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  • Unser Deutschlandmärchen ★★★★


Unser Deutschlandmärchen ★★★★

Hakan Savaş Mican's 'Unser Deutschlandmärchen' is a moving musical about the queer son of working-class Turkish immigrants in Germany.

Photo: Ute Langkafel

The “German Fairytale” is perhaps the German equivalent of the American Dream, but you will find no simple rags-to-riches story in Unser Deutschlandmärchen (“Our German Fairytale”). This moving musical conveys the sharp bite of Dinçer Güçyeter’s original novel, a Künstlerroman about the queer son of working-class Turkish immigrants who wants a life beyond the factory.

Pairing down the novel’s polyphony to focus on the story of Dinçer and Fatma, whose absolute devotion to her boy both nurtures and injures, Hakan Savaş Mican’s production holds the ideological limits of Germany and Turkish-German immigrant culture to account while also providing a cinematic showcase for the irrepressible talent of his leads. As Dinçer, Taner Şahintürk convinces equally as a seven-year-old child buying his factory-working mother high heels with his first week’s earnings (to be worn only once) and as a former actor who has seen family men snort coke off cocks, returning to his mother’s home to take up a job in a factory as she always wanted.

Though the action proceeds chronologically from 1979 to the present, this piece also believes time is not linear, as Fatma (played as fierce, blinkered and sympathetic by a spectacular Sesede Terziyan) tells her son in her final speech. She compels him to attend to the Schichten of Geschichte – the layers of history – and to write everything that she could not say, including the quotidianly tragic history of his female forebears, which still presses upon him. And Terziyan and Şahintürk impress this truth on the audience; when they cry on stage, we cry with them. But this is no catharsis. Afterward, we must sit and ponder the questions that this beautiful performance raises in haunting song and powerful poetry – of a brutal world of deferred dreams, cramped horizons and generations of abuse. 

  • Unser Deutschlandmärchen (d. Hakan Savaş Mican) May 2, Maxim Gorki Theatre (English with German surtitles), details.