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Vienna museum cancels migrant ‘propaganda’ play

A controversial theater piece about two refugees, one from Syria and one "from Africa," has been canceled hours before its public premiere. But the government-commissioned play has been seen by thousands of children.

e Weltmuseum in Vienna on Friday canceled the first public performance of “World in Flux” (“Welt in Bewegung”), a play about migrants in Austria, shortly before its premiere following criticism that the government-commissioned work was “crude propaganda” and full of racist stereotypes. The work had already been seen by thousands of schoolchildren as part of a special free viewing program. ... Read More »

Harry Potter heads to the London stage

Five years after the last film, Harry Potter is back - and he's now a father and civil servant in the Ministry of Magic. Preview performances of the next chapter of the successful series begin in London on June 7. Books, films, memorabilia, amusement parks and now, a play: for nearly 20 years, boy wizard Harry Potter has been a global phenomenon and marketing success worth billions. And the brand has also made its creator, British author J.K. Rowling, rich. In 2011, Forbes magazine estimated Rowling's net worth at about $1 billion (900 million euros) - wealthier than Queen Elizabeth II. The first volume in the seven-part series, "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone," was released in the UK in 1997 with an initial print run of 500. Parts two and three soon followed, and sales began to multiply. The big breakthrough came in 2000 with the publication of the fourth volume, "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," which set off Potter mania. Rowling's books were the first youth novels to crack the international best-seller lists. Translated into 73 languages, the series has been read all over the world; age limits and cultural boundaries seemingly don't apply. Parallel universe People were - and still are - enchanted by Rowling's parallel universe, the world of magic that exists hidden alongside the Muggle world. Muggle, Rowling's term for a person that doesn't possess magical skills, has meanwhile joined the lexicon. People now use the term to describe any person who lacks a particular skill or is inferior, or uninitiated. In the world of geocaching, where players are sent on a scavenger hunt with geographical coordinates to search for a cache of items, the idea is to make sure the cache remains unobserved by non-geocachers, or muggles. Not over yet After the last volume, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," was published in 2007, fans around the world were forced to grudgingly accept that the story had come to an end. The film adaptation hit cinemas with much fanfare in 2010 and 2011, split into two parts - squeezed for every last penny. Harry's archenemy, Lord Voldemort, had been defeated, and the epilogue showed the boy wizard many years later, grown up, married and sending his own son off to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. And it's here, 19 years after the events in the "Deathly Hallows," that the story will continue. The first preview performance of "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" will premiere at London's Palace Theatre on June 7, with part two premiering two nights later. To satisfy fans eager for any scrap of information, Rowling's Pottermore website and the play's Twitter feed have already revealed a few details related to the eighth Harry Potter story, including photos of the actors playing the principal roles. These characters are already certain to return: overworked, middle-aged Harry, his wife Ginny and their son, Albus Severus, along with their two other children. Harry's friends Ron and Hermione will also appear, along with their daughter, Rose. Of course, it wouldn't be a Harry Potter story without eternal adversary Draco Malfoy and his son, who apparently has inherited the vile character traits of his father and grandfather. The play will officially open on July 30, with a book version appearing the next day, Harry Potter's birthday. As with its predecessors, the plot remains top secret - standard procedure for the Harry Potter marketing machine.

Five years after the last film, Harry Potter is back – and he’s now a father and civil servant in the Ministry of Magic. Preview performances of the next chapter of the successful series begin in London on June 7. Books, films, memorabilia, amusement parks and now, a play: for nearly 20 years, boy wizard Harry Potter has been a ... Read More »

Henning Mankell will live on in Mozambican culture

Mozambicans mourn the death of Swedish author Henning Mankell, the driving force behind the country's first and most important theater company. Swedish writer Henning Mankell died on Monday morning, at age 67, after a long battle with cancer. His Inspector Wallander crime novels brought him worldwide renown. But in Mozambique, he is best known for his work as stage and artistic director of the Mutumbela Gogo Theater Company. The job was offered to him in 1986. Two years before, he had been invited to speak at a one-week theater workshop in the capital, Maputo, and fell in love with the country. Until his death, he split his time between Sweden and Mozambique. He staged many popular plays at the most famous Mozambican theater, Teatro Avenida. "It is a privilege and a great adventure to work with so many talented people and to create the country's first professional theater", Mankell told DW in 2008. He felt at home in Mozambique: "In the world of theater it is not important that I come from another culture or country, or that I'm white." Theater is universal, he said. Theater until the end Even while battling cancer, Mankell insisted on staging one last play, Shakespeare's "Hamlet". An experience that actor Jorge Vaz will never forget: "Before learning that he was ill, he asked me if I wanted to play the role of Hamlet. He would have never staged it again if I had refused. I felt a huge responsibility, it isn't an easy role. But I said yes." Vaz and other Mutumbela Gogo actors say that professionalism is Henning Mankell's biggest legacy: "He taught me so much. I learned to work very hard, to be on time and to take the theater very seriously… because it is a profession. I learned a lot and I'll keep on learning," said Vaz. He adds that it was a privilege to work two years with Mankell in Mutumbela Gogo: "It is not enough to say that his death is an immense and irreparable loss. Henning was a part of my life, not only professionally, as an actor, but also personally, since I joined the company at such a young age." "A noble, caring man" Actress Lucrécia Paco was also very close to the Swedish artist. She played the leading role in many of the plays he staged and even appeared on the cover of one of his books. "I feel I lost a father", she said over the phone, her voice choked. Paco was in Sweden when she heard the news about Mankell's death. "He was not only a great stage director; he was also a great man. Sweden and Mozambique have lost a noble, caring person with a great artistic gift." She says that Mankell helped many Mozambicans, particularly children, even though "he never bragged about it". One thing that the Swedish author never hid was his passion for Mozambique. He often said that he had a great respect for the people's constant fight against poverty. In 2008, Mankell told DW how much he cared for the country. "There is a letter in Sweden, written by me, stating that, if something happens to me, I could be buried here."

Mozambicans mourn the death of Swedish author Henning Mankell, the driving force behind the country’s first and most important theater company. Swedish writer Henning Mankell died on Monday morning, at age 67, after a long battle with cancer. His Inspector Wallander crime novels brought him worldwide renown. But in Mozambique, he is best known for his work as stage and ... Read More »

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