Vault preview: Going Deutsch

Jewish theatremaker Anna Clover explores “getting back together with Germany” for an EU passport in new Vault Festival show.

In Going Deutsch, Clover playfully explores when and if we should forgive and forget, delving into relationships, inherited trauma and diaspora.

Where: Cage at The Vaults.

When: 4-5 Feb, 6pm.

Ticket link: https://vaultfestival.com/events/going-deutsch/ 

Website: https://www.annaclover.co.uk/going-deutsch 

We asked Anna Clover to tell us more about the show: read on to find out more about Going Deutsch.

Promotional of Anna Clover in Going Deutsch

What’s the best thing about being part of Vault Festival? 

It’s a London festival, and there is so much to see in one place. Whenever I go as an audience member, I seek out one show to take a chance on for every ticket I buy to a show I have heard about. This way I have had some brilliant, surprising theatrical experiences. 

This is your first solo show, and quite a personal one. How are you feeling about it? 

As with much around my show, ‘it’s complicated’.  If we were to time travel back to 2016 I’m not sure what would have surprised me more, that I would make a solo show or that I would be a German citizen.  

When I first applied for my citizenship, I felt so smug to have a way in to holding an EU passport.

However, those feelings soon became mixed up with others that were not so good for a casual pub brag, due to the trauma experienced by my family that lead to them losing their citizenships’ in the first place.

Going Deutsch is my attempt to find the nuance and the place those feelings can exist together, in myself and also geographically! 

I am really excited to be able to share these complicated feelings with an audience, but I also feel anxious about sharing my Jewish-ness on stage.

It’s exposing. And being on stage on my own, there is nowhere to hide. I have done everything myself, written the show, and designed the show, so this is a lot of myself, just out there. I’m used to being part of a team, and this level of openness is scary. 

Having said that, this is a fun and joyful show, and I really can’t wait to live out some fantasies in front an audience and hear what they think and their responses to how complicated it all can feel.

What can people expect when they come to see Going Deutsch

I think at its heart, Going Deutsch is a rom com. A will they won’t they? A really even should they?

It’s me searching through my dirty washing, trying to work out what to wear, what fits. Listening to my favourite music that suddenly totally speaks to me, in a way it didn’t before.

The audience is cast as my friend in a bar toilet trying to figure out what’s in my heart and what’s in my head, and which (if either) I should listen to.

Imagine you’re eavesdropping on a date in a bar, and then get chatting with one half of the ‘couple’, and they have HISTORY, that is Going Deutsch.  

Theatrically speaking, it’s a two-handed play where you only get to see or hear from one of the characters.

There is music and jokes, a little bit of dancing and singing and sometimes it will get serious. I’m really proud to say I’ve had tears and laughter from my audiences, and they don’t always come at the things people might expect. 

Promotional image for Going Deutsch

Although this is a comedic show, it tackles serious topics like Brexit and trauma. Where did the inspiration for the show come from? 

I first had the idea for Going Deutsch after Brexit, when I discovered I was eligible to receive a German passport as a descendant of victims of Nazi persecution.

At that time, when multiple friends were reconnecting with their Irish heritages to retain EU citizenship, I was so excited and relieved to have a way to hold onto my own strong European identity.  

What I hadn’t anticipated was the range of perspectives others in my family had about taking this passport back and the way they talked about it reminded me of the language around people who return to abusive partners and the idea for Going Deutsch was born. 

If you have ever been spurned by a lover or a country, you will relate to this show. The show is thoughtful and, at times, provocative, but the aim is to make the audience laugh as well as think.  

I had wanted to make a show for a long about the intergenerational impact of being a refugee, something that would explore how the impact of violent displacement doesn’t end once someone is safe and settled.

I feel this is pertinent for us to remember whenever discussions around refugees come up, in any time. However, it wasn’t until 2020 that I felt clear about my way into exploring an aspect of this topic.

Brexit provided a tangible way in which my grandparents’ refugee experiences impacted me 70 years later, allowing me to start exploring all the much deeper ways I’ve been so completely shaped by their life experiences. 

You also work with Hackney Shed and Rhinoceros. How does that work inform Going Deutsch, and do you prefer working in a team to going solo? 

This is a really interesting question, and I think one I could answer forever, as in, those two areas between them inform me as a theatre maker on almost every level.

Rhinoceros, my improv team, gave me confidence in myself as a performer, as a funny person and access to people who were already creating work to inspire me.

Improv, in general, always reminds me to ‘say the thing!’, that often the first idea is good enough and its fear that makes us swerve away from it and above all to have your team mates backs, and if you’re your own team mate, that is even more crucial! 

Volunteering with and then working for Hackney Shed over the last ten years has changed my life. The young people I work with there, constantly remind me to trust the process, that we might not be there now, but we will get there, but that there might be somewhere quite different to where we originally imagined we were going.

Hackney Shed has also taught me a lot practically about managing resources, budgeting, and repurposing objects, as well as upping my sound and video editing skills from zero to a sturdy 5 thanks to lockdown. 

I am very lucky to be able to work in teams and as a solo artist, and hope to not have to choose between the two. They both bring me so much. 

Promotional image for Going Deutsch

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