On the first night we looked at maps – Los Alemanes del Volga


An intimate documentary performance for ten guests around a table with a gay couple, travelling through its family histories, to write its own story. Getting in touch with ancestors who can only be, who they want to be, when they are not at the place where they believe they would belong to.


Moving to live in a different place far away from home is like jumping into a void. And when we do it to live with the person we love, how can a couple fill this void? What new stories have to be invented, which ones have to be found in the past?

Photos, maps, documents and a song book are scattered on a table while a mate tea is circulated. The hosts of this documentary performance are a gay couple: Federico, whose grandfather grew up in a Volga German Colony in Argentina and has lived in Berlin for five years, and his future husband Wenzel, who was raised amongst the abandoned industries of a disappeared country.

The audience is invited to take their place at the table and to participate in a historical journey: from the German region of Hesse to the Volga River in Russia, on to the other side of the Atlantic and back to present-day Berlin. The journey follows in the footsteps of the Volga Germans, who left for Russia in the 18th century and a hundred years later continued their trip to the Americas – always foreign, always longing for a homeland that never existed.

Examining the fragments of different immigration stories in their own families, and grappling with the complexities and contradictions of identity, Wenzel U. Vöcks and Federico Schwindt search for a fluid narration to mould their own identity as a couple, a quest for a future where a queer heritage is possible.

Photos: Jana Kießer

Research, Text & Performance Wenzel U. Vöcks & Federico Schwindt

In cooperation with TATWERK | Performative Forschung
Thank you to Esther Samuels-Davis for drawing the figures for the toy theatre.

Show history:

* During the festival’s online edition Performing Arts Festival Berlin@home a video recording of the performance was available on demand in the festival’s Digital Showroom. // Based on the performance the festival invited us to create Instructions for those at home #1.
** Instead of the analogue festival we were invited to participate in Screaming into the void with a brief digital statement in form of a video as well as in two online discussions on Digital Theatre – Void and Vision.

Information for theatres and festivals

This production is available for touring. For further information please click on the link above and contact me.