fight. But while we fight for women’s equal rights in other cultures, we should not forget that feminism also means that men have the same rights as women. It’s not a shame to be vulnerable or shopping-addicted just because you’re a man. And it certainly doesn’t make you less manly. Just like women don’t want to be called less feminine because they’re athletic, men probably don’t want to have to prove their ‘masculinity’ all the time. And men should be allowed to get the same time for paternity leave as women get for maternity leave. Because – guess what – men love their children the same way women do. They deserve to spend the same amount of time with their kids as mothers do. So, yeah, I guess I am a Feminist after all. I believe in equality as well as I believe in individualism. In the future, Feminists of all genders will hopefully fight for men’s rights as well as for women’s rights. We can only hope that people stop valuing each other differently, just because of their gender. I hope that people once again start to work on their understanding of humanity and see that no one is worth less, because of their individual traits, be it gender, home country, religion or god knows what.

author: Kati Habisov

The Lighthouse – a Unique Masterpiece of Modern Cinema

Two lighthouse keepers are losing their sanity while being trapped on a faraway island. This is all I knew about the movie The Lighthouse before watching the actual trailer. Despite thinking I was all set up for watching the teaser, my mind still got blown as director Robert Eggers really takes the cake here! First, all you hear is the sound of a foghorn blaring while staring at a black screen and you get an instant claustrophobic feeling. Then, a black and white vintage shot of a lighthouse; Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe, who look like weather-beaten 19th century sailors, are gazing into the camera. I don’t want to reveal too much but what follows is an uproarious roller coaster ride of images as you see an ax-wielding psychopath, tentacles, an eerie mermaid and much more horror madness.  It leaves you puzzled as to what you have just seen and I can promise you one thing: you are hooked and intrigued right away!

They Did it Again: Psychological Horror at its Finest

If you decide to check out this flick, its imagery, setting and symbolism will be stamped in your mind long after you left your TV. Eggers’ psychological horror movie isn’t just more than worth seeing, it also breathes new life into an industry which has left us progressively with trite and dull movies over the past years.

With the film’s release in October 2019, it’s no surprise that no less studio than A24 is behind that project; a company which is well-known for highly renowned and well lauded productions of independent movies such as Midsommar (2019), Hereditary (2018) and Moonlight (2016). Just looking at these films, it’s almost certain that The Lighthouse  delivers what it promises.

“What’s a Timber Man Want with Being a Wickie?”- Disorientation as the Goal

Vaguely based on an unfinished short story by Edgar Allan Poe, the plot is set on a remote, storm-wrecked lighthouse in New England during the 19th century. Ephraim Winslow’s (Robert Pattinson’s)  adventure is to get underway as he decides to quit his job as a timberman and starts his first day working for a contentious, gross and elderly man named Thomas Wake (William Defoe) as he wants to learn the ropes of being a wickie (old term for lighthouse keeper). Wake orders Winslow around with daily annoying duties, while always making clear that he is at the helm. As he heads up to the lantern room, he forbids Winslow to ever go up there.  In the course of time, the audience can see how Winslow evolves, unveils his dark secrets and eventually dips into madness. He becomes obsessed with what happens at the top of the lighthouse and at some point, the viewer asks himself which one of the guys goes crazier and who’s still to trust.

It’s amazing how Robert Eggers has managed to make the film look so authentic. From a technical point of view, it was a brilliant idea to shoot the film in a gray 1.19:1 aspect ratio in order to magnify the dark, gloomy and claustrophobic atmosphere. The old-time sailor’s dialect of the actors is flawless and their sledgehammer performance did leave me speechless, for example, when Thomas spells a biblically, dramatic and few minutes long curse upon Winslow only because he was not fond of his lobster. All this provides an experience unlike anything you have seen before and makes the movie so unique.

What’s the Meaning?

The most enjoyable part for me personally is that there is no fixed interpretation or message behind the story. Intentionally, the gist of the movie remains blurry as there are many hints and signs unpretentiously hidden. One can surely find psychological, sexual and/or homoerotic themes; however, I was mostly amazed by the Greek mythical references as Winslow could be portrayed as Prometheus, the titan who got punished for stealing the fire from Zeus in order for mankind’s benefit. The light is seen as a metaphor for enlightenment such as, on a more straightforward level, the light of the lighthouse illuminates the night and guides the ships through darkness. 

A Timeless Film – Not for Everyone

Even though the movie satisfies my cinematic needs in every way, I do have to admit that it isn’t a film for everyone since some people could perceive it as too brutal or blend in its story. If you’re someone who rather aims for movies which are easier to digest and jollier, The Lighthouse wouldn’t particularly be the right choice for you. However, if you like extraordinary and artistic movies which pluck up the courage to try something new and even write a piece of film history with their exceptional style then go ahead with all sails set and watch the movie. You won’t regret it!

author: Mariana Silva Lindner