We are the Rubbish from Eastern Europe

Documentary theatre project by Georg Genoux and the actors’ collective Theatre Replika with support from the Goethe Institute of Bulgaria. 


We are the Rubbish from Eastern Europe merges two documentary theatre projects. The first, 'Rubbish', tells the stories of people in Sofia who survive off the contents of the city’s rubbish bins. The second, 'Exodus', depicts the lives of people who want to emigrate or, in some cases have already emigrated, from Bulgaria. We are the Rubbish from Eastern Europe is a title for the project devised by the actors and directors in an effort to draw connections between these topics presented under one title.

The performance is very personal. The actors tell their own stories and those of their close friends. All of the stories included in the show were chosen because they spoke to the artists’ own experiences. The project is an attempt to work through these issues as they relate to the larger socio-cultural circumstance of contemporary Bulgaria.


We are the Rubbish from Eastern Europe is an expression of the artists’ feelings about how they are treated by their government. Some western Europeans express panicked concern at the idea that Bulgarians and Romanians are coming to take their jobs and their money. Meanwhile, thousands of Bulgarian women and girls are working as prostitutes throughout western Europe. Many men from western Europe treat all eastern European women as though they were prostitutes, and this has led a lot of Bulgarians in the west to hide from their national heritage, pretending to be from Spain or other western countries. Nonetheless, thousands of Bulgarians will emigrate in 2014 as the new European emigration laws take effect. In this sense, the state of affairs has truly led to an exodus of people leaving Bulgaria in hopes of finding new and better lives. This stems from the harsh realities of life in Bulgaria; the absence of acceptable and accessible healthcare where people do not have to fear going to the hospital, the unemployment rate and the lack of future work opportunities, and severe poverty. These are the factors that have led to a deficit of faith in the future of the country and the growing sentiment that the government steals from its own people and humiliates them with its corrupt practices. The grotesque actions of the government do not make any effort to improve the quality of life for Bulgarian citizens. Even the opposition appears to have little power to make a difference in such an environment. However, in their conversations with Bulgarians who have settled elsewhere, the actors have found that the lives of émigrés are also quite different from what they had previously imagined. Many of these stories present a surprising depiction of the people of western Europe.


The actors of We are the Rubbish from Eastern Europe present their own stories as well as the voices of Bulgarians across Europe both east and west. They do not perform a copy of reality but rather use exclusively real-life material presented in the here and now.

We are the Rubbish from Eastern Europe premiered on the 27th of January, 2014 at the 
Redhouse in Sofia.


18h and 19th of October 2014 the project We are the Rubbish from Eastern Europe  performed at the Maxim Gorki Theatre in Berlin.


10th of May 2014 the President of the Republic of Bulgaria Rossen Plewneliew presented the Award "Stoyan Kambarev" for contemporary art to Teatr Replika for their projects with director Georg Genoux "We are the Rubbish from Eastern Europe", "A couple of two poor polish speaking Romaniens" and "Truth..beyond the arctic circle".


23th of May Nikola Wandow in Kultura about the work of Teatr Replika and Georg Genoux in Bulgaria:  "This completly simplified new kind of theatre performed by Replika is obviosly the most interesting trend in recent years".


 

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