A Fierce Dance in the Ruins of Hopes
The Tin Drum by Günter Grass was published in Germany in 1959. Decades have passed since the events described in the book, but the problems in today’s world are the same: geopolitical anxiety and the divisiveness of society, a yearning for a new world order, the devaluation of democracy, the rise of extremism and populism, extreme social stratification, the resurgence of autocracy and dictatorship… A range of topics that shake the foundations of human existence becomes a weird whole in Grass’s work. A human being living on the eve of and during World War II, in the throes of the tensions between great powers and amid all the atrocities of war, has no other option left than to create an identity for themselves. When the world around you is absurdly grotesque, when the values have become distorted, and your mere existence is something to bear the blame for, then you must find a new path. The human of a new era emerges, taking matters into their own hands.
Oskar, the protagonist of The Tin Drum, decides on his third birthday that he will stop growing. He beats the tin drum he has received for his birthday; while around him, conflicts break out on both the political and the personal arena; the world war starts; Danzig, his home town, is invaded; his loved ones get killed… Oskar doesn’t let anything get under his skin. He knows what the wants; and he does what he needs to do in order to get it.
Director Taavi Tõnisson:
The Tin Drum gives a face and a voice to many small, ordinary people who are trapped in their time. The guiding force of the production will be play, total manipulation of everything and everyone. It’s going to be kind of a tour through different art movements, styles of play, and forms of storytelling. This world is inhabited by eight actors – a choir, an ensemble, a band with eight members – who are playing all parts. In addition to the means of expression characteristic of spoken theatre, we also make use of the techniques of visual theatre (incl. object and puppet theatre), as well as live music, which is being performed by the actors. It’s a balancing act between the believable and the unbelievable. In the midst of merciless, cruel, grotesque, and tragic manipulation, it is far from unambiguous who is the puppeteer and who is the puppet.
Is love possible? Is there any hope at all for a brighter future and positive human relations?