DIE TOTEN VON FEUERLAND
A radio play by Ulrike Haage and Andreas Ammer. Nominated for the “Preis der Kriegsblinden 2019”.
On May 11, 1830, the sailors of the research vessel “HMS Beagle” exchange with the indigenous people of Tierra del Fuego the young Orundellico of the Yamana tribe for a mother-of-pearl button. The 15-year-old gets the name Jemmy Button. Captain FitzRoy decided to take four of the young Fuegian hostages all the way to England “to become useful as interpreters, and be the means of establishing a friendly disposition towards Englishmen on the part of their countrymen.” Like many stories also this one does not go well…One year later, Fitzroy returned the three surviving Fuegans home. He took with him a young naturalist, Charles Darwin. Haage and Ammer do not talk about what they know or suspect anyway. But perform a revival ritual without moral gravity: An essential part of the radio play are original sound recordings of the Yamana people. The radio play – based on the diaries of Darwin and Fitzroy – tells of the consequences of being uprooted and became a model for Michael Ende’s children’s book character Jim Knopf a century later.
Manuscript, direction and composition: Ulrike Haage & Andreas Ammer.
Cast: Birte Schnöink, Lars Rudolph, Nora Gomringer, Paul Hanford, Peter Thiessen.
Editor: Ulrike Toma. Engineers: Philipp Fiedler, Sebastian Ohm, Gerd Ulrich Poggensee.
Radio premiere: NDR KULTUR, 10 October 2017
The radio play received the first price at the Radio Drama Festival 2019 in Canterbury, England. Excerpt of the Jury’s verdict: “First of all, this was a great true story from history that no one on the jury had ever heard. It felt like you were listening to something important. Within a few minutes of this piece starting, you felt in safe hands. Great radio drama.” And Kate Chisholm wrote in the Spectator: “Die Toten von Feuerland/The Dead of Tierra del Fuego (devised and directed by Ulrike Haage and Andreas Ammer) had a haunting soundscape, evoking the strangeness of the encounter between the English sailors and the naked islanders, the mutual incomprehension and suspicion. Part drama, part documentary history (with clips from phonograph recordings of the islanders made in the 1920s) this was mostly in German with some English passages. Strangely it lives on in the mind as if it had all been in English so vivid was its imagery.” This is the very sweet award trophy: