As I watch the play 2 +X Welten at Pumpenhaus in Muenster, I was carried away by the spirit of the cast, they remind me so much of the kids I come across daily on my street back home in Jos Nigeria. It is not easy placing them in a German scenery in my mind yet here they are here expressing themselves in a way that is best experience if you are in the theatre - and in German too.
2+X Welten is an all male cast of teenage children of Immigrants of african descent who are going through what teenagers go through and at the same time dealing with growing up as Africans in Germany. 2+X Worlds as the name implies is talking about living in both worlds at the same time, in the play they talk about perceptions people in Africa have about Europe and how no matter what the grass is still attractively greener on the other side, they also try to portray the struggles they and their parents go through trying to adapt to the German way of life as they earn their living and coping with demanding relations, friends, sometimes even neighbours back home.
The play started by each one introducing himself saying how many kilometers they’ve traveled to come to Germany, and that for me represent how far each of their hearts have been ripped apart. Ever since its foundation in 1992 as an anti-racism theatre group Cactus Young Theatre (which was then called Cactus Youth Theatre was led of Barbara Kemmler – a few years later Alban Renz became the second leader of Cactus) has carried out inter-cultural theatre projects. The important social-political theme of how people with a background of migration are, or are not, integrated into society and how they do or don't participate in the community has been a central concern of Cactus from the start. Since 2005, with the establishment of the 'Yes-to-Diversity Cultural Workshop', the inter-cultural theme has been a main focus of work.
The Pumpenhaus Theatre in Münster launch a play “s/w remix“ in Oct. 2008 with great success. Since then it has been played 12 times as guest performances outside the region, in front of international audience at a Conference of English Language and Literature specialists at the Westphalian University of Münster and at an international Festival of Youth Theatre in Koblenz. In 2011 „s/w remix“ is invited to an international theatre-festival in Norway.
In 2011 Cactus Young Theatre also produced a play with 13 young actors from Africa (Kenya, Somalia, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Guinea, etc.): called “2+X worlds”. Because of its success, Cactus will play this production in different places in Germany and also for the third time at the Pumpenhaus Theatre in Münster.
It is really a 2+X worlds as the two cannot be merged, in the words of Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel ‘Germany’s effort to build a multicultural society had utterly failed’, she went ahead to say that immigrants should integrate and adopt Germany’s culture and values which sounded so easy - only difficult in practice.
Even though Black Germans form an integral part of German society and make their contribution in many areas, being black and German at the same time is as hard as it sound. This play is particularly true of the younger generation, that is young adults and adolescents 'of color’, most of whom were born in Germany or have spent a significant part of their childhood here.
And for the 13 young African actors on stage that day who ignoring the stares sometimes on the street and weird questions at school have come to call Germany home, Africa without the Bahnhof or snow is also home. And in between that they are presently living in Münster, watch them make your city - their city a 2+X Worlds for everyone.
Below is my video interview session with the Director and cast of the play.
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