Fear Eats The Soul: How a 1970s Movie Travels to South Tyrol in 2019

by volpower
4 years ago

During the last weeks Volpower volunteers in South Tyrol have been engaged in the activities for the preparation of the theatre play “Fear Eats the Soul” (original title, Angst essen Seele auf). The play is produced by Volpower partner organization OEW (in German, Organisation für Eine solidarische Welt, in English Organization for a solidarity world) as part of its activities aimed at sensitizing the local population about the topics of diversity and coexistence.

Blogpost by Marzia Bona and Eleonora Psenner, EURAC

The dramaturgy – based on Rayner Werner Fassbinder’s movie from 1974 – tells the story of Emmi and Ali, whose love affair is put to a hard test by racism and envy from their social environment. One evening, Emmi meets Ali in a pub; the two seem to be quite different – she comes from Germany, he is from Morocco. Emmi is 20 years older than him. They nevertheless fall in love, but their relationship meets with broad rejection from their social environment and the couple becomes the target of envy, hatred and racism. Emmi and Ali have to fight for their love.

OEW presentation of the theatre play, directed by Michaela Senn and staging leading actress Margot Mayrhofer

OEW and director Michaela Senn have chosen this subject as it offers the chance to reflect on multiculturalism and xenophobia experience in everyday life in South Tyrol. The plot developed by Fassbinder sends a message to contemporary audiences, yet Volpower helped strengthening its potential in this sense. During the summer, volunteers have been directly involved in the fieldwork needed to “translate and actualize” the 1974-movie. With guidance from Eurac researchers and OEW staff, VOLPOWER volunteers collected interviews with mixed couples living in South Tyrol to grasp their feelings and experiences related to discrimination and xenophobia affecting their private life. They asked young and old people about their fears, experiences and visions. Their answers find expression in the piece, as the audio recordings will be part of the materials used by director Michaela Senn to build up her version of the play.

Volpower Volunteers working on the promotional campaign of the theatre play

Volunteers went beyond the preparatory fieldwork by also taking active part in the conceptualization and implementation of the promotional campaign. With support and ad-hoc guidance from both OEW and CoolTour staff (the second organization cooperating with Volpower in South Tyrol, along with OEW and ArteViva), they attended the rehearsals of the play, recording video and audio materials to then create the promotional materials. These activities have been crucially supported by the expertise of Cooltour, a youth communication project that supported VOLPOWER volunteers in developing storyboards and formats. 

The play will stage across different cities and towns of South Tyrol from December 4th-18th (the full program is available here). To satisfy your curiosity, here is a first clip created by Volpower team of volunteers in South Tyrol.