Why do theatre in the days of the Internet and Multimedia? Why go through all the nerve-racking process of learning lines and moving on stage, when all you have to do is lean back and watch it on TV? Well, it has to do with fun, with the whole group participating in and living through the process of a production – high- and lowlights.
There are about thirty of us at the “Institut für England- und Amerikastudien” at Goethe-University Frankfurt working with the Chaincourt Theatre Company. The company has existed for more than twenty years now, putting on at least one production per term. One of the lecturers at the Institute is responsible not only for teaching English and American literature and culture, but also for directing our plays. In 1997, James Fisk, a professional Canadian director and actor, joined our group. He studied at Concordia University, Montreal, and at the Drama Studio London in Berkeley and has worked – acting, directing and producing – in San Francisco and New York before coming to Europe.
Of course, not all of us act; there are also a lot of “workers” backstage: set designers, carpenters, assistant directors, make-up artists, PR people and so on.
It is always fascinating – on or off stage – to watch members of the company “find their roles”, see them progress from the first reading of the play to the night of the premiere. Some of us have discovered our own theatrical talent here and have been accepted at drama and musical schools, or have become professional actors and directors. Doing theatre confronts us with our real selves, which is what makes theatre such a fascinating experience. Besides, it is also a unique way to practise English!