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HOWL
Ein Abend für Allen Ginsberg

Drama
German with English surtitles

Großes Haus
Premiere 21.11.19

1.

American poet Allen Ginsberg was a passionate photographer and, like many well-known street photographers of his generation gathered images and associations of the America visible to them according to their own aesthetics – such as Lee Friedlander, Garry Winogrand and Robert Frank, Ginsberg's famous poem Howl is full of a mass of associations, private and universal clues that are difficult and easy to decipher, snapshots of moments of awareness. At almost the same time Howl was released, Robert Frank published his photo book The Americans and thereby transformed not only the path of photography in the 20th century but also perspectives on America. In the images that he made in 1955/1956, Frank looked under the surface of American life: he portrayed a people plagued by racism, that was condemned by its politicians and appeared to be congealing completely through a growing consumer culture. At the edges of American life, a new kind of beauty was emerging and Frank's intuitive style made his book into a powerful and provocative poem.

Whoever does not like poetry, go home, watch television with large images of cowboys with big hats being well treated by kind horses.
Jack Kerouac

2.

A little book titled Howl and other Poems was released in 1956 in San Francisco as the young poet Allen Ginsberg's first publication in the City Lights Books Pocket Poets series and was immediately subjected to an obscenity trial, which ended with a historical affirmation of the individual freedom of art and creative expression. Ever since, the poem Howl has been the spearhead of poetic freedom, an attack on every form of conformity, a holy relic of the desire for freedom and outsider status, in short: the poem that fundamentally changed American society and slid its periphery into the centre of focus. What else should we expect of literature? “The appeal in “Howl” is to the secret or hermetic tradition of art ‘justifying’ or ‘making up for’ defeat in worldly life…. In publishing “Howl,” I was curious to leave behind after my generation an emotional time bomb that would continue exploding inside U.S. consciousness in case our military-industrial-nationalist complex solidified into a repressive police bureaucracy.” so Ginsberg.

Crazy highway driving people forward– crazy highway, solitary, driving along bends in the entrances of space ...”
Jack Kerouac

3.

GATE GATE PARAGATE PARASAMGATE BODHI SVAHA

Music played a major role in Allen Ginsberg's life and work, he worked with groups like Bob Dylan and The Clash, he inspired Patty Smith in the creation of some of her songs, but he mostly played on a small harmonium and sang along. In the second half of his life, Ginsberg became a devout Buddhist. In 1979 he played a concert in a Munich loft and concluded the evening with a harmonium version of the Heart Sutra. This mantra is at the core of a concentrated teaching; whoever recites it with devotion many times is supposed to internalise the essence of the teaching of emptiness and be strengthened in the process of sinking deeper and deeper into inner emptiness and silence. After his death in New York on 5 April 1997, Ginsberg spent an additional three days on the Earth as soul and spirit and then, with this mantra, was released into the infinity of the cosmos. He was curious to know what death looked like.... and it looks like life - what else should it look like? - because Ginsberg knew what the Sutras say.

How is all of that connected to each other?

We will see...

Cast
With: Hassan Akkouch, Hendrik Arnst, Thorbjörn Björnsson, Paul Brody, Jan Czajkowski, Jill Emerson, Marie Goyette, Silvia Rieger, Sarah Maria Sander, Sir Henry, Theo Trebs, Yuka Yanagihara

Director: David Marton
Stage design: Christian Friedländer
Costumes: Tabea Braun
Choreography: Jill Emerson
Lighting: Henning Streck
Dramaturgy: Peggy Mädler, Henning Nass

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