Dan Scott’s moving new play, Verständnis (Understanding), is about feeling ‘in-between’ and about the importance of understanding one another. It reflects the experiences of so many individuals who have at some point felt ‘other’.
Nick is a half-German, half-British teenager who moves to Coventry after being raised in Cologne – his paternal grandparents are in Birmingham, and his mother longs for Europe. Against the backdrop of a failing marriage, we witness his confusion about figuring out where home is. This leads to a poignant discovery of a sense of place, and a sense of self.
This fresh new production is directed by award-winning South African-British theatre-maker, Greg Homann. It is performed in a dynamic direct-to-audience storytelling style mixing English and German with English subtitles. Over 100 illustrations aid the fast-paced storytelling form – the experience is like watching a graphic novel on the stage!
The work is produced, with support from Sum Project, by Polish-British producer Joanna Woźnicka, who says, “By presenting this touching play in a post-pandemic and post-Brexit Britain, we want to create a welcoming space of connection for anyone who feels ‘othered’. As a multi-national team with connections to Central Europe, Eastern Europe and Southern Africa, we believe migrant representation is necessary for the arts. Our goal is to share the experience of being ‘in-between’, and show it with humour, empathy, and warmth.”
The performance at Nonsuch Studios is the culmination of a broader Arts Council England-funded project that includes development with a local illustrator and a bilingual German-English cast. Although the play’s unique form is likely to attract broad audience appeal, the project connects specifically with the diverse migrant population of the Midlands. It enables a fantastic opportunity to engage a community that feels increasingly isolated in Britain. The play’s themes encourage understanding, healing and connection.
Funded by Arts Council England, with support in kind by Sum Project Ltd., New Perspectives, Nonsuch Studios, Centrala Space, and Migrants in Theatre.