Heiner Goebbels’ ›Black on White‹

Japanese Premiere at the Festival Kyoto Experiment

Heiner Goebbels tailored his musical theatre work ›Schwarz auf Weiß‹ to Ensemble Modern’s abilities. The collective ensemble itself is the protagonist. The 18 musicians are actors and musicians at the same time, conquering the stage. Tennis balls bounce off a large drum, delicate koto sounds are heard, a kettle sings to a complex flute melody. The musicians play not only their own instruments, but also form a wind band which evokes associations of an Italian banda. The scenes and events of the piece take place in constant flow, and the light spaces ingeniously created by Jean Kalman have their own dramaturgy. Add to this the recurring, pre-recorded voice of Heiner Müller reading Edgar Allan Poe’s parable ›Shadow‹. Heiner Goebbels: »To me, ›Black on White ‹ and also Poe’s ›Shadow‹ are parables of writing, or, more specifically, of a form of art in which not only one voice is heard – for example that of the writer – but something resembling a collective voice, a collective ego, experience, remembrance. To me, Heiner Müller represented this kind of writing, which is why I always and frequently enjoyed working with his texts.« ›Schwarz auf Weiß‹ was first performed in Frankfurt am Main in 1996 and has been performed all over the world numerous times, most recently in Jerusalem and Rome. Now the work will have its Japanese premiere on October 27 and 28, 2017 at the international festival Kyoto Experiment.