By Bill Landauer

It’s a plight that’s all too familiar. The voices resonate, no matter the language.

Voices. Die Schutzsuchenden (The Protection Seekers). is a play by students from the German 431 creative writing seminar. Inspired by the work of Nobel Laureate Elfriede Jelinek, the topic was the struggle of refugees around the world. The students’ play comes from Jelinek’s Charges (The Supplicants), which is about immigrants who took refuge in Votiv-Church in Vienna during the long and cold winter months of 2012 while waiting to hear whether Austria would grant them asylum or send them back.

Guided by Max Kade writer-in-residence Judith Nika Pfeifer and Margarete Lamb-Faffelberger, professor of German and director of the Max Kade Center for German Studies, the students created a thought-provoking text collage consisting of their own writings, text, and image materials from media, and quotes from Jelinek’s play.

The chorus in the play is a reference to Aischylos’ Greek drama The Suppliants (470 BCE) that served Jelinek as source for her play.

Shown here is a brief excerpt from Voices. For English subtitles, choose Closed Captioning. 

Playwrights and actors

Ashlee Belkevich ’18 German and neuroscience

Khulganaa Buyannemekh ’18 neuroscience

Michael Fischer ’20 mechanical engineering and German

Christopher Mayer ’20 economics and philosophy

Jennifer Salvatore ’18 mathematics and economics

Zhen “Steffi” Shi ’18 German

Jack R. Standbridge ’18 German

Chorus

Stu Badertscher ’20 economics

Matt Deorocki ’18 history and government & law

Gunnar Dickey ’18 mechanical engineering

Gwendolyn Eva Ellis ’20 history and economics

Rachel Harrington ’18 engineering

Matt Klepinger ’18 German and economics

Kelly O’Brien ’18 neuroscience

Jackson Miller ’19 physics

Sarah Mudrick ’18 psychology and English

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