حَتَّى إِذَا بَلَغَ بَيْنَ السَّدَّيْنِ وَجَدَ مِن دُونِهِمَا قَوْمًا لّا يَكَادُونَ يَفْقَهُونَ قَوْلا
قَالُوا يَا ذَا الْقَرْنَيْنِ إِنَّ يَأْجُوجَ وَمَأْجُوجَ مُفْسِدُونَ فِي الْأَرْضِ فَهَلْ نَجْعَلُ لَكَ خَرْجًا عَلَىٰ أَنْ تَجْعَلَ بَيْنَنَا وَبَيْنَهُمْ سَدًّ
When he came between the two mountains, he found beneath them a people who could scarcely understand a word. They said: »O thou Two-Horned One! Behold, Gog and Magog are spoiling this land. May we then pay unto thee a tribute on the understanding that thou wilt erect a barrier between us and them?«
(Sura 18:93/94, The Cave)

Syria

Syria. Whom shall we ask for directions? The Syrians. Which ones? The ones with Syrian identities, families, tribes, ethnicities, religions. Sources. Elders, warlords, faction leaders, NGO representatives, agents of regional and global powers. Maybe we better ask the dead? They are so hard to reach. Surely the internet knows where to go.

On our second stop, we spin narratives surrounding the Syrian war zone and let their contradictions unfold. Fragmentary overviews, personal tales of woe, partisan reporting, spectacular propaganda, moving songs, old myths: At the cosy fire place many paths open themselves for the audience into the camp of burning truths. Take care though, every truth builds a barrier. Or it goes to war.

GOG / MAGOG 2 starts from a classical black-box theatre situation, with the seated audience being introduced to the performers and their ways of narrating: cultural representation with singing and reading from the Quran, biographical storytelling, multimedia disinformation, literary reportage, pseudo-scientific lecture, emotional songwriting.

After giving those examples, we lead the audience into the larger backstage space. There, audience members have to decide between simultaneous stories, delivered in a fixed time frame of 3 x 15 minutes: Do they want to learn about the conflict through a fable based on ornithological observation, through a map-based retelling of the region‘s history or through biographical stories of flight and migration by our (supposedly) Syrian guest performer? Inbetween the three chapters, everyone gathers around the camp fire to hear songs amidst a digital landscape of desert ruins, conducted by a mocap-driven avatar of chieftain GOG.

By & with

Najib Abidi (Memories), Christopher Hotti Böhm (Sound & Conducting), Brandon Miller (Songs & Singing), Marina Miller Dessau (Performance), Moran Sanderovich (Stage & Costume), Lenny Triefenschal (Video), Arne Vogelgesang (Performance/3D), Robert Wolf (Light). Kerstin Böttcher (Public Relation), Nils Bröer (Photography), ehrliche arbeit – freies Kulturbüro (Production), Nora Gores (Press), Patrick Mikulski (Assistance), Christin Striegler (Graphic Design), Johanna Werheid (Assistance).

A production by internil in cooperation with Theaterdiscounter Berlin. Funded by the German Federal Cultural Foundation/Doppelpass Fund and through Kofinanzierungsfonds des Regierenden Bürgermeisters von Berlin – Senatskanzlei – Kulturelle Angelegenheiten.

A production by internil in cooperation with Theaterdiscounter Berlin. Funded by the German Federal Cultural Foundation/Doppelpass Fund and through Kofinanzierungsfonds des Regierenden Bürgermeisters von Berlin – Senatskanzlei – Kulturelle Angelegenheiten. Residency at schloss bröllin e.V. funded through the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture of the State of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Landkreis Vorpommern-Greifswald.