Documentary theater possesses a unique ability to respond to issues of pressing political import and social justice, and provides a platform and voice for the dispossessed. “Theater of the Voiceless”, a symposium and festival produced by Zeitgeist DC (Austrian Cultural Forum Washington, Goethe-Institut Washington and the Embassy of Switzerland) and the Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics at Georgetown University, brings together leading playwrights, artists, governmental, political and cultural experts from the United States and German-speaking countries to discuss, perform, and celebrate the international power and vitality of this art form.

Global migration challenges, government-sponsored genocide, terrorism and other manmade disasters that permanently alter our world view – these universal topics are addressed in non-fiction plays by playwrights interested in using their art for social change: Konradin Kunze and Sophia Stepf (Germany), Milo Rau (Swiss founder of the International Institute of Political Murder), and Kathrin Röggla (Austria). The Symposium and the Festival will feature workshop performances and readings of these playwrights’ plays produced in partnership with three of Washington DC’s largest theaters, a presentation about the power of documentary theater to affect social change by Ping Chong (one of the United States’ foremost practitioners of documentary theater), and performances of devised theater works specifically created for this symposium by two of Washington’s most innovative theater companies, as well as a screening of one of Europe’s most famous documentary theater pieces by Rimini Protokoll.

Documentary theater provides the perfect platform for the new partnership between Zeitgeist DC and the Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics at Georgetown University (The Lab). Zeitgeist DC is a collaboration of the Austrian Cultural Forum Washington, the Embassy of Switzerland, and the Goethe-Institut Washington. Its mission is to create cross-cultural understanding and awareness of universal social, political and environmental issues through performances of new cutting-edge plays by innovative playwrights from their countries. The Lab strives to develop interdisciplinary approaches to studying the power of the performing arts to advance peace, social justice, and increased understanding and collaboration across peoples and cultures.

Schedule:

Sunday, June 16, 7 pm
Konradin Kunze and Sophia Stepf: a small, small world
Director: Serge Seiden, Associate Producing Artistic Director, The Studio Theatre

Monday, June 17, 11 am – 6 pm
Theater of the Voiceless: An International Symposium of Documentary Theater in Performance

Monday, June 17, 7:30 – 10 pm
Milo Rau: Hate Radio
Director: Derek Goldman, Co-Artistic Director, Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics, Georgetown University

Tuesday, June 18, 7:30 pm
Kathrin Röggla: Worst Case
Director: Jenny Lord, The Shakespeare Theatre Company

Wednesday, June 19, 6:30 pm
Rimini Protokoll: Soil Sample Kazakhstan (Bodenprobe Kasachstan)