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Round Table on Chekhov Revue

May 19, 2014

The National Theater Mannheim and the Heidelberg Centre for Transcultural Studies invited to a round table discussion with scholars from Heidelberg University and festival curator Matthias Lilienthal on theater and society in past and present Russia. The meeting was inspired by the Chekhov revue show "Tararabumbia", which will be presented as part of the "Theater of the World 2014" festival in Mannheim. The round table discussion took place at the Karl Jaspers Centre on May 19.

The participants of the round table included Matthias Lilienthal (Theater of the World), Prof. Dorothea Redepenning (Department of Musicology), Prof. Tanja Penter (History), Dr. Karoline Thaidigsmann (Slavic Studies), and Dr. Frank Grüner (Cluster "Asia and Europe"). The scholars discussed about the relations between theater and society in past and present Russia, based on the Chekhov revue "Tararabumbia".

Tararabumbia” is a bombastic Chekhov revue in which a cast of over 100 bring the cosmos of the Russian dramatist to life and heighten it into absurdity without a single word by Chekhov ever being spoken. Instead, 40 Irinas and 50 Trigorins march along a 30-metre-long conveyor belt. In place of the individuals, the figures and their clichéd characteristics are multiplied and turned into a circus-like spectacle on stilts. Pioneers of Russian aviation, a military orchestra and other scenes from the Soviet era are paraded past the audience, which sits on either side of the belt like at a fashion show. The world of Chekhov is turned into the history of the USSR, a parable about Russia performed on the conveyor belt of history. Is it the old socialist assembly line of history or the luggage belt of modern capitalism? The show “Tararabumbia” is directed by Dmitry Krymov, originally a scenographer, now the director of the School of Dramatic Arts in Moscow.

The revue show “Tararabumbia” will be presented on Friday, May 23, at 10.30 pm, and on Saturday, May 24, at 6.00 pm in the Alstom Hall in Mannheim, as part of the "Theater of the World 2014". The "Theater of the World 2014" is a festival of the Internationales Theaterinstitut, organized by the National Theater Mannheim, and promoted by the city of Mannheim, the Baden-Württemberg Foundation, and the Minister of State for Culture and Media. Under the patronage of Federal President Joachim Gauck, it is organized by Matthias Lilienthal. Matthias Lilienthal, curator of the "Theater of the World 2014", is an influential dramaturgist and intendant.

The round table discussing the Chekhov revue "Tararabumbia" took place on Monday, May 19, at the Karl Jaspers Centre. Supported by Dr. Frank Grüner, the event is organized by Prof. Dr. Barbara Mittler, Co-Director of the Cluster of Excellence "Asia and Europe in a Global Context" as well as Co-Director of the recently opened Heidelberg Centre for Transcultural Studies.

Save the date: Prof. Mittler will also moderate a "Theater of the World 2014" session on "Sampling, Remix and Mash Up between Popculture and Advantgarde". The event will take place on May 29, from 11.00 am to 4.30 pm, in Mannheim. It is organized by Prof. Dr. Henry Keazor from the Institute of European Art History at Heidelberg University.

More information:

Theater der Welt 2014 (Programme)
Short Cuts from Tararabumbia (Video)


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  • Still from Tararabumbia

  • The participants during the discussion