The Heinrich Boll Foundation

The Heinrich Boll Foundation’s name sake is a Nobel prize winning laureate. The foundation is part of an international green party movement. It is a state of the art, award winning building on Berlin’s east side. It’s greener than green: uber modern. It even uses the computer network servers as a source of heating.  They’re kept in cool racks which remove heat  as a fridge does. Water flows into the cool racks at a temperature of 23 degrees C, where it is warmed by the servers to around 30 degrees C. It is then fed into the heating system and circulated through the offices to keep them comfortably warm. Cool huh.

I have been invited to read here tonight at the snappily titled The European Governance of Migration conference on The Political management of Mobility Economy and Security. The event is planned in the run-up to the second UN Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) in October of 2008. I was  on stage in five minutes time  and my books where in an office which I had been using to prepare for the reading. I left the office to visit the toilet. But as the office door efficiently closed I just knew. It was locked. I had five minutes I was dying for the toilet and the books were now locked in an office.  Nice.

So I entered the adjacent room to see if there was a connecting door to the library, but as the door of that room closed behind me I just knew.  I was  now locked in to one of the most energy efficient buildings in Germany. There was no connecting door and I could see the speakers stage on the other side of the building,  through the glass,  where the audience waited patiently.

They could not see me and the glass was soundproofed so I unceremoniuosly jumped around like a mad man trying to get their attention. No luck.  I eventually found a door and raced down an internal fire escape until I reached the back of the reception area.    The  shocked receptionist  rushed me back up to the library keys in hand, where I collected my books and  skipped over to the  stage, regained my breath drank a little water. it was the literature equivelant of spinal tap.  

 I read the entire text of Something Dark. I have only ever read it  once before at California State University. And even then i only read the first half. But after reading the first half of the play I ask the audience “would you like me to continue”. They respond enthusiastically. So I continue until the end of the play. It was really special.

People from all over the world whom had been in a conference, some since nine this morning, have just sat and listened to me read my play, not even perform it, for one hour and ten minutes.    I first read poetry   in Germany twenty  years ago. It all began in Hamburg.    I have released records here and  performed many of the main cities and literature festivals, but I should  tour Germany with Something Dark as a gift to them and to myself. Touring the play abroad is what I should do.  

3 thoughts on “The Heinrich Boll Foundation

  1. Dear Lemn,
    I was in the audience on that evening (unfourtenatly I missed your jumping around behind a glass window) and it was very, very special indeed.In years I haven't been so shaken and touched, yet entertained by a performance. Still today I am so deeply impressed by the engergy and intimacy you created (despite this truly uber modern setting)! I am so, so glad to have lasted through all the dry speeches before – listening to you could even weigh out a three day conference on the norwegian tax system!
    I've been telling my friends about you. We will keep an eye on your website and should you really come back to Germany we will make very sure not to miss your performances.
    Thank you so much for sharing your story, your wit, your presence. This evening will stay with me for a long time to come.

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