For her new project, Yael Ronen and the ensemble set off on a historical and artistic research project on the history of »witches« and their persecution in Europe.
The phenomena of witch hunts reached its peak in Germany in the early modern period between the Reformation and wars of religion that followed and didn’t conclude until around 1800. More than half of all female victims around the world were burned in German cities and villages. Tens of thousands of women lost their lives. The Bible verse »Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.« (Exodus, 22, 17) had transformed itself into an instrument for the general persecution and disciplining of women.
At that time of capitalism’s beginnings, the modern patriarchy was coming into being, and it has proven itself to be surprisingly difficult to stamp out. Does the character of the witch serve as the justification for a powerful image that continued to devalue the female in the religious as well as the economic world over the following centuries?
Ronen and ensemble look behind the traditional image for a potential practice of resistance, or even utopia, for overcoming the patriarchy and its images of women and men. With the tools of the theater she researches how this story is written into the bodies of women and how these bodies can free themselves from an experience of oppression. What knowledge, what practices were lost during the persecution of »witches«, who might have been healers and advisors, especially for the poor? Which performative rituals have survived in contemporary shamanism beyond male monotheism and could inspire an art that dreams of freeing all bodies – female and male and everything in between? And how can theater, through its rituals and stories, act on and talk about this?
The project is gearing up and working on a prompt destruction of the patriarchy. The Witches are coming back!
Photo: Esra Rotthoff
Stage Photos: Ute Langkafel