Sesam / ತಿಲ

with Ranga Shankara Bengaluru/ India and Westflügel Leipzig

Till Eulenspiegel, the cunning and crude anarchist from the old German folk book, and his kindred fools and tricksters from Asia are at the centre of this production with figures, masks and live music. In the face of social divisions, international conflicts and the aftermath of the pandemic, social inequality and political radicalisation, the figure of the fearless provocateur who relentlessly exposes truths is immensely appealing. Rich and poor, peasants and kings, artisans and priests alike are hoodwinked by Till, their weaknesses are exposed or they are simply confused with jugglery by the travelling street performer.

Back-translated, Till or Til means sesame, so anyone who can read the Sanskrit script in the title above reads Til, i.e. sesame. A grain that was cultivated in India thousands of years ago and is particularly precious for oil extraction. Sesame plays a role in Hindu festivals and customs and is used as a synonym for a tiny thing, a trifle, a quint.

A fleeting encounter between Surendranath and Wilde & Vogel at a puppet theatre festival led to the desire to work on a production together, and after years of international isolation during the pandemic, the opportunity to meet for the first time in Bengaluru, India, with the support of the Goethe Institute. Now the actors on and in front of the stage plunge into a joint adventure, always along language confusion, diverse cultural imprints, different generations and a wealth of stories, the crucial question clearly before their eyes: What does the fool say?

The people stood, opened their eyes and mouths and actually thought he was going to fly. Then Eulenspiegel began to laugh and exclaimed: “I thought there was no fool or foolish man in the world but me. But now I see that the whole town is full of fools. And if you all told me that you wanted to fly, I would not believe it. But you believe me, a fool! How could I fly? I am neither a goose nor a bird! Nor have I wings, and no one can fly without wings or feathers. Now you see that it is a lie.”
With that, he turned around, ran from the bay window and left the people standing there.

Performance: Soumya Bhagwat, Shravan Heggodu, Gagan Kumar, Sharat K
Puppet design: Shravan Heggodu, Michael Vogel
Live music, composition: Vivek G
Production management, dramaturgy, lights: S Surendranath
Direction, stage design: Michael Vogel
Dramaturgy, musical advice: Charlotte Wilde
Assistant to production: Sharat K

Ranga Shankara Bengaluru/ India in co-production with Westflügel Leipzig with the support of the
International Co-Production Fund of the Goethe Institute.

(photos Michael Vogel, Dana Ersing)

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