Theatre

Knowing the environment, through a ‘modern fairy tale’

Kai Meister (left) and Stefanie Siebers   | Photo Credit: Harikumar J S

Change is constant, but would the same hold water for climate too? If yes, then it’s doubtlessly not without dire consequences. German theatre group Die Mimosen’s children’s play Josephine und die Brüder des Windes (Josephine and the Brothers of the Wind) attempts to lay bare some home truths about how man’s avarice eventually puts the planet in peril through a story on climate change. But it may not be a one-way ticket after all, only if “we stuck together” as proved by Josephine.

Billed as “a modern fairy tale”, the environmental play has been penned and performed by Kai Meister and Stefanie Siebers of Die Mimosen. “Josephine and the Brothers of the Wind puts four elements – water, wind, fire and earth – in focus in the modern context to explore how each one is inextricably linked to the other in protecting and sustaining not just the nature, but man as well. But, ironically, its man who upsets the natural equilibrium,” says Kai, an environmentalist.

Stefanie plays the titular character, while Kai “shapeshifts” to essay various roles as that of Wind, Fire, Water, a conniving politician hoping to make electoral gains and a “nameless water trader” whose sole purpose is to feather his own nest. The rains disappear and as Josephine’s “last flowers” in her garden begin to give in, she takes it upon herself to “find Water”. The rest of the play traces the character’s quest where in she uses the “simple physics of heat and cold” to summon Wind, cardinal to bringing back rains.

A scene from Josephine and the Brothers of the Wind

A scene from Josephine and the Brothers of the Wind   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Character-driven, the 55-minute long play, with dialogues in German, incorporates music and playbacks while making minimal use of light effects to focus more on the body language. “A happy, engaging synergy of the stage elements and body movements brings about an interplay of Water, portrayed as soft, and Fire, with all its fury and energy, all accentuated by the flowing feel of Wind against the background of Earth,” says Kai.

It’s paramount to instil a sense of preservation of the nature among humans and, Stefanie says, the best way is to “catch them young” when their minds are open. “Kids easily understand the beauty of nature and so it’s upon us to help them realise the necessity to stick together through visual arts,” she adds.

A scene from Josephine and the Brothers of the Wind

A scene from Josephine and the Brothers of the Wind   | Photo Credit: Harikumar J S

The name ‘Die Mimosen’, Kai points out, carries a double meaning in German. “On a literal level, it means the plant Touch-me-not. I believe the group’s founders were very sensitive people (laughs). It also means ‘to mime or mimic’. Hence, our responsibility as artistes,” he says.

Die Mimosen will hold an environmental theatre workshop on Saturday, where they will explore aspects such as voice modulation, body movements and stage positioning and body contact, apart from demonstration of exercises tailored to help stage actors.

When asked how much of the environmentalist in him has helped him as an artiste, Kai says after a pause: “Take care of the planet and the planet takes care of you.”

The performance, hosted by Goethe-Zentrum in collaboration with Goethe-Institut, was held at Kendriya Vidyalaya, Pattom, on Friday. The environmental theatre workshop will be held at Goethe-Zentrum at 5 pm on Saturday.


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Printable version | Sep 22, 2021 12:23:17 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/theatre/die-mimosen-a-german-theatre-group-aims-to-spread-awareness-about-environment-among-kids-with-a-modern-fairytale/article25006398.ece

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