“Sonntags wird gelogen or We Only Lie on Sundays”
Artistic Discipline: Theater
Category: Brooklyn Arts Fund
Grant Year: 2021
Location: Williamsburg

“Sonntags wird gelogen or We Only Lie on Sundays” is a live tanztheater performance created by LOCAL GRANDMA and German-American theater-maker Leonie Bell. This German-English-language evening-length piece, to be premiered at the Brick Theater in Williamsburg in December 2021, explores themes of intergenerational trauma, collective grief, the negative spaces that multilingual communication is often hidden away in, and the destructive effects that Capitalist structures have on intimacy. It carries dark humoristic undertones and traverses pseudo-historical periods and characters in a non-linear fashion with a variety of pedestrian movement-heavy sequences, original live music and acapella choral singing, and communal grieving rituals involving the audience.

Sequences include: A physically abstracted milk- spilling-and-birthing-sequence occurs between Gilly, a young woman, and Mama, whose obsession with waiting for her (long-lost) husband to return from the war has rendered everything including Gilly and her own war-trauma invisible. A group of 50s-style mothers perform a synchronized dance in search of their daughter, Hanna, who has left home and only writes home sporadically - this lack of child is unbearable. A strange chorus wrapped in yarn sings apologies to those wronged by Capitalism and an employee who frees herself from the clutches of the capital C and goes on a long search involving the audience for the long-longed-for adoptive (adult) child who will save her from geriatric isolation. A movement-based podcast of love letters to mothers is hosted by Gilly and Hanna. A matriarchal chaos rave takes place around the childhood phrase so many of us long to hear again: “Clean up your room!”

This piece is an ode to existential chaos as a secret invitation towards greater connection by threading together cross-cultural narratives and highlighting the negative spaces in which trauma, loss, miscommunication, and humor as a coping method cohabitate and produce new possibilities of intimate structures.