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Katharina Volckmer, “Appointment” with history

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Katharina Volckmer, “Appointment” with history

When Katharina Volckmer wrote her debut novel, she thought of a theatrical construction. A woman in a room with her psychoanalyst, it seems at first sight. With her gynecologist, she seems to be later. Finally, with her plastic surgeon. A German Catholic woman who lives in London, who in one breath, in a language that is not her mother tongue and precisely for this liberating, she speaks in front of a man that she only listens to. A woman who incorporates physical discomfort with historical discomfort and who, in order to make peace with herself, reaches the extreme decision. An explosion that can strike, a liberating eruption of words that allows her to repossess her body, “in a world built by male bodies that inform the universe and in which women are uncomfortable. it’s a foregone conclusion. No more German and no more woman in a hostile world thought only for males “.
This is what moves this dazzling novel, written in English and never released in Germany, immediately intercepted by Elisabetta Sgarbi who published it for “La Nave di Teseo” arousing great interest. So much so that another temperamental woman like Andree Ruth Shammah wanted to produce for the Franco Parenti Theater the show that made its debut at the Auditorium della Stella at the Spoleto Festival. To direct it, Fabio Cherstich who has chosen to stage an installation “not a doctor’s office, but a visual device in which, through the use of translucent lenses, opalescent glasses, photographic filters, the body of the protagonist and the his image may appear to the public in a changing and continuously transformable, fluid and mysterious form “.
Interpreter of the difficult monologue, an amazing Marta Pizzigallo who moves, writhes, almost wanting to get out of her own body, reborn. The title of the novel and the show is deliberately provocative, “The appointment. That is the story of a Jewish cock”, to give greater strength to the personal torment of a woman who does not recognize herself in her own body and has not been able to accept the meaning. of German guilt towards the Holocaust (What the Germans call Vergangenheitsbewältigung “overcoming the past”).
Katharina, she is German and lives in London, of Catholic education. But is your sense of guilt towards the Jewish people really still that strong?
“Very good. When I go to a dinner and they introduce me to someone and only after they tell me that he is Jewish, I feel very uneasy. I would like to apologize, do something but everything would be inappropriate. Then I am silent. Every German has had someone in the family enrolled in the Nazi party “.
In the text, the personal drama of the woman who would like to be a man intertwines with the historical drama.
“The refusal of a woman’s body and the refusal to belong to the people who exterminated the Jews, wear out the conscience to the point of self-destruction. The atonement for these sins is to have a doctor operate on a” circumcised Jewish cock ” Jewish, Dr. Seligman, who is entrusted with the monologue of the protagonist who tries to break the wall of silence of her existential condition. The body is identity, it reveals who we are “.
Have women always had a difficult relationship with the body?
“A very complex passage. Today back to topicality considering what happened in America regarding abortion. What happens in your head when something happens in your body? Work, sex, the relationship with mother and father, everything goes into it. at stake “.
The text is dramatic but above all at the beginning there is a lot of irony, we laugh thanks to a stinging cultured humor, Jewish style.
“With the director we thought of a stand up comedian, crazy fun. Humor is a fundamental meeting place. It is there that people can be reached in an immediate way. An anarchic territory where they can make the other feel uncomfortable and so on. create a question, a sensation. The audience is called to take a position on the gender issue, on the story that has its own memory, to what extent I can intervene on the story, on myself. By doing what she wants to do, the protagonist solves two problems and makes peace with herself and with society “.
What woman are you?
“I am a 35 year old straight woman, I have a partner but thinking about my body I heard a talking voice inside me and I wrote as in a flow. Then I thought about the meaning of being a woman and I came to the conclusion that it is not like that. important. I wrote in an anti-naturalistic, disjointed form, so that what I say becomes metaphorical, I hope incredibly poetic “.

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