The Unwomanly Face of War

Theatre play directed by Malgorzata Warsicka in Theater Freiburg

From the ancient Trojan War to World War II to the current war in Ukraine, war is told by men. Women, on the other hand, remain unheard in war zones, in the military and even in history books. 

Around a million women fought in the Red Army during World War II, but their fate is little known. The Belarusian writer Svetlana Alexievich, who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2015, wrote down her memories. In their documentary novel “The unwomanly face of war” (Der Krieg hat kein weibliches Gesicht), the women describe the unheroic side of war, which is usually hidden in stories and memories. In contrast to the men who returned from the war, the female soldiers were by no means seen as heroines; on the contrary, they were treated with suspicion, even contempt.

The Polish director Małgorzata Warsicka tells the female perspective of war in a musical performance: a polyphonic story that breaks with taboos and stereotypes of the male view of war and forms a strong feminist counter-narrative.

Directed by Malgorzata Warsicka // Stage Agata Skwarczynska // Costumes Edyta Jermacz // Dramaturgy Laura Ellersdorfer // Composer and sound designer Paulina Miu Kühling // Choreography Anna Godowska // Live music Johanna Toivanen // With Laura Palacios, Marieke Kregel, Anja Schweitzer and Cornelia Dörr

Freiburg Theater

Photos by Rainer Muranyi