Theatre about children sent for health cure to Spiekeroog
They were given regular meals, were supposed to play carefree and recover in the fresh North Sea air. Until the end of the 1970s, numerous children and adolescents were sent to spa homes on the North Sea. When lung diseases or malnutrition were diagnosed, six-week cures were prescribed by the family doctors, sometimes even for small children.
But the stays in the home did not always achieve the desired effect: Four former children in the home reported about the strict treatment, the routine of running the home and the separation from the parental home for several weeks. These experiences made a lasting impression on the children and eventually shape their entire lives.
In the theatre performance »Sandbank«, the memories of the children who were sent away are portrayed alongside those of the educators, home directors and caretakers. The performance shows how much the interaction with children was still shaped by the experiences of the parents' generation during the war.
The play will be performed in the old Strandsporthalle in the dunes of Spiekeroog before the building is deconstructed in autumn.
© Siemssen / Jelinski Pictures of the performance
Company: Richard Gonlag, Asja-Ve Panning, Franziska Steinhaus, Andreas Ühlein and local actors
Script & Direction: Jens-Erwin Siemssen
Musical direction: Jan-Hendrik Ehlers
Costume Design: Sophia Lund
Production: Margarita Wiesner
Assistance direction: Süster Paulsen
Premiere: Strandsporthalle Spiekeroog • 25th of May 2022 • 7 pm
further performances Mondays to Fridays until 19th of August 2022
The play is currently performed every day in the beach hall on Spiekeroog as part of the summer theatre programme: here the director has turned the memories of contemporary witnesses on Spiekeroog into a play, SANDBANK, by the theatre "Das Letzte Kleinod".
The sandbank stands for everything forbidden on Spiekeroog, because people are not allowed to bathe on the bank because of the danger of being swept out to sea and drowning. Here, in a sports hall, with just the old sports equipment and a few other props found on the island in old children's homes, all the stages of the journey to the health resort are told and acted out. The caregivers also have their say, and the disappointment of the children about their parents sending them away is also addressed. A great performance by the four actors, two boys and two girls are portrayed, who at the same time stand for many other children, good acting, multi-layered, great and long-lasting applause.
»The play is extremely well executed.« He heard his own sentences from the mouths of the four actors. For him, it was a healing moment.
Pasemann found the scene under the tanning lamp particularly moving: »Gymnastic rings represent the oversized protective goggles in the performance. Girls and boys had to stand on the cold tiled floor, barefoot, dressed only in their underwear, so that they would get a healthy complexion.«
On the way to the ferry sepia-coloured posters can be spotted, with children fighting exuberantly against the sea waves. This is how the theatre group "Das Letzte Kleinod" from Schiffdorf in Lower Saxony announces their sixth production developed exclusively for Spiekeroog, SANDBANK.
With SANDBANK, Kleinod director Jens-Erwin Siemssen focuses on a specific episode. He does not use the children's holiday image of the poster, but works on the partly traumatising stays of children who were sent away to the health resorts on the island, to recover in the historical gem of the beach sports hall. (...) In order to avoid a depressing theatre evening, four actors perform in the usual Kleinod manner with found objects from the venue. In this case, gym class utensils. Box elements are used to create stage sets, hula hoops are used to suggest rattling bronchial tubes, and feelings of closeness and being trapped are also portrayed. Director Jens-Erwin Siemssen leaves hardly a sentence unillustrated, with the choreography of bodies and objects developing a fascinating drive.
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