Past but Still Present: The Art of Dramatic Literature

Maxi Obexer, photo credit: Nane Diehl

“Theater plays originally serve the function of asking the pressing questions that trouble society.”

This quote is from the manifesto of the New Institute for Stage Writing, which Maxi Obexer and Sasha Marianna Salzmann founded in 2014. The author, teacher, fighter for justice, and thinker Maxi Obexer has taught in the US and Germany, received multiple prizes for her works, and taught a Q+ workshop titled “Past but Still Present: The Art of Dramatic Literature” in October 2019. After her most recent theater project “Lost Fighters: The End of the Red Army Faction” premiered at the Wiesbaden State Theater in April 2019, she once again worked with Q+ students from various academic disciplines. The workshop dealt with the art of portraying the past in the present, and explored the political aspirations of dramatic art.

After an introduction to the most important elements and genres of dramatic literature, the workshop focused on the relevance of the past flashing into the here and now. As an example, Obexer’s text “Gletscher” (“Glacier”) was received both as an audio drama and as a print text. In this context, the students created their own dramatic texts in a short period of time. Some of these writings can be found here (in German):

"Der Tag, an dem der Fisch gestohlen wurde" by Maren Toepler (education studies)

"Ich sitze auf dem Boden" by Katharina Schelp (German studies, philosophy)

"Sei dir der Konsequenzen bewusst" by Anna (psychology)

"Soliloquium zwischen mir und meiner Vergangenheit" by Melanie Kroska (English literature and culture)

"Vergangen und doch gegenwärtig" by Maylin Amann (history, German studies)

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