I changed jobs. Almost two years after starting at Goethe-Institut Seoul in late 2011, I got an offer to teach German at a high school. More concretely: give conversation classes. Two weeks before the first day after summer break, I got a first look at “Conversation Room No. 4” (회화실 4호), my future arena.
So far, the room is rather bare, with some traces of my predecessor. I tore of the poster on Germany and left the map. This place reminds me of Peter Brook’s famous “empty space”:
I can take an empty space and call it a bare stage. A man walks across this empty space whilst someone else is watching him, and this is all that is needed for an act of theatre to be engaged.
(Peter Brook, The Empty Space, Touchstone 1996 , p. 9)
While walking across the room, I thought about what things I might do here in the following weeks, months, possibly years. Well, I guess I’ll speak a lot, after all this is about conversation. I’ll also try to remain silent when necessary.
Apart from that, there is not much I can do, I suppose. The audience has to fill out its active role in the autopoietic feedback-loop (Fischer-Lichte) that keeps the class going. I might bring some pictures, play some music, sing along, and ask the students to join me.
I’m looking forward to this act to engage… Will it be deadly, holy, or rough theatre? I get money for my act, that’s for sure. I try my best to make that play as immediate as possible.
– 1 Aug. 2013 (木)