Three Questions to Yosi Wanunu

About us

Yosi Wanunu: The Rashomon effect, which has become a widely recognized English term, refers to significantly different perspectives on and interpretations of the same dramatic event by different eyewitnesses.

The Rashomon effect shows up in many intellectual undertakings that deal with contested interpretations of events with disagreements and evidence for them, or with subjectivity/objectivity, memory, and perception. We come to terms with these complex situations through dialogue, negotiation, and communication. It is precisely this dialogue of opposites that we would like to stage in our cycle using the Rashomon effect method of both storytelling and analysis.

Isabella Händler, Barca Baxant, Florian Tröbinger, Anat Stainberg, © TimTom

How did you come up with this topic? What has shaped you in this respect?

Yosi Wanunu: I was working on the new Rashomon Cycle when I came across The Three Christs of Ypsilanti. I wanted to do a show specifically about the Rashomon of identities. I knew instantly that the story fits the Rashomon effect. The basic Rashomon was simple: Three troubled and profoundly different men find themselves confronted with the ultimate contradiction conceivable for human beings, more than one person claiming the same identity, each believing himself to be Jesus Christ.

From the show’s text:

Speaker (Anna Mendelssohn): Ladies and gentlemen and those lucky enough to transcend gender, in 1959, Dr. Milton Rokeach, a social psychologist, received a research grant to bring together three psychotics, and institutionalize patients at Ypsilanti State Hospital in Michigan, Rokeach conducted a two-and-a-half-year study of them. He was interested, above all, in the forms personhood can take, or to put it in today’s terminology the problem of identity.

DR. M (Anat Stainberg): What are your pronouns?

J1 (Isabella Händler): Jesus

DR. M: What are your pronouns?

J2 (Florian Tröbinger): Jesus

DR. M: What are your pronouns?

J3 (Markus Zett): Jesus

DR. M: So, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus

Isabella Händler, Anat Steinberg, Barca Baxant, Florian Tröbinger, © TimTom

On your website, it says: “We have been putting on shows that deal with the not knowing”. What does this mean for you and your working process?

Yosi Wanunu: It’s simple. We present some story/topic/issues to the audience. We don’t pretend to have an answer/solution/message. We don’t know. We leave the audience to make sense of what they saw.

Die Fragen stellte Hannah Lioba Egenolf.

Foto Titelbild: TimTom