restricted access "Lieber Walter"—"Lieber Gerhard": The Dramaturgical Strategies for Including the Correspondence of Benjamin and Scholem in the Performance of Passport


This article describes my work as the dramaturg for a production called Passport, directed by the Israeli director Yael Cramsky, which premiered in Tel Aviv in 2013. The performance consisted of a collage of two dialogical texts: selections from Brecht's Conversations of Refugees, written in Helsinki in 1940-1941 and the correspondence between Walter Benjamin and Gershom Scholem focusing on the period after Hitler's takeover of power in Germany, when Benjamin was forced to leave Berlin while Scholem was establishing his scholarly career in Jerusalem; as well as an adaptation of the story of a survivor from the Second World War, who escaped the Nazis fleeing east from Poland. The three texts were interwoven in the performance, illuminating and illustrating the experience of becoming and being a refugee from different perspectives, presenting three aspects of homelessness. My discussion gradually leads up to a very preliminary discussion of Benjamin's theory of the theatre (which is a subject that needs to be explored in depth) and how it influenced the dramaturgical process in working on Passport.