Theater to feel like an intruder

A show conceived in a house, Can Pagans, to experience the intimacy of a couple from the bedroom, living room and kitchen, arrives tomorrow at the Teatre Ateneu de Celrà forcibly reformulated by the pandemic but with the will of preserve maximum proximity to the viewer. Elda & Daniel, the third joint production of the actors Meritxell Yanes and David Planas, premieres at the Temporada Alta festival with a different format from how the director and playwright Llàtzer Garcia had imagined it, but maintaining its essence.

The initial project, which they were rehearsing when the pandemic broke out, repeated the formula of Ventura, the successful production premiered in 2015 at the festival and which has been seen for five years: same tandem of performers and same stage, a house in Celrà for a small group of spectators to share a night with the protagonist couple, almost sent voyeur of a conversation with unsuspected confessions.

The health situation has forced a change in the space, but this feeling of “feeling intrusive” in the couple’s life is maintained, as far as possible (and with all the security measures), explains Garcia. That is why they have chosen to perform it with the public also on the stage of the theater, surrounding the performance. For now, they will have to comply with the version provided for cakes and later, if possible, return to the original.

The montage delves into the lives of Elda and Daniel, who have been together for ten years and have no children. The relationship begins to break up, and the viewer will witness the night when everything explodes.

“I didn’t want to write about a couple who break up, but about two people who have felt very alone and who have looked for very different solutions and who come across to combat this situation,” explains Garcia, who points out that the show “did not go both of an end and of a new beginning ”.

“At the time of writing there was nothing marked, everything has come out very organically and has ended up being a long conversation that goes through many moments,” says the Girona author, who is currently working on a show for at the TNC focused on the Font de la Pólvora neighborhood.

In this sense, it indicates that Elda & Daniel it also “goes from truths and lies, and from the game between representation and reality.”

After a preview at the end of September in Celrà, the show premieres for Temporada Alta tomorrow at six on the same stage, where it can also be seen from 5 to 7 November. In the coming months, it will arrive at La Planeta in Girona and Banyoles.


Susan Sontag: The Unreachable (

The journalist Jonathan Cott interviewed Susan Sontag twice for a few hours in 1978. At one point she speaks of the “burden of the work” that she has created. That makes her want to start all over again – under a pseudonym. But oh, in vain, the audience would smell the roast after all: “Only Susan Sontag could have written that.”

Sontag loses her father early. She needs her selfish and alcoholic mother Mildred as an accomplice to keep up appearances and somehow get through everyday life. “No details!” A full glass of water stands next to her when she receives friends. Vodka. Then she retires to the bedroom. Susan vies for Mildred’s approval, and because it fails to do so, she tries harder. Two of her salient characteristics – her irrepressible ambition, ruthless towards herself and others, and her pathological dishonesty – have their origin in this problematic relationship. She makes the same mistakes with her son David. She constantly leaves him alone, neglects him emotionally, overwhelms him intellectually, overfeeds him with education. At an early age she drills him into an image: Susan Sontag’s son.

“She was great,” says her friend Jamaica Kincaid once. “I don’t think I’ve wanted to be great since I’ve known Susan.” Literature is Sunday’s last refuge early on. She reads through the bookstore’s classics shelf. As a result of her unsteady mother’s various moves, she hardly has any friends. She is the eternal outsider, the book rat. Even at the elite universities, in Berkeley and Chicago, she impressed her fellow students with her reading skills. But also enchants her with her beauty. Although Sontag feels drawn to women, which she tries to hide from the general public throughout her life and regardless of various affairs, she educates herself for a while to be heterosexual. At the age of 17 she married the sociologist Philip Rieff.

Sontag almost sank into the university desert. She supports her husband in his important study “Freud: The Mind of the Moralist”. Her contribution is evident when one compares Rieff’s later works, but she does not appear as an author. Apart from the fact that she is into women, this is another predetermined breaking point in her marriage. The role of a research assistant doesn’t satisfy her need for fame and recognition at all. After a trip to Europe, she decides to become a writer, separates from Rieff and goes to New York with her young son David, where Jacob Taubes gives her a job as editor of the conservative monthly magazine “Commentary”. She soon made a name for herself in the city’s scholarly scene.

With Freud it is the case that the analyst becomes the artist. The patient merely supplies the material, reports a confused dream, for example; the actual meaning arises in the analysis. Freud is the model for Sontag’s later role as a critic artist. It announces what is in the elaborate. With self-confidence, a sense of power, an enormous workload and a couple of brilliant cultural theory essays that level the gap between pop and high culture once and for all, within a few years she becomes the star of the New York intellectual circle – the »Family«. In addition to her eloquence, almost universal scholarship and analytical acumen, Sontag also has a good sensorium for topics that are hot: camp, pornography, happenings, science fiction, photography, cancer.

The staging was always just as important to Sontag as intellectual brilliance. This is the teaching of gay camp culture, which she immerses herself in with fascination even during her time on campus. Understanding being as theater, life as a metaphor. “Camp sees everything in quotation marks: not a lamp, but a ‘lamp’; not a woman, but a ‘woman’. ”And she becomes, no, she turns herself into:“ Susan Sontag ”. Apparently it took something more than a stupendous education, esprit and rhetorical virtuosity to assert oneself as a woman in the “family”. Even more in the 60s. Her irrepressible urge to do more than the others, to read, write and think more, robs her of sleep. But with calculation. She uses speed, dexedrine, coffee and cigarettes to stay up and work longer. After all, sleep becomes a neuralgic point. When friends think she has just rested, she becomes indignant. A “Susan Sontag” simply has no time for that.

Because the times are political, so will Sunday. She is the front woman of the New Left, a kind of conscience of the nation, which is not always good for her prose. She writes a huge tirade of hatred against the USA and its murderous imperialism, and sends reports from Hanoi and later also from Cuba. After her trip to Vietnam, she wore an aluminum ring for a while – made from the fuselage of a downed US airplane. In 1982, at a solidarity event for the Polish trade union Solidarność, she declared her departure from left orthodoxy. “Communism is fascism – successful fascism, if you will,” she proclaimed at great cost from the New York Left. The expatriated Russian poet Joseph Brodsky had whispered one thing or the other into her. From now on it moves between ideological lines.

Sontag got cancer three times. She survived the first two illnesses because she was undergoing excruciating chemotherapy. After the first time, her hair is gray. She ennobles this personal victory with a symbolic laurel wreath, the silver curl, which now also makes her optically an icon. In the end she has leukemia and once again uses all her willpower. Annie Leibovitz photographs her heroic failure. Your terrible suffering. In the last two decades of her life, her political activism takes on more and more space. She is personally committed to persecuted artists, lets penniless dissidents live with her, and takes care of their subsistence. She shows generosity and above all courage. When Salman Rushdie was threatened by the fatwa and many authors, including committed authors, went underground for fear of Muslim terror, Sontag organized a solidarity event. “I was glad Susan was president (of the PEN center) and nobody the fearful kind,” Rushdie later admits.

Even more dangerous is Sunday’s trip to besieged Sarajevo during the Bosnian War to stage Samuel Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot” with starving, traumatized actors. It is definitely more than disaster tourism, it stays for weeks and then returns several times; But the sparkling white charitable dimension of the company gets a gray veil due to the foreseeable ineffectiveness and the obscene self-glorification it pursues in retrospect: Do good and let yourself be celebrated in prime time on all channels.

In the biographical business in particular, only one book with weight has been considered weighty for several years. In this respect, Benjamin Moser’s »Sontag« is the biography that you have to write right now in order to win the Pulitzer Prize. But as a reader you keep asking yourself: Do I have to know all of this? Isn’t this positivism from the deepest nineteenth century perhaps also due to a writing deficit, namely the inability to distinguish between what is essential and what is not? Or maybe every artist of the rank of Susan Sontag needs at least one such exorbitantly detailed appraisal? If so, then Benjamin Moser was at least the right man to write such a biography.

Benjamin Moser: Sunday. The biography. A. d. americ. Engl. V. Hainer Kober. Penguin, 928 pp., Hardcover, 40 €.


Thierry Lhermitte, La Chica, Tous à l’Opéra … The shows not to be missed


Maxime Taffanel, swimming

Lines on the floor represent the lengths in an Olympic-size swimming pool. Maxime Taffanel, 29, trains before diving into the deep end. Breathe, breathe, stretch. “I drink it with my eyes; She touches me; I shiver, dress of bubbles… ”Her first words are for the love of her life: water.
Professional swimmer, Maxime Taffanel left the middle of the competition. He could no longer hear his coach repeat to him after an event he had just lost: “Don’t worry, next time it will be the right one.” The sportsman chose the theater with a singular spectacle, One hundred meters butterfly, where he plays another himself, Larie, a teenager who trains to win.
Created at the Avignon Off Festival in 2018, this one-on-one cleverly combines swimming techniques and dramatic art. Enduring, relentless at work, in Larie’s jersey, Maxime Taffanel stirs the air as if he was stirring water. Crawle. Gasps. Stops. On a rhythm calculated to the nearest second by Nelly Pulicani, its director who also co-signs the adaptation of the text.
A breathtaking performance. In accordance with the jerky music of Maxence Vandevelde.
Born of a choreographer mother and a dancer father, trained at the National School of Dramatic Art in Montpellier, the actor gets wet and wets his tracksuit jacket. By delivering a performance of breathtaking force. The public is hanging on his lips. Maxime Taffanel may not have won a notable victory in the past. But in the theater, he wins all hearts.
Until November 28 at 5 p.m., Belleville Theater (11e).­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­

Executor 14

The actor Swann Arlaud had just turned 15 when he discovered Executor 14, this “song of life and death” signed Adel Hakim and masterfully interpreted at the time by Jean-Quentin Châtelain. The desire to wear it in turn on stage has not left him since. It is his mother, Tatiana Vialle, who is responsible for directing him at the Théâtre du Rond-Point. A raw, gaunt play about the ferocity of war and the poison of hatred. A punchy text, alas still appropriate.

Until October 23 at 6:30 p.m. at Rond-Point Theater .

The Impossible Trial

May 1967 in Guadeloupe. Salary negotiations between construction workers and employers turned sour. One of the negotiators said: “When the niggas are hungry they will go back to work“? The noise spread through the crowd massed in Pointe-à-Pitre and the strike turned into a riot. The demonstrators count a first death, the anger redoubles. Two armories are looted; the gendarmes shoot on sight. It was the last time, with the events of Chalvet in Martinique, that live bullets were used against the crowd in France. After two days of violent clashes between demonstrators and the police, there are officially eight dead. In metropolitan France, we see in this agitation the hand of the separatists. It is they who will be judged before the seventeenth correctional chamber in Paris during the winter of 1968. It is the trial of the Guadeloupeans that Guy Lafages and the director Luc Saint-Eloy recount in The Impossible Trial.

October 25 at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m., at the Théâtre de l’Épée de Bois, Paris 12th.


“Flowers of the Sun”

For the first time, Thierry Lhermitte has agreed to be alone on stage. To defend a text full of humanity: Fleurs de soleil by Simon Wiesenthal, Holocaust survivor nicknamed the “Nazi hunter” who questioned personalities on the notion of forgiveness. In an adaptation by Daniel Cohen and Antoine Mory, directed very soberly by Steve Suissa, the actor lends his voice to the Jewish author whom a German asks to forgive him for having killed innocent people. A morning in 1942. Poignant.

Antoine Theater (10th), until November 1, at 7 p.m.


All at the opera

Faced with this troubled period and the great difficulties suffered by the performing arts, French operas resist and invite the public to push open the doors of their establishments. Under the leadership of Tous à l’Opéra, initially planned for last May and as part of World Opera Day, various institutions offer lyrical art lovers and other curious people to stroll behind the scenes of their august buildings. Between guided tours, rehearsals and masterclasses, such as that of mezzo-soprano Karine Deshayes, godmother of this 14th edition, which takes over the Bastille amphitheater and the Opéra-Comique, accompanied by young singers from the National Conservatory of Music and Dance from Paris.

October 24 and 25. Free and by reservation.


La Chica au Petit Bain (13th). Guillaume Malheiro

The girl

Cambio, La Chica’s album released last year, evokes the noise of big metropolises. The Franco-Venezuelan singer distills delicate texts, sung sometimes in Spanish, sometimes English, sometimes in French, on migratory samples and jerky rhythms. Born in France, before settling in Venezuela, then again in Paris, La Chica draws her ideas from this cultural mixture and offers a hybrid and poetic musical universe. She will play on the Petit Bain stage, as part of the 23rd edition of the World Music Cities Festival. Until November 9, the event offers concerts and cultural actions in Seine-Saint-Denis, Paris and Greater Paris.
October 21 at 5 p.m. at Small Bath , 7, port de la Gare (13th).


Théo Mercier and Steven Michel

The first is a visual artist, the second is a choreographer. Under the title of Big Sister, they sign a cinematographic fresco for four dancers from 23 to 65 years old. A reflection on the self-portrait and on the power of the body which uses the various processes of cinema, staging, science fiction and historical reconstructions.

Centre Pompidou October 21 to 24 at 6:30 p.m. and October 25 at 5 p.m.

Amateurs in the repertoire

The 14th edition of Dance as an amateur and repertoire allows amateurs to confront repertoire pieces that have marked these last twenty years. They are signed Nathalie Pernette, Dominique Brun, Claude Brumachon, Kader Attou, Thomas Lebrun, Christian Rizzo or Hervé Koubi. The groups of amateur dancers are confronted with pieces by eight renowned choreographers. The seven groups selected come from Istres, Lussac-Les-Châteaux, Saint-Benoît, Rouen …

In Chaillot , October 24 at 3:30 pm and October 25 at 11:30 am Free, reservation required.


Leaving Neverland witness James Safechuck suffers legal setback

The 42-year-old had testified in the shocking documentary, accusing the star of having sexually abused him a hundred times as a child.

Affected by a dozen complaints of the same type in 2003, the singer was acquitted two years later, at the end of a high-profile trial.
Affected by a dozen complaints of the same type in 2003, the singer was acquitted two years later, at the end of a high-profile trial. Jason Mitchell / Headlinephoto / ABACAPRESS.COM

One of the alleged victims of Michael Jackson has just been dismissed by the American justice on one of the aspects of this case of pedocriminality. On trial against the companies MJJ Productions and MJJ Venture Inc., which he considered empowered to monitor the behavior of the planetary star during the 1990s, James Safechuck had testified in the documentary Leaving Neverland , recounting the sexual abuse he allegedly suffered during his childhood.

Dismissed in 2014, her complaint was accepted this summer, after the enactment of a law that extended the limitation period for pedophile acts in California. But the judge in charge of the case has just estimated that the employees of Michael Jackson’s companies did not have to supervise the actions of their own boss, one of the key arguments of the prosecution. “Young Jimmy Safechuck was employed by this company and was having fun with Michael Jackson. The idea that this company and its employees would not have a duty to protect him and ensure his safety is ridiculous», Reacted Vince Finaldi in TMZ , the plaintiff’s lawyer, announcing that the alleged victim was going to appeal.

In Leaving Neverland, James Safechuck claims to have been abused a hundred times by the interpreter of Thriller between 1988 and 1992, especially when he shot an advertisement for the Pepsi brand with him. He describes the star, who died in 2009, as a predator and a perverse manipulator. Affected by a dozen complaints of the same type in 2003, the singer was acquitted two years later, at the end of a high-profile trial.

»SEE ALSO – Michael Jackson: a degraded image decrypted by Léna Lutaud (video of June 25, 2019)


The castles of Versailles and Fontainebleau will accommodate 800 precious pieces of furniture

Pieces from the 17th and 18th centuries and important collections from the 19th century, housed in the collections of the Mobilier National, will be returned to their original palaces.

By Le Figaro with AFP

The Palace of Versailles will host ten carved oak torches from the former administration of Menus-Plaisirs, the initial model of which was designed under Louis XIV.
The Palace of Versailles will host ten carved oak torches from the former administration of Menus-Plaisirs, the initial model of which was designed under Louis XIV. STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN / AFP

Precious furniture, torches, sofas in which Napoleon, kings and princes sat: more than 800 pieces of furniture, objects and seats housed in the collections of the Mobilier national, will join the châteaux of Versailles and Fontainebleau where they come from, announced Wednesday this establishment.

At the Palace of Versailles and the two Trianons, pieces from the 17th and 18th centuries and important sets from the 19th century will be transferred. The majority of them were part of the interior decoration of these residences. The oldest are ten carved oak torches from the former administration of Menus-Plaisirs, the initial model of which was designed under Louis XIV.

For the nineteenth century, it will first be the furniture of the apartments of the staff of Versailles and the Trianons, composed almost exclusively of furniture from the Empire and the Restoration: a dozen folders from the Grand cabinet of the Emperor , a sofa and a loveseat in the Salon des Princes. Nearly 450 pieces of furniture and seats will be transferred to Versailles.

An equivalent transfer takes place between the Mobilier National and the Château de Fontainebleau. The furniture belongs to all the furnishing periods of the castle in the 19th century. Among the 400 pieces, appear those from Napoleon’s apartments. This is the case with mahogany chairs inlaid with ebony and pewter and a beautiful set of seats from Joséphine’s boudoir.

Heir to the Crown Furniture Repository and then to the Imperial Furniture, the National Furniture, which has its headquarters at the former Gobelins Manufactory in Paris, preserved these works, ensuring their preservation, maintenance and restoration.

SEE ALSO – The Palace of Versailles reopens its gates to the public after 82 days of closure


discover the first inclusive alphabet awarded by the Red Cross

You hesitate between a man of letters and a woman of letters? Should we write an author, an author, an author? Even the French Academy is no longer so categorical today. Or do you dodge the difficulty by falling back on a writer, as the Larousse ? No longer wrestle your brain: The inclusive will make your life easier. In any case, this is what this new typeface and its creator promise.

On October 15, during the 6th edition of the Art Humanity Prize in Geneva, Tristan Bartolini was awarded the Jury Prize for his creation, a typeface that marks both masculine and feminine or no longer differentiates between genders. It is depending on the point of view. This award, created in 2015 by the Geneva Red Cross and the University of Art and Design (HEAD), each year crowns projects that combine artistic impetus and humanitarian commitment.

Graduated from a Bachelor in Visual Communication, passionate about typography, Tristan Bartolini chose to work on the issue of epicene writing for his diploma. “In accordance with my commitments and convictions», He explains to The Geneva Tribune . Conditioned by language, typography does not manage to translate all the subtleties of the definition of gender and the possibilities existing between the feminine and the masculine. “Between the two, he believes, there are endless possibilities to identify with.»

The new signs are characterized by a graphic mix of the letters that make up the male and female endings. Screenshot Twitter / @SandrineRoudaut

Tristan Bartolini then imagines signs allowing us to mark “inclusiveness” and no longer differentiate between genders in our language. For this, he develops new signs that are characterized by a graphic mixture of letters that make up the male and female endings. By merging them it therefore creates a non-gendered character font. The agglomeration of an r and an e thus gives a new character capable of marking both the masculine and the feminine, in the foreign word for example. Another merges a and e so that the articles la, le, designate them indifferently as genres. More subtly still, an m and a p are merged to create the word “mpère”. Combined, all these characters create new words that it is impossible for us to write (and pronounce) with our Latin alphabet and its 26 letters. In the illustration above, we can for example discover “l[ae] [mp]fish[ne]»Which confuses godfather and godmother. Tristan Bartolini explains his approach as follows: “with the inclusive, we are allowed to define ourselves as a father, son, godfather, but above all as a woman».

«The idea fell from the sky, he explains. There was a lot of debate around epicene writing. It was becoming more and more frequent in administrative documents and advertisements. I told myself that it was not just a matter of linguists, that we could provide graphic solutions.“After several months of reflection, on rhetoric in particular, Tristan Bartolini began to work in March on a graphic form whose key word would be visibility. The characters should be easy to understand but also to use. “I made endless back and forth trips, pushing the experimentation to the most complex to often return to the simplest», He admits.

«I simply created a communication tool. Others could use it to send a message», Says Tristan Bartolini. Twitter / @catode_ screenshot

To achieve this result, he invents a total of forty new non-gendered letters which can be applied to pronouns, adjectives or even to names directly created by the use of this font. His work, he foresees, will be called upon to integrate other creations. “I simply created a communication tool. Others could use it to send a message», Explains the young man. Is Tristan Bartolini the Gutenberg of a new syntactic revolution?


Clint Eastwood summoned to trial for failed Thalys attack

The American director is called as a witness. His film 3:17 p.m. for Paris, in which the three American passengers who foiled the attack played their own role, will serve as a “reconstruction” for the Assize Court.

Clint Eastwood, director of 3:17 p.m. for Paris, a very special witness to the failed Thalys attack.
Clint Eastwood, director of 3:17 p.m. for Paris, a very special witness to the failed Thalys attack. VALERIE MACON / AFP

The failed Thalys attack to Paris will be judged before the assize race from November 16 to December 18. On August 21, 2015, Ayoub El-Khazzani came out of the toilets of wagon 12 armed with a Kalashnikov. Three American passengers on vacation manage to disarm it. Become heroes, Alek Skarlatos, Spencer Stone and Anthony Sadler were immortalized by Clint Eastwood in 2018 in 3:17 p.m. for Paris, a film inspired by the attack. The promo of the time praised a film “100% true», Where the three heroes, SNCF employees, other train passengers and the medical team played their own role.

Clint Eastwood at the helm

At the origin of these “reconstructions»For the cinema, Clint Eastwood is now part of the list of 41 witnesses and 9 experts summoned to the hearing. The American director is expected on Monday, November 23, in the afternoon, to review the attitude of Alek Skarlatos, Spencer Stone and Anthony Sadler during the scenes reproducing the attempted attack on the Thalys. The defense of the main accused Ayoub El-Khazzani, the lawyer Me Sarah Mauger-Poliak explained his request for summons to a witness to France Inter: “This quote seems all the more important, as the American soldiers, and it is regrettable, did not show up for the reenactment organized by the justice system when they spent months replaying the scene in front of the Hollywood projectors.».

It remains to be seen whether the director will respond favorably or not to his summons to the Assize Court. American citizen, Clint Eastwood cannot be the subject of a “warrant to bring», Which asks the police to bring him by force to the bar. 90-year-old Clint Eastwood will he move as the Covid-19 pandemic starts again? He could be heard by videoconference.


The Girona Amateur Theater Campaign will perform 15 plays next season 2021

The seventh edition of the Girona Amateur Theater Campaign has selected 15 plays of the 19 proposals presented that will make up the catalog of 2021. The plays chosen by the jury can be performed throughout the Girona region during the coming year.

These are Liars, by Guspira Theater; Tics i tocs, by Elenc Santperenc; Truffles, from Safreig Teatre de Salt; Litus, from the Cassanenc Theater Group; The florido pensil, from the Laguna Teatre de Sils; Open lines, from the Sant Hilari Sacalm Theater Group; 13 and Tuesday, from La 113; A(mor)t CiaOf Theater; Abysses, of Increixendo; Let it be the last time, by Prelude; Theresienstadt, Cràdula Theater; There is no thief who does not come for good, of TQuatre; Mamaaa !!!, of Theatrical; The art of comedy, from the Agrupació Teatral la Gespa, i Therapeutic, from the Teatre Center d’Arbúcies.

The jury was formed by Isidre Ferràndiz, representative of the El Galliner Theater Training Center; Martí Peraferrer, director of the Girona International Amateur Theater Festival; Meritxell Yanes, actress; Maria Àngels Buisaac, actress; and Daniel Sancho, president of the Girona Amateur Theater Federation. The project aims to encourage the programming of plays by non-professional companies throughout the region.


“I no longer hide behind a clown”

INTERVIEW – With Goodbye idiots which comes out on October 21, the director ofGoodbye up there delivers a wacky comedy about a trio of characters led by Virginie Efira.

In March 2018
In March 2018 JACK GUEZ / AFP

Meeting in the Parisian offices of Albert Dupontel, in the shadow of Edmond Rostand Cyrano and Pagnol who lived nearby.

LE FIGARO. Once again, are you putting on crazy characters?

Albert DUPONTEL: The themes are always redundant with me, parents chasing children or children chasing parents. I consider myself to be a more than limited author, I always do the same and the worst thing is that I give myself trouble! In Goodbye idiots, I wondered how a woman acted, Suze Trappet (played by Virginie Efira) who wants to live but can no longer, meets someone, JB, myself, who can live but who no longer wants. There are necessarily two opposing views. I looked for suffering social archetypes, there are plenty of them. Suze Trappet is a hairdresser and gets sick from the products she uses. She says : “I’m dying from an excess of perms”. Then I build a story so that the three protagonists

This article is for subscribers only. You have 80% left to discover.

Subscribe: 1 € the first month

Can be canceled at any time


Where the good books come from (

Knowledgeable and cosmopolitan through crises and changes – 75 years of Henschelverlag.

He was a man with a wide range of interests and an active man – the founder of the stage sales company Henschel & Sohn. Actually lathe operator and member of the metal workers’ association, he was also an employee and ultimately managing director of the Volksbühnenverlag, which was liquidated by the Nazis in 1933. After the liberation from fascism, Bruno Henschel secured the previous licenses. It is not yet clear whether the establishment of his edition house on October 20, 1945 was only suggested or even commissioned by the Soviet occupying forces. Together with his son Harald, Bruno Henschel is making good progress with the company, especially when they add a magazine and book publisher to stage sales.

In 1946 the actor and writer Fritz Erpenbeck joined the company. The communist, who returned to Berlin with the Ulbricht group from Moscow in April 1945, is three years older than 45-year-old Bruno Henschel. With over 100,000 copies sold, Konstantin Simonov’s “The Russian Question” became the publisher’s first bestseller, and its reputation was growing rapidly. Bertolt Brecht grants the performance rights of his complete works to Henschel, Heiner Müller follows him later. Both stand for an understanding of art that did not really fit into the officially propagated GDR, where the Stanislawski method was preferred, named after the Russian director Konstantin S. Stanislawski, who relied on a theater that was as realistic as possible should, which is why the actors should bring in their own feelings.

The publishing house continued to grow when in 1952 the Deutsche Filmverlag and the Deutsche Funkverlag became Henschelverlag Kunst und Gesellschaft. From now on, Henschel-Schauspiel and Henschel-Musikbühne will be responsible for stage sales. Another change is connected with this change: Henschel donated the publishing house to his party. “The only condition of Bruno Henschel, who did this not for economic reasons, but out of conviction, was his continued position as publishing director, combined with the use of a car at publishing costs until the end of his life,” writes Susanne Harder, who deals with the early history of the Publishing house. In the wild and confused times of the formalism-realism controversy in the GDR, the fact that the publisher can continue to bear his name is a remarkable sign. Only very few selected personalities are allowed to run their institute under their name, usually in personal consultation with Walter Ulbricht – such as the dancer and dance teacher Gret Palucca or the physicist Manfred von Ardenne in Dresden.

Bruno Henschel ran the publishing house until 1967 and was awarded the Patriotic Order of Merit every five years from 1965 until his death in 1976. His son, on the other hand, went to the West early and is consistently kept secret in the East. After 22 years, Bruno Henschel handed over the reins to the art historian Kuno Mittelstädt, who has published in his publishing house since 1959 and was already in charge of the visual arts editing department. Renate Seydel, also successful author of the publishing house and Mittelstädts wife, still remembers this handover very clearly. Bruno Henschel chose his successor very deliberately, wanted to pass the baton on to a new generation of publishers and carry on the corporate philosophy: Art for everyone and not just for an elite. “The handover was really close to his heart and was very amicable,” emphasizes Renate Seydel.

Even under the new management, Henschel-Verlag retains its special position. Be it because it is owned by the SED, be it because the GDR is struggling for international recognition with the takeover of power by Erich Honecker. At Henschelverlag, East and West meet naturally for the sake of art. Comparable, perhaps, to the Komische Oper under Walter Felsenstein. Anyone who has a reputation for music theater and drama, who has to publish profound things in the fields of visual arts and dance, is in the Oranienburger Straße in Berlin, where the publishing house has been located since 1947, at the right address.

The house itself is historically significant; Alexander von Humboldt lived here until the end of his life. Every day the publishing house employees passed the memorial plaque on which they read the warning attributed to the researcher: “The most dangerous worldview is the worldview of those who have never looked at the world.” This was true for many decision-makers in the GDR, but less so for the employees this house. They communicated with the world and were always looking for new authors. Volkmar Draeger, at that time employee at »Theater der Zeit« and editor of the magazine »Unterhaltungskunst«, still thinks enthusiastically of the open atmosphere in the publishing house during the 80s: »I remember the Henschel publishing house as an oasis of liberality in an otherwise regulated time, a place without ideological restriction. We ‘Henschelians’ were well aware of this privilege and felt that we were family. Apart from a moderate and smart self-censorship, we owed this human atmosphere to the two distinctive leadership figures: Publishing director Kuno Mittelstädt, competent, quiet, unobtrusive, and head editor Horst Wandrey, grand seigneur with flowing gray hair, impressive education and listening ability. “

With its wide range of magazines, specialist literature and art books, Henschel stood for a classic publisher. According to Volkmar Draeger, its international reputation was correspondingly great – to this day. The “World of Art” series was one of the best exports. In the 1980s, a quarter of the publishing house production went abroad and brought urgently needed foreign currency to the GDR, as Franziska Galek, a profound expert on publishing history, reports.

In 1989 the publishing house went through the “turning point”. The employees save him on their own initiative. But then come fiduciary control, bankruptcy, bankruptcy, changing owners – and even the sale for a symbolic euro. There are various mergers and downsizing. Drama sales are founded under Wolfgang Schuch as a separate GmbH. But in contrast to many other “companies” from the GDR era, the publishing house survived.

Today Seemann-Henschel resides in Leipzig’s music district. Publishing director Annika Bach knows about the treasure she’s tending: “For 75 years, Henschelverlag has been facilitating and promoting knowledgeable and stimulating discussions about the arts with its books.” “That these discussions will continue to be conducted with a lot of verve, clever arguments and – of course – good books.”