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Necessarily superficial

by Tobias Philippen and Marc Schaefers

Weschaefersphilippen™are a German theatre publishing company and unsurprisingly deal firstly and foremost with German literature. It is what we linguistically and culturally are able to relate to the most.

We are particularly interested in working intensely with authors and artists, in interchanging as well as in keeping in touch. Phoning and meeting up, watching theatre together, reading many sketches or plays and so on are all part of this. Therefore much of what makes publishing exciting and vital for us is of course more difficult, if not impossible when it comes to a Bulgarian or Chinese author. This may naturally be different for colleagues who can master Chinese. The relationship remains a different one however, even when dealing with English or French language.

Here a festival, there a show
The involvement of German theatres with foreign theatres seems a superficial matter to us – here a festival, there a show and there a publication of a magazine. We can't blame anyone if their interest remains incipient. For apart from scientists, translators and maybe some journalists, no one is able to keep an eye on the foreign theatre scene.

One can either afford to jet through the world on a festival mission, or one has to be content with short insights. We as a publishing company don't have the resources to be intimate experts of the Russian theatre scene. Unless there is – like for example in England – a busy agency world that makes offers one just has to seize – if one wants to.

There isn't a long distance scan
In our opinion the German theatre system is so specific that an exchange wouldn't be easy. German municipal theatres can't acquire a taste for French comedies however clever they may be written, nor can the people in Estonia identify themselves with the explosions or even misfires of German stage direction theatre wholeheartedly. It is therefore perfectly understandable when international theatre exchange remains on the level of highly interesting and entertaining festivals. This then means the publishing company mainly views foreign literature as an idealistic enterprise.

When we discover foreign authors, it happens just as with their German counterparts. We come across them, we're filled with enthusiasm and we want to represent them. There is no kind of long distance scanning, much less so than there is in "standard countries" such as the USA, England and France. To be honest we also don't believe it to be our duty to deal with foreign theatre. On the contrary we tend to ask ourselves if German theatre shouldn't be more advertised abroad, and how this could be done.

Comments (1)Add Comment
French Farces
written by Kalinka, 07. October 2009
Und 'Kunst' von Yasmina Resa war kein Flächenbrand in den deutschen Stadttheatern? Augen auf, es gibt mehr als schlappe Pointen! Ein Gebot zur Ausschau an weiten Horizonten gibt es nicht, aber mein größter Respekt gilt vor allem den neugierigen und mutigen Verlegern!

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