We Are Kaspar Hauser
Volcano Youth Theatre | Directed by Paul Davies
Kaspar Hauser was a foundling who appeared in Nuremberg, Germany in 1828. He was 16 years old and appeared to have spent most of his life chained in a cell. He could barely read, write or walk. There were many rumours about who he really was. He became something of a cause celebre throughout Europe. He underwent a process of civilisation and in return was killed in mysterious circumstances.
In 1967, Peter Handke’s first full-length play was based on Kaspar. And in 1974 Werner Herzog made a film called The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser.
Our interpretation of this minor European disaster comes to you via the talents of our youth group. When I was thinking about what kind of project we could make together I remembered Herzog’s brilliant film and thought there were some bizarre similarities between the difficulties Kaspar encountered and the challenges that our young people have to surmount. I was thinking, particularly, about the way in which language brings meaning and division into our lives.
As Handke says, as children and adults we learn words and sentences to say ‘yes’ and ‘no’ with; to name objects; to tell ourselves stories; to pretend that we are crazy. We learn sentences to educate ourselves and to get educated. Sometimes this process is pleasant, sometimes it is a tyranny.
We wanted to remind you of this in as entertaining a fashion as possible.