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Michael Green – a personal statement

 

In May 2004 I was meeting Michael Green for the first time. It was in Prag and there was a meeting of Theatrefestival-directors. It was a very fruitful meeting, because it was very small and we had a lot of time to know each other and to talk about different projects.

In Prag I made a lot of good contacts withe local theatre scene which lead to various projects in the following decade.

There I met also Ralph Würfel for the first time, who is now working in our theatre and then there was this man with the hat, probably he was wearing also Cowboy boots.

This open minded guy was really interested in our work. I remember the situation in the restaurant, where he was putting his powerbook on the table. It was tecnically the state of the art. (Later I understood that every Canadian artist has a powerbook or later a macbook pro and Michael was always using modern technology) He was showing a little group of people videos of his „Zappa“-performance, which he wanted to tour through Europe.

Probably we were Doppelgaenger, apart from the hat and the cowboyboots.

He had found his theatregroup in the same period as I did, he was working over years with the same people, developing an ensemble-work and a group of strong individuals like I did, he was interested in experimental work, researching an indipendent own style as I did, he was running an international theatre festival as I did.

This was bringing us close to each other. We understood everything which the other was talking about, as if we would have experienced it ourselves. And he was very emphatic with my special situation, because I had lost my wife some month ago (she was also a founder and a protagonist of Theaterlabor)and I had to find myself and rebuilt the theatre and Michael cared about me like an old friend.

I told him that we want to try to organize something in Europe. But in the end we failed. We were not able to bring a 20 persons spectacle to Europe, because we were not very well connected at that time.

Not so Michael

He was working to organize a tour for Theaterlabor in Canada. He convinced other presenters from Montreal, Toronto, Edmonton and Lethbridge to invite us, he applied for the money for our travel costs and he did it.

He was doing all this work (which he didn't charge us) to bring us to Canada just on the base of our meeting in Prag. He hadn't seen any performance of our group, not even the video of our show was ready when he startet to work on it. It was his intuition and the feeling from our first meeting.

Fortunately our tour was a success. We found a lot of open minded people, who were very interested in our way of work and we found the best public in the world for such weired work.

We invited One Yellow Rabbit several times to our „Festival 360°“ and we came on a second tour to Canada in 2011 performing on Michaels Festival „High Perfomance Rodeo“ again.

2012/13 Michael and me were working on the project „Doppelgaengers“. We wanted to see what happens, if we are exchanging our perfomances in another way.

First we translated the text of „Smash Cut Freeze“ (a OYR performance) into German, then my actors were learning the identical performance in the same set under the direction of Denise Clarke and played it in our theatre.

And we did the same with „Schlachtertango“. We transferred the play into English. OYR built the same set and Andy Curtis was performing it on the HPR in 2013.

Michael was always looking for new challenges, for new ways of implementing art in society. That was making him such a strong partner for me. Sitting together we had after minutes a package of new ideas, which we could work on.

I remember that we started a discussion about the Canadian relationship with the own history in 2009, because I was interested in the relation with the first nations. I had at that time the feeling, that the reflection of history specially of guiltiness was not so popular in Canada. I was asking Michael, if he would not like to create an intercultural theatre project with the First Nations. And he told me, that this was exactly what he was dreaming about since years, but he had not found the right situation yet.

In 2012 he was having the right frame and he started to work on the first meeting for the „Making Treaty 7“ - Project within the Cultral Capital of Canada.

He invited me to come to the meeting of the elders and I was working with him in 2013 on the project.

At that time one of the elders was becoming the second protagonist of MT7, Narcisse Blood. He was inviting us to the „Sundance“, was giving us a profund view in native history, was telling us so many stories and took care about us „white people“ that we did not disturb the rituals. There was for me another friendship growing, but also this was destroyed by the same terrible car accident. Michael and Narcisse were in the same car, because they were continuing the work of MT7.

In 2013 it was clear, that I could not direct the performance because we had a long time planned anniversary of our town Bielefeld (800 years) in September 2014.

Michael and Narcisse were making it, Blake did a great job (I could see it on the video) and so in September 2014 MT7 was a big success in Calgary while I was working on a big Open-Air-Performance with more than 500 participants on the biggest square in my hometown. One new experimental approach was for me to work on another time frame. I was constructing a seven-hours-performance and it worked for 8000 spectators very well (thanks to Narcisse and the Sundance which was teaching to me another perception of time).

For my sundanceparticipation, I told Michael, it would be complicated, because I would come with my autistic child, which would mean, that I cannot sleep in a tipi, but would need a RV to live in.

Renting an RV in summer was very expensive and with my son I would risk to destroy the interior. So Michael bought an old RV for us. He was taking care again and and did it.

He did it, like so many other things. Michael could also talk a lot, but he was one of few, who was putting words into action.

He did it simply.

There were a lot of open plans: the big MT7 Open-Air-Project, Michael coming to Bielefeld to direct a show with my actors (I was about to convince him to do so) and our next coming to the Rodeo in 2016 and a lot of ideas, which will never become reality.

I try to involve Michaels spirit in my future works and I hope that his ideas and influence in Canadian Culture will survive.

 

Siegmar Schröder

Zuletzt aktualisiert am Sonntag, den 15. Februar 2015 um 16:04 Uhr