- Do you think it's too late for you to book a ticket for Himmelweg?
That was the question Sophie asked me in a chat we had last Friday night that set all the wheels in motion for the making of this post.
It was her way to tell me where I should go this past Saturday 2 of October. It would also provide the material to feed the entry of The Bridge this week. I proposed a total of 4 places I could go as you may know for my comment in Sophie's Rambling post in order to match the 4 she herself handed out to me so I could pick where she in turn should go.
Himmelweg is a German word (as I found out because my German is limited to less than 20 words) that stands for “Way to Heaven” in English. It was how they named the play I went to see at Repertorio Español.
Strange thing though because Repertorio Español specializes only in performances in Spanish from authors of Spain or Latin America. It turned out that the author of Himmelweg is a Spaniard whose work was translated into English and have had such a big success in their performances around the world and the United States that Repertorio decided not to take risks and to present it there anyway in their English version.
A very small and cozy place is Repertorio Español. You can almost touch the actors and feel their breath as they move around you or on the platform. That makes really special the special effects, the lights, the voices you hear with great clarity and the sounds, but remarkably the sound of “the train”. Oh!, you can’t get a more intimate atmosphere: they, the performers, stare and shout at you as if you were part of the play and you feel like you’re not a spectator but you’re in the middle of everything, trembling and shaking with them; becoming part of what’s going on the stage...
And maybe because of all that, the characteristics of the theater, or perhaps because of the quality of the actors and actresses or just because the play was so powerful and touching two days after watching it has not been enough time to process all the angles, the ideas and the thoughts the performance had generated in myself.
Because the play easily transforms itself in a sort of Chinese box with various levels or layers of interpretations and meanings. It’s theater in the theater what I saw.
The piece takes place in the woods or what remains of those woods -Autumn leaves scattered on the floor, like ghosts recreating what once was a fake city built by the German people during the Nazi era in order to deceive the observers about the real treatment received by the Jews in the concentrations camps.
Deceiving it’s an art and the tricky part is that you need the collaboration of the people you’d ultimately harm. The weapons, the tactics are different, much more sophisticated but equally effective. They need the Jews in order to succeed with their plot, to make their story credible. Teaching them how to do it was not sufficient but rehearsing, practicing until they could master the lie and can get away with it. The Pandora Box, a theater class: words mean nothing without the appropriate gestures.
That’s the scenario where everything plays out and all the paradoxes and contradictions of existence arise: With the players today that were just simply reminders, a glimpse of all the afflictions the real actors of the past must have endured, those who played with their lives a real drama of survival both as individuals or as part of a group.
Was it good or bad to help trying to save themselves? In the end it didn’t matter. They’d ended up the same way and we in the distant future for a moment could just live their present, being witnesses and sufferers of their sufferings and struggles for unintentionally attracting the intolerance and the hatred of other people who didn't like them.
The Way to Heaven is the reenactment, the recreation of the suffering of all human beings.
I must say: it was really painful, almost unbearable. That little actress, that little girl like another Anna Frank, her enchanting chant is still inside my head!
Somehow and for more than a couple of days I'm not longer myself but a reflexion of all the pain they suffered as if I were/was one of them...