Guest lecture “Wasted Lives, Drowned: Plays on the Refugee Crisis and the Bare Life on Stage”

guestlecture_juliabollIt gives me great pleasure to invite all of you to the upcoming guest lecture “Wasted Lives, Drowned: Plays on the Refugee Crisis and the Bare Life on Stage” which is scheduled for Tuesday, 20th December 2016, at 10:15 a.m. at GW2, B2900. The lecture will be held by Dr Julia Boll.


Marco Martinelli’s haunting play “Rumore di acque” (Noise in the Waters, 2010) is the portrayal of an embittered modern Charon cataloguing those who drowned attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea to reach European shores. Shocking and poignant, the play explores the fate of contemporary refugees at a time when the political, geographical and cultural space commonly called ‘the West’ has turned into a huge gated community. Those ‘ousted’ from the ‘Fortress West’, maybe even rendered stateless by denaturalisation decrees, may become refugees or asylum seekers and so find themselves outside the law. The statelessness of refugees is not always to be accredited to the active stripping-away of rights. Zygmunt Bauman points out that ‘their statelessness is raised to an entirely new level’ at a time of crumbling or failed states with no state authority to speak of and no body of state to which the refugees could be referred. They are thus truly ‘hors du nomos – outside law; not this or that law of this or that country, but law as such’.

Correspondingly, French theatre maker Ariane Mnouchkine’s epic production “Le Dernier Caravansérail (Odyssées)” (2003-2005) for her Théâtre du Soleil depicts refugee odysseys across dangerous waters in the desperate search for a new homeland, which turns out to be a place where the refugee is not regarded as deserving of citizen status. In Mnouchkine’s production, the refugees are imagined from a perspective of respect and recognition, and while we witness their odysseys and their often inconceivable plight, the affecting production also lets us experience a sense of hope.

In this talk, I will draw a line between Bauman’s concept of ‘wasted lives’ and the figure Giorgio Agamben has called the homo sacer, or the bare life. The bare life appears in contemporary plays as a victim of war and conflict or as a person or group of people that have been legally ostracised from or have never been part of the community (such as asylum seekers, refugees, illegal immigrants, etc.). Agamben points out that Western politics is based on the simultaneous exclusion and inclusion of bare life into its legislation. Patterns of the depiction of the bare life can be traced across the whole of the Western sphere, allowing for parallels to be drawn between the present-day Western realm and the ancient polis as to their mutual policies concerning the consolidation of borders, citizenship based on exclusion, and a consensus about the human value of those excluded. By contemplating recent plays on the refugee crisis, we may come to an understanding of the way Western civilization defines itself politically and culturally with respect to those it excludes, and we might find an answer as to why a post-modern society sees fit to let people drown at its borders.

Biographical brief Dr Julia Boll

Julia Boll holds a doctorate in drama from the University of Edinburgh, but did her Magister Degree here at the University of Bremen. She was a director of the Scottish Universities’ International Summer School, a teaching assistant at Edinburgh, and also worked for the Edinburgh Review. In 2013, she joined the University of Konstanz to research the representation of the bare life on stage, a project for which, as PI, she has recently received funding from the German Research Foundation. Since 2012, she has also been a member of the multi-disciplinary research project Fiction Meets Science (Univs. of Bremen and Oldenburg). Julia has spoken and published on the theatrical representation of war and violence, on grief and pornography, theatre and transnationalism, questions of ethics in literature on science, neoliberalism in European playwriting, utopia at the theatre, the performance of knowledge, community and the theatre, and the bare life on stage. Her monograph “The New War Plays” was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2013.

Casting Call

Maiden Thought Theatre and Theatrale Bretter e.V. casting the English–speaking staging (non-profit) of the classic John Lyly play, ‘Gallathea’ in May 2017.

We are looking for:

– 16 actors (all genders) in the Bremen area, acting age 16–80

– 18 years of age by May 2017

– Confident use of English required, second/third-language speakers welcome.

Please send an e-mail with your name, contact number, and preferred audition date to

– 1st professional workshop on December 16–18th.

– Allowances for working people and students can be made regarding rehearsal times.

The Dublin novelist Paul Murray will be reading from his new novel

The Dublin novelist Paul Murray will be reading from his new novel / The Dublin novelist Paul Murray will be reading from his new novel

Paul Murray, Der gute Banker / The Mark and the Void

Freitag, 18. November 2016, 20 Uhr

Buchhandlung Geist, Balgebrückstraße 16, 28195 Bremen

Eintritt: € 8,- / ermäßigt € 5,- Kartenvorverkauf: Buchhandlung Geist

Moderation/Lesung der deutschen Textstellen: Ian Watson

Paul Murray, Der gute Banker (Antje Kunstmann Verlag, 24.08.16)

Vom Autor des Bestsellers Skippy stirbt (dt. 2011). Hat Claude Martingale gehofft, er könne seinem Leben als Banker durch seinen Umzug von Paris nach Dublin die ersehnte Wende geben? Sein neuer Job in der aufstrebenden Bank von Torabundo raubt ihm jedenfalls schnell jegliche Illusion. Auch hier verbringt er, wie alle seine Kollegen, seine Tage und Nächte einzig im Dienste des Geldes. In diese lähmende Eintönigkeit platzt der Schriftsteller Paul, der, auf der Suche nach neuem Stoff, Claude zu seinem modernen Jedermann erkoren hat, zum Helden seines künftigen literarischen Meisterwerks. Unter Pauls höchst erfindungsreichem Einfluss wird Claudes Leben tatsächlich aufregender, besonders als die schöne griechische Kellnerin Ariadne ins Geschehen tritt.
Doch Paul treibt ein doppeltes Spiel, und auch die Bank von Torabundo erweist sich als weniger ehrenwert als erhofft: zwielichtige Übernahmen, dubioser Derivatehandel und eine neue Unternehmensstrategie, die sich »kontraintuitives Handeln« nennt – kann das alles gut gehen?

Paul Murray, The Mark and the Void (Random House, 2015; Penguin 2016)

Winner of the Everyman Wodehouse Prize 2016; a comic masterpiece about love, art, greed and the banking crisis, from the author of Skippy Dies (2010).
What links the Investment Bank of Torabundo, (yes, hots with an s, don’t ask), an art heist, a novel called For the Love of a Clown, a four-year-old boy named after TV detective Remington Steele, a lonely French banker, a tiny Pacific island, and a pest control business run by an ex-KGB man? You guessed it …
The Mark and the Void is Paul Murray’s madcap new novel of institutional folly, following the success of his wildly original breakout hit, Skippy Dies. While marooned at his banking job in the bewilderingly damp and insular realm known as Ireland, Claude Martingale is approached by a down-on-his-luck author, Paul, looking for his next great subject. Claude finds that his life gets steadily more exciting under Paul’s fictionalizing influence; he even falls in love with a beautiful waitress. But Paul’s plan is not what it seems-and neither is Claude’s employer, the Bank of Torabundo, which inflates through dodgy takeovers and derivatives-trading until-well, you can probably guess how that shakes out.
The Mark and the Void is a stirring examination of the deceptions carried out in the names of art, love and commerce – and is also probably the funniest novel ever written about a financial crisis.

Mehr über den Autor / More about the author:

Office hours in the lecture-free period (July 11th 2016 – October 14th 2016)

Office hours in the lecture-free period (July 11th 2016 – October 14th 2016)

July 13th 2016; July 27th 2016; August 10th 2016; August 31st 2016; September 28th 2016 and upon request

1:00 p. m – 3:00 p. m. – GW2 A3590

Please register on Stud.IP for a time slot of your choice (“Profile” “Appointments”) or alternatively contact me in advance if you would like to arrange an additional appointment (Stud.IP –

Twelfth Night June 21st – 24th, starting at 7. p. m.

21st24th June, starting at 7 p.m. (Doors open at 6.30 p.m.)
Schnürschuhtheater, Buntentorsteinweg 145, 28201 Bremen

The Parlement of Foules, Bremen University’s English drama troupe, is celebrating William Shakespeare’s 400th ‘departure’ year – ‘Parting is such sweet sorrow’ – with the production of a second of his plays, namely Twelfth Night (or What You Will…).

Tickets – still at the price of €12 (€8 for students and pupils) –
can be booked direct from the theatre: 0421-55 54 10 or online at

Director Michael Claridge [claridge[at]] writes:

“Using a slightly simplified text, we have updated the setting to shortly after the First World War. Sebastian and Viola, sailing on the good ship ‘Titania’, have the misfortune to hit a mine … The rest, as they arrive independently of each other in Illyria, is anything but silence, as a potentially tragic situation explodes into a world of comedy, self-love, passion, misrule and music, all packaged in some of the most moving but also wittiest and most poetic language – ‘That, that is, is,’ philosophizes Feste the fool, only to remark shortly thereafter that ‘Nothing that is, is’ … We are in a world of make-believe and self-delusion, one where appearances are all too deceptive.

But how will the situation be resolved? Five minutes from the end, it seems as if a host of hearts are about to be broken … How can Shakespeare manage to save the situation and restore order, peace and tranquillity?

This promises to be one of the most exhilarating productions the Foules have staged in their 18 years, the acting underpinned by plenty of live music and dance, as we bring Shakespeare’s language and his story riotously alive, yet underline its timeless messages.

„ Our Schools Pack, containing information about the play, our take on it, the plot and characters, and background material on Shakespeare’s time(s), is now available! If you would like an electronic copy, please contact the Pack editor, Franziska Ptok (who will also be playing Olivia), on franzi.ptok[at]

After each performance ends, there will be the opportunity for anyone from the audience to meet some of the cast and production crew onstage and discuss their experiences, their approach to the play, what it’s like to perform Shakespeare… in English… and other such aspects.

We look forward very much to seeing you in the Schnürschuh – even if (or especially because) Germany is playing Northern Ireland on the first night … !?!”

P.S. from Irish Culture Vultures messenger Ian Watson: So I’ll be there on the Second, Third or Fourth Night (or: What? You, Will?

Cultures Vultures – Poetry on the Road

Zwischen Donnerstag, dem 26.5. (Prelaunch: Poetry in the Kunsthalle) und Montag, dem 30 Mai (Poetry im Kippenberg-Gymnasium) treten 30 weltbekannte Dichter und Dichterinnen aus der ganzen Welt auf mehreren Bühnen in Bremen auf. Wie immer bietet das Festival 2016 viele Attraktionen und Höhepunkte, darunter die traditionelle große Eröffnung am Freitag, 27.5. um 20 Uhr im Theater am Goetheplatz mit. An diesem Abend lesen und performen: Adam Zagajewski, Polen; Alfred Brendel, Österreich; Georg Ringsgwandl, Deutschland; Kei Miller, Jamaika/Großbritannien; Linda Boström Knausgård, Schweden; Michael Augustin, Deutschland; Nora Bossong, Deutschland; Raoul Schrott, Österreich; Wiglaf Droste, Deutschland. Moderation: Silke Behl, Radio Bremen/Virtuelles Literaturhaus Bremen.

This year’s Anglophone poets are Tao Lin, Kei Miller and a legend from Ireland: John Sheahan, fiddler in the cult band The Dubliners.

Und ein persönliches Welcome home! an unsere eigene Bremer Nora Bossong.

Das volle Programm sowie Information über die Autor/inn/en finden Sie unter | You’ll find the complete programme and info about all the authors at

Kartenvorverkauf bei | Tickets at Buchhandlung Geist am Schnoor, Balgebrückstraße 16, 28195 Bremen, 0421 32 71 73 | & Theaterkasse, Goetheplatz 1-3, 28203 Bremen, 0421 365 3333

  1. auch

Bis dann / See you there,

Ian Watson, für / for Culture Vultures

Office hours in the lecture-free period (Feb 06th, 2016 – April, 3rd 2016)

Dr. Jana Nittel
Sprechzeiten für die vorlesungsfreie Zeit (06.02.2016 – 03.04.2016)
17.02.2016; 02.03.2016; 09.03.2016; 21.03.2016 und n.V.
13:00 Uhr – 15:00 Uhr – GW2 A3590
Anmeldung bitte über Stud.IP – „Profil“ – „Terminvergabe“ –
Office hours in the lecture-free period (Feb 06th, 2016 – April, 3rd 2016)
Feb, 17th 2016; March, 2nd 2016; March, 9th 2016; March, 21st 2016
1:00 p. m – 3:00 p. m. – GW2 A3590
Please register on Stud.IP for a time slot of your choice (“Profile” “Appointments”) or alternatively contact me in advance if you would like to arrange an additional appointment (Stud.IP –

Parlement of Foules blowing up a January storm

20. – 23. Januar 2016, 19:00 | Schnürschuh Theater, Buntentorsteinweg 145, 28201 Bremen

Performance: Culture Vultures Newsletter

Parlement of Foules blowing up a January storm

The Tempest

2016 is another celebratory Shakespeare year, with the 400th anniversary of the Bard’s death in April. To mark this, Bremen’s own Parlement of Foules will be putting on The Tempest, one of his last plays, and certainly the last of the well-known ones.

Parlement of Foules Logo

Doors open at 6.30; performances begin at 7 p.m.

Tickets (€12; €8 for pupils and students) can be booked direct from the theatre (0421 55 54 10).

Director Michael Claridge has conceived a ‘stripped down’ version of The Tempest, meaning that they have not only taken out about 30% of the text and simplified some of the language, but are also performing with only six actors, which will make for a fast-moving, powerful evening. Almost every actor will be playing two roles, which nicely underlines the aspect of duality in the play.

As usual, the Foules have put together a Schools Pack, which includes material specifically on the play, along with material that can be used in in-class discussions before and after attending a performance. The Schools Pack has been edited by the production’s Assistant Director Helena Gaubiz.

Teachers are very welcome to explore and exploit the material it contains. Any feedback would be most welcome.

For further information or feedback on the Schools Pack, contact Mike Claridge at claridge[at]

Brückenschläge 7 mit Inge Buck, Jutta Dornheim und Madjid Mohit

Brückenschläge 7 mit Inge Buck, Jutta Dornheim und Madjid Mohit
Mittwoch, 3. Februar 2016, 20 Uhr im
Bremer Presse Club, Schnoor 27
Mit der Literarischen Woche steht uns in Bremen ein fantastischer, hochkarätig besetzter Januar ins Haus, auf den wir uns alle freuen. Doch auch im Februar soll es ‚mit Glanz und Gloria’ weitergehen, nämlich mit der siebten Ausgabe der grenzüberschreitenden Lesungsreihe Brückenschläge.

Brückenschläge, die seit nunmehr fünf Jahren etablierte Bremer Lesereihe in zwei Sprachen, hat eine neue Heimat: stadtzentral im Bremer Presseclub, Schnoor 27. Der neue Veranstaltungsort hat eine wunderschöne Atmosphäre und eine optimale Verkehrsanbindung (Nähe zur Domsheide). Der Einstand in der neuen Umgebung kommt mit einer ganz besonderen Attraktion daher, nämlich mit einer Lesung in Deutsch und Persisch. Und: In der 7. Ausgabe werden wir das Vergnügen mit drei Lesenden haben: Inge Buck präsentiert Gedichte aus ihrem neulich erschienenen Gedichtband Unter dem Schnee, die ihr Verleger Madjid Mohit vom Sujet Verlag in seine Muttersprache übersetzt hat und vortragen wird. Jutta Dornheim liest Prosa und Lyrik in deutscher Sprache: Wir werden sowohl Bremen-Geschichten aus ihrem Buch Katzenmann, Roland, Faule Grete als auch brandneue, unveröffentlichte Texte – work in progress – zu hören bekommen. Live Musik von Madjid Mohit.
Moderation: Elke Marion Weiß und Ian Watson
Eintritt ist frei: „pay after view“ – der Hut geht um.
Mit freundlicher Unterstützung des Bremer Literaturkontors.

Culture Vultures Newsletter | Cornelia Petmecky im neuen Jahr

Liebe Vultures,
anbei zwei Auftritte unserer Kollegin Cornelia Petmecky.

1. Zunächst ein Gastspiel:
Der kleine Prinz
von Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Sonntag, den 17. Januar um 18 Uhr
Olbers-Planetarium, Werderstraße 73, 28199 Bremen
Kartenvorbestellung: 0421 40 88 99 300 und 240 39 75
Eintritt: 12€, Schüler und Studenten 8€, Kulturticket 5€

Wer kennt sie nicht, diese fantastische Erzählung über einen kleinen Jungen, der von einem unbekannten Asteroiden stammt und sich auf einer Reise von Planet zu Planet befindet. Auf der Erde angekommen trifft er in der Wüste auf einen Piloten, der dort mit seinem Flugzeug abgestürzt ist, und erzählt dem von seinen Erlebnissen. Die Essenz seiner Erfahrungen auf dieser Reise hat dieses Kunstmärchen weltberühmt gemacht: „Man sieht nur mit dem Herzen gut – Das Wesentliche ist für die Augen unsichtbar“. Der kleine Prinz des französischen Autors Antoine de Saint-Exupéry ist das meistübersetzte Buch der Welt nach der Bibel und dem Koran. Es ist für Menschen jeden Alters geeignet.

2. Und dann ein „Heimspiel“ beim Capriccio
Wir töten Stella
Novelle von Marlen Haushofer
Mittwoch, 24. Februar um 19 Uhr
Das Capriccio befindet sich im
Hotel Courtyard by Marriott in Bremen
Theodor-Heuss-Allee 2.
Kartenvorbestellung: 0421 696400 und 240 39 75.
Eintritt kostet jeweils 12€, für Schüler und Studenten 9€, Inhaber eines Stadt- oder Kulturtickets bezahlen 5€.

Kontakt und detaillierte Information:
Capriccio – Das kleine Kammerspiel für Theater, Literatur und Musik:
Cornelia Petmecky | Schauspiel/Regie/Rezitation | Jeder Satz ein Menschengesicht
0421 240 39 75 | 01520 89 65 903|