arriving in hamburg

Friday morning. The Hamburg sky turns into a cloudy mist and the rain falls mercilessly on the roof of the Thalia Theater. Somewhere heavy metal doors fall into the lock and the bang breaks the monotony of the water drops at the window. You can hear it: a sound floats in the air, sung from a single throat. After a while, a harmony settles over it, perhaps a third. Other voices begin somewhere above or in between, and you hear a knock, punctually interrupted by a snap. The harmonies swell again and again and are briefly embellished by higher or lower interjections or cut by unexpected rhythms. Suddenly the cool summer storm air seems promising and tastes of anticipation and presentation.
The time has come: after two years of Miss Rona putting hurdles in our way, the very last one is easy to clear: sticks in the nose and off we go. YouPerform 2022, an international gathering of forty young people aged 14 to 20 who have travelled from Amsterdam, Budapest, Vire, Dresden, Frankfurt, Berlin and Hamburg to show each other the performances they have created in their home cities. They will get into conversation with each other and collectively develop a performance together on stage.

On this blog we would like to tell you about the exciting days ahead of us on the Studiobühne of the Thalia Theater in the Gaußstrasse. We, that is Carla, Emilie and Flo. We play in various projects of the Junges Deutsches Theater Berlin ourselves and get to spend the festival having one foot on the workshop stages and the other in social media coverage. And it is precisely on such a stage that the day begins today.
The goal of our time here is to learn new theatre craft in workshops and to grow beyond ourselves in shared explorations. For the next six days, we ourselves will become the anchor for our sensibilities, the rehearsal stage an island of encounter.

"Are you cracking your spaghetti? What is your dream? What are you afraid of?", in the morning workshop, all participants get to know each other. We lie on the floor of the rehearsal stage and are asked to come up with three unusual questions to ask eachother. Laying on the parquet, it's no longer the questions in our heads that are scurrying around, but our bodies. We find ourselves through random eye contact and talking to each other in pairs then giving surprising answers,"so, yes I do crack my spaghetti". The English can be a bit broken, but that doesn't stop us from breaking out of our comfort zone. We're being guided by strangers with our eyes closed, are dancing to piano sounds. All the other exercises that follow are characterised above all by their common intensity: Bodies begin to speak when words don't.
After a midday snack, we are picked up by our tour guide Silviu Garbain in Altona, who, as a real Hamburger, takes us a little over, under and along the Elbe. First we look at the city from the balcony of the Elbphilharmonie on Möwenhöhe, before we go to the other extreme and cross the almost half-kilometre-long tunnel under the Elbe. After looking at the city from all sides, however, we practically wanted to get inside and took the ferry to Oevegönne and got to feel some more sandy beach. With the view on the wide water we can't help but feel that the days ahead really are going to be an adventure.

text by carla pugnat, flo rieder & emilie willner

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