Roland Dürre
Saturday August 5th, 2017

Theatre, States and the Church …

On Thursday, August, 2rd, I went to a debut performance at the Sommerhausen Torturmtheater. Currently, they are playing a piece by  Philipp Löhle. The title is “Der Wind macht das Fähnchen“.

This time around, four female actors play on the small Torturmtheater stage: Judith RiehlNadia SchwienbacherChristian Buse and David Lindermeier. Other active persons were Oliver Zimmer as the director and, of course, the great Angelika Relin, without whom this entire enterprise would not even exist.


Visiting the Sommerhausen Torturmtheater.


And Barbara and yours truly enjoyed the privilege of being present at the debut performance. We very much enjoyed a special performance. It was an evening as it will never return and it made me truly happy.

You cannot miss this performance. It will (only!) run until September, 30th, which means you already want to plan your trip to Sommerhausen. Here is the pre-view:


“Here it is, my whole pride” – the family. An experiment for the brave? 
In the year nineteen-hundred-and-some-uneven, when the world was still a better place, the story begins. Father, mother, son and daughter can be seen smiling in fast-motion as snapshots are taken at the breakfast table or during the Italy vacation. However, the bourgeois image is tricky, because as soon as hard times come, nobody stands up for the other. The family, too, depends on economic ups and downs. Everything collapses when father miscalculates the future of the modern “internetwork” and – consistently – gives notice. And it is this of all consistent acts he hands down to his son for life at the moment of truth.  
After crisis and separation, there is re-unification and new family portraits, seemingly in total harmony, but the idyll now has cracks. Irreparable cracks.


I had already been fascinated by the last play I had watched: “Eine Sommernacht”. Now it was even better – if that is possible. There is always great theatre at the Sommerhausen Torturmtheater. “Das Fähnchen“ is an exciting comedy with plenty of whit and intrigue!


It was a great theatre evening.


The beautiful conclusion of a wonderful day we had spent on our bikes. After approximately a hundred kilometres on our bikes on our way from Klingenberg to Sommerhausen, along the river Main with a few shortcuts through rolling hills, we arrived at Sommerhausen late in the afternoon. There was still time for refreshments and relaxing. And half an hour before the comedy started, we arrived at the Torturmtheater.


Some theatre before the theatre performance.


We enjoyed the always impressive theatre foyer and were looking forward to the performance. It was not altogether by force (it was not really necessary to listen carefully) that I listened to a conversation between a middle-aged gentleman (perhaps between forty and fifty) and an elderly couple (perhaps between sixty and seventy, with the lady not really saying anything, instead only reproachfully looking at her husband). For me, it was like a “small private theatre before the real theatre started“!

It was a dispute where the younger gentleman kept noisily finding it outrageous how the church behaved and what special rights that were no longer acceptable it took for granted. The other person tried to speak in defence of the church in a softer voice.

The younger gentleman criticized the church tax as a consequence of the concordat that seems to have been first installed in the 1930ies after negotiations with the Nazis. He found it annoying that leading church managers, like cardinals and bishops, get paid by the state.

The other gentleman pointed out that, after all, the church was socially very active with good deeds and that this was probably worth the price the state pays. Then the older gentleman said that the protestant church was probably better than the Catholic church. The younger gentleman countered that the protestant church actually made quite a huge profit with the Diakonie. And it continued in that manner.

Then the younger one found it lamentable that children had three hours of religious instruction at school where they were indoctrinated. The older one defended this system by claiming that school, basically, was not just there to teach knowledge, but also to give young people values. None of it was really high-level, the arguments were the same as always and nothing new. Not really exciting. Not even the values.

(After all, in my opinion, introducing values is actually part of teaching knowledge. But then, I learned a long time ago not to become an active participant in these kinds of discussions).

So I started thinking about the experiences I myself had had with the church. That reminded me of my friend and teacher Rupert Lay. I learned so much from him, above all that I have to appreciate my own qualities and take myself seriously. And that I have to be an autonomous person who is not easily manipulated.


The Jesuit Rupert Lay.


Rupert’s goal in life was to be there for the poorest of the poor. However, for him, that were not only the homeless and those who were ostracized from society. In his opinion, especially top managers belonged in this category. Which is probably correct. For me, it is hard to imagine any other profession (with the possible exception of pastors) where you have so many crazy people as among the directors of the German and international concerns. Sorry, but when I say “crazy”, I mean people who suffer from massive psychic illness and disorders.

Rupert Lay was mostly concerned with managers who had stayed sane. The “sick ones” were sorted out during his preparatory seminars. They never were allowed to attend his advanced seminars. After all, they would probably only have been a nuisance and would not have understood anything.

The really expensive fees you had to pay for Rupert Lay’s seminars were all transferred to his order, the Jesuits. And since Rupert Lay generally structured his activities to look like pastoral care, the tax office did not benefit either. At the time, some civil servants at the tax office found this extremely unfair, but apparently even they could not win against the power of the churches.


Heinrich Henckel von Donnersmark – Stage Name: Augustinus – and Rupert Lay.


I was also reminded of Father Augustinus, whose secular name was Henckel von Donnersmark. He was a baron. I knew him as well and liked him very much. Even though Rupert Lay was a Jesuit while Augustinus was a Premonstratensian Chorister. Both of them were the protagonists for ethics in business. I rather liked that. They were important counsellors of German top people in industry and politics. And they also made a good name for themselves as excellent speakers and management trainers.

Rupert Lay saw the system church a lot more critical than the “nice” Augustinus. Consequently, we (the Ronneburger Kreis) invited them to Frankfurt for a dispute. And we were quite surprised, because in the end there was far too much harmony. Basically, they kept telling the opponent that he was right.

For me, Augustinus was the best orator I ever knew. I well remember one of his presentations in Wiesbaden in the 1990ies for ICL – at the time a relevant IT producer from Great Britain. He had introduced himself as manager of “the enterprise Catholic Church” and described his role as that of the “lobbyist of the most powerful and oldest enterprise of the world”. Quite some self-irony.


Churches talk about peace and love.


On the other hand, the presentation also gave me an insight about myself that I see confirmed to this day. The church is an enterprise that has peace and love written all over its statutes. Quasi as Marketing. They have been doing this for more than 2,000 years. In all these years, it thrived with this message and became really rich and perhaps also powerful. I find it extremely sad that, in all those 2,000 years, it never managed (and perhaps never even wanted) to make the world a little more peaceful and love-oriented. On the contrary: to this day, the Catholic Church, along with its competition on the market, cause the opposite of peace and love: war and hatred.

Consequently, that was the time when I first understood that I do not wish to associate myself with a system like the church. Nor will I say more about it.

Just like I will never again vote for CDU/CSU because they are the reason why we had re-armament in Germany. The same is true for the SPD and the Green Party. I will not vote for these parties because they broke an important taboo when they allowed fighting missions abroad for the ‘German Armed Forces.
Basically, everything is quite simple:

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
And if you want to go to Sommerhausen by train, you want to look for the railway station of Winterhausen. From the Winterhausen station, it is only one kilometre to the theatre on foot..

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