30 years of children's theater festival for adults

1 May 2021

By Thalia Schoeller

After Arne Vogelgesang said on stage that theater can't do anything, the chat among the audience was quite busy asking what theater can do. And once again it became clear: there are more professionals than young people at this festival. I felt slain after the play. I think everyone who is not new to this flood of information in the form feels slain afterwards. You're in the bum part of babum babum babum. You kind of move on at some point, but not hopefully. You’re going on looks different from ours. You have professions, vocations, children. We decide now for a career to whose climax we can no longer come and against children. With this suppressed but fundamental hopelessness, a generation is growing up that can factually underpin its depressive episodes. I know that I will probably see war. I know that I will experience the collapse of systems. I know I will experience climatic, social, and physical extremes. And although a desire to have children is the strongest and most consistent feeling I know; I know that I would not want to do to any child the living conditions into which the children of our generation would be born. That's how I think about children. When you think about children you make “Fennymore”. It's time for you to grow up and take responsibility - at least mentally - and not be constantly distracted by what you know about the world. Do as your children do. Then we can talk again. 

I no longer talk to people who say I still have time. I no longer talk to people who say that our generation will save the world. I no longer talk to people who say I need a high school diploma, a degree, then 3 years of work experience to be socially relevant. And yes, I still want to be in theater. And be socially relevant there. And I did my 3 years of work experience while I was in school, because I just don't have time anymore. And it's hard to get into theater when you don't want to talk to ignorant people anymore, so I just do it anyway and thank them a thousand times for every opportunity to talk and cry at home, alone, all bitter because I'm left alone by my parents' generation. Because even my parents tell me that I still have time. Privilege creates blind spots and people with so many blind spots have no business in the leadership positions of theaters. If you want to tell me about the world, please start outside of Europe. If you are old, white, cis, rich, able-bodied, male, and have no trauma, then you have blind spots in all currently important discourses. How is theater supposed to be currently important if these people keep making theater? And it's not like you can't change that. It's not like theater is inherently niche. All the things you rave about when you talk about what theater can do, it really can. Not with you at the helm, of course, but it could. If you hand it over to people who know more about the world than you do, it could. What you know, I learned in school. You teach us that because you think it's still relevant. And now I'm done with school and done with you. And if the world doesn't change, as long as the extreme states haven't happened, if I'm not allowed to change the world, as long as the extreme states haven't happened, you've ruined not only my future but also my present. You have failed as parents. You have failed as children's theater makers. 

Accept that theater can do nothing. Step away. Give us this playground. We deserve it too. Give us 20 more years of life, please. Now I'm asking you. Now I'm friendly again. I'll strip for you if you want to. Tell me who I have to sleep with to be allowed to stage and I'll do it. I need unconventional solutions because I don't have time for the classical way. Please, please, dear theater makers reading this, let me make theater. Pre-apocalyptic theater. I am 100% serious about this. Please contact me at thalia.schoeller@web.de. I will not be able to follow the same path as you because I do not have the same time perspectives that you had as teenagers. The maturity tests in theater are hard and long. That's why the young generation of theater makers is in their mid-30s. In 20 years, when I'm in my mid-30s, theater won't exist in the form it currently has. I still love theater. So heartbreakingly powerful. Please please please, dear generation of parents in decision-making positions, change the rules of the game for us. Let us play along. This is what you can still do.