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Rainer Werner Fassbinder

Ali: Fear Eats Your Soul

Original title: Angst essen Seele auf
Stage adaptation of the film Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (Angst essen Seele auf)
World premiere

Director

Sebastijan Horvat

Opening nights

15 and 16 March 2019
Fassbinderplatz: Slovenian Railway Museum, Parmova 35, Ljubljana Bežigrad

Duration:

140 minutes inc. active interval

Germany, 1970s. A 40-year-old Moroccan, El Hedi Ben Salem MʼBarek Mohammed Mustafa, called Ali, is one of the many migrant workers from his country, trying to pursue happiness in the golden years of economic migrations. Emmi, a 60-year-old widow, earns a living as a cleaning lady. A genuine feeling of warmth and attraction springs up momentarily between her and Ali. However, their relationship stumbles upon strong prejudice and lack of understanding from their environment: Emmi’s female neighbours, co-workers, her grown-up children and even her local shop-keeper. They grow increasingly cold and even hostile. Ali’s origin and his social position of a »guest worker« challenge their narrowly restricted notions of humanity, while they are being equally upset by his relationship with Emmi, 20 years his senior. In his acclaimed movie Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (1974), Rainer Werner Fassbinder divulges a multi-layered and gripping love story set on the margins of society. Using his signature modernist aesthetics he allows the viewer to confront social stereotypes that even today – especially in view of the recent wave of migrations, xenophobia and conservatism – remain neuralgic points of society and humanity.

It’s raining outside. In the bar, Arabian music is playing. Guests are mostly immigrants. An elderly woman enters the bar and orders a coke. A blond waitress taunts a young Arabian man to ask the woman to dance. Emmi and Ali are dancing. Other guests are watching them. We will see their gazes throughout the story many times.
Them against us.
An external refugee and an internal refugee are dancing.
Emmi and Ali are plagued by a series of differences in terms of race and age, and yet they are attracted and bonded into an impossible romantic relationship by something more substantial: they are both lonely. Shyly, Emmi says that she’s a cleaner working two shifts and that people look down upon her. Ali, however, puts it more bluntly:
»Work, work, always work, always be drunk. […] German masters, Arab dogs. The Germans are not good with the Arabs. «
»Why?«
»I don’t know. The Germans are not the same people as the Arabs. «
By being a couple, Emmi and Ali are an insult to the entire neighbourhood.
Emmi and Ali are happy when they are on their own, but they can nonetheless escape their toxic environment. The story toys with the genre of melodrama, but what prevents it to become one is silent despair. Happiness isn’t always fun.
»Why are you crying?«
»I’m so happy and so full of fear too.«
»Have no fear. Fear is not okay. Fear eats your soul.«
»That sounds nice. Is this what the Arabs say?«
»Yes, this is what all Arabs say.«
In Fassbinder, one is used to brutal sexuality, while here we are confronted by stunning tenderness.
»When we’re together, we have to be kind to one another.«
»I don’t want any other women. I only love you. »
»I love you too.«

Sebastijan Horvat

* Other music used in the performance: Vico Torriani, Du schwarzer Zigeuner, The Love Unlimited Orchestra, Love’s Theme, Peter Alexander, Komm und bau dir deinen Traum (Leute im Campingzelt), David Bowie, Heroes, Heintje, Klein sein, das ist schön, David Bowie, Wild Is the Wind
** Lighting master Aleš Vrhovec/Mitja Kek/Branko Šulc

Creators

Creative team

TRANSLATED FROM GERMAN BY

Urška Brodar

Drama Igralec: Urška Brodar | odpri ustvarjalca

TRANSLATED FROM SERBIAN BY

Jernej Potočan

Drama Igralec: Jernej Potočan | odpri ustvarjalca

ADAPTATION AND DRAMATURGY

Milan Marković Matthis

Drama Igralec: Milan Marković Matthis | odpri ustvarjalca

SET DESIGNER

Igor Vasiljev

Drama Igralec: Igor Vasiljev | odpri ustvarjalca

COSTUME DESIGNER

Belinda Radulović

Drama Igralec: Belinda Radulović | odpri ustvarjalca

COMPOSER

Drago Ivanuša*

Drama Igralec: Drago Ivanuša* | odpri ustvarjalca

LIGHTING DESIGNER**

Aleksandar Čavlek

Drama Igralec: Aleksandar Čavlek | odpri ustvarjalca

LANGUAGE CONSULTANT

Arko

Drama Igralec: Arko | odpri ustvarjalca

ASSISTANT DIRECTOR

Mitja Lovše

Drama Igralec: Mitja Lovše | odpri ustvarjalca

ASSISTANT DRAMATURG

Jernej Potočan

Drama Igralec: Jernej Potočan | odpri ustvarjalca

ASSISTANT SET DESIGNER

Maruša Mali

Drama Igralec: Maruša Mali | odpri ustvarjalca

ASSISTANT COSTUME DESIGNER

Bernarda Popelar Lesjak

Drama Igralec: Bernarda Popelar Lesjak | odpri ustvarjalca

ASSISTANT DIRECTOR (STUDENT)

Maša Pelko

Drama Igralec: Maša Pelko | odpri ustvarjalca

Cast

Iztok Drabik Jug

Salem

Barbara ŽefranDrama Igralec: Barbara Žefran | odpri igralca

Mrs Ellis; Frieda

Boris MihaljDrama Igralec: Boris Mihalj | odpri igralca/Mitja Lovše

Eugen; Doctor

Borut Doljšak

Fuad; Bruno

Damjana Černe

Mrs Karges; Hedwig

Nik Škrlec/Gregor Podričnik

Mr Gruber; Waiter

Saša MihelčičDrama Igralec: Saša Mihelčič | odpri igralca/Tina VrbnjakDrama Igralec: Tina Vrbnjak | odpri igralca

Krista; Mrs Münchmeyer; Jolanda

Tamara Avguštin

Katharina; Paula; Angermayerʼs Wife

Vojko ZidarDrama Igralec: Vojko Zidar | odpri igralca

Angermayer; Foreman

Awards

2019

Grand Prix for best production on the 53rd Bitef

The Newspaper Politika Award for best direction on the 53rd Bitef

Audience Award for best production on the 53rd Bitef

Recognition Award by the Slovenian Sociological Association for the promotion of important sociological topics in the general public within the Slovenian cultural space 2019

Best Performance of the previous theatre season (2018/19) by the Association of Theatre Critics and Researchers of Slovenia

Sebastijan Horvat – Special Borštnik Jury Award for Artistic Gesture

Nataša Barbara GračnerBorštnik Award for Acting

Iztok Drabik Jug – Borštnik Award for Acting

Festivals

2021

25th International Theatre Festival Kontakt 2021, TEATR im. WILAMA HORZYCY, Toruń, Poland

2019

53rd Bitef, Belgrade, Serbia

54th Maribor Theatre Festival

Partners

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