Thursday, 21 January 2010

Unserdeutsch and Berlin

One of the people who read the interview in the Frankfurter Allgemeine about Unserdeutsch was Marc Pohl, a theatre producer with Aktionsbank, e.V. (, a not-for-profit drama group in Berlin that tends to work with issues that push traditional borders. Marc thought the idea would be an interesting idea to base a play on, so he cut the article out and put it in a drawer to "Deal with later".

Two years later, "later" arrived when he was cleaning out his apartment and came across the article again. Resolving to do something with the idea, he used Google to find me at my university in Japan. He explained his interest in the idea, but, of course, knowing nothing about Papua New Guinea, he wanted to pick my brain about it. As luck would have it, I was planning a trip to Berlin during my next summer holiday, so we arranged to meet up.

When we met in the summer of 2005 at an outside beer garden in Berlin, I was pleasantly surprised to find out how much research he had done in the meantime and how many old books he had found about the German colonial period in New Guinea. We hit it off and decided to go ahead with some kind of a theatre piece based on how the Unserdeutsch-speaking community began in the late 1800s in New Britain-- if Marc could get funding.

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