Nationaltheater Mannheim Visibility Campaign 2023

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01 August 2023

Mannheim / Germany

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The Whale - Trailer

In an interview, the writer Amitav Gosh said that one of art's major problems was that it mostly deals with individual fates and is received individually by the audience. Climate change, on the other hand, affects humanity as a community and calls on it to act together. These thoughts gave rise to the desire to develop a participatory music theatre work that focuses on the collectivity of the problem, both in terms of content and form. 

The Whale takes as its basis the true incident of a sperm whale that died on a beach in Oregon in 1970 and was subsequently blown up by the authorities. As a parable, this incident is meant to stand for the way we deal with natural impacts and catastrophes and, in particular, to draw attention to climate change. Although the public would like to rely on technological solutions in this regard, a transformation of individual consciousness is required to achieve a sustainable impact. What could have been done differently to avoid blowing up the whale as a short-sighted emergency solution? 

In each performance, the audience, acting as a "crisis team", is to influence the plot by playing the plot through play forms and votes. This participatory format, which allows everyone to have a say, is intended above all to appeal to schoolchildren. They can get to know the music theatre and playfully exchange ideas about the most urgent problem of our time. 

In addition, the play is intended to reach an audience far removed from the theatre in their familiar surroundings, thus offering an unfamiliar way of dealing with the topic. The project will support the development of the work of four young emerging musicians and singers, coordinated by the young composer Alexander Schweiß. 

Find out more about Nationaltheater Mannheim's project by watching the video below.


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