Johnny’s Jihad

American Taliban

My piece JOHNNY’S JIHAD, a chamber play in blank verse, is dedicated to the ideologically most charged concept of the western community of values: freedom. It tells how one, raised in the most freely circumstances, escapes from freedom in the certainties of faith, as a second, a defender of freedom, orders torture to protect it and a third, despising freedom and faith, play each other against each other to justify his rule by a state of emergency.

Marc von Pommerening

Das Ensemble

Cast of the premiere January 7, 2009 – at 8 pm in the FFT-Kammerspiele Düsseldorf

Author: Marc Pommerening
Staging: J.U.Lensing
Music composition: Debasish Bhattacharjee & J.U.Lensing
Tablas: Debasish Bhattacharjee
Musical Assistance / Tanpura Game: Conny Rave
Scenography: J.U.Lensing
Stage design: Jürgen Steger
Stage painting: Wilfried Münze
Costume Support: Catarina Di Fiore
Light: Moritz Müller
Body training: Jacqueline Fischer
Production Assistance / Stage Renovation: Miriam Raether
Poster design: Rosa Rühling
Print design: Ernst Merheim
Photos: Oliver Eltinger
Starring: Tyson: Kai Bettermann; Lindh: Andreas Furcht; Dostum: Peter Princz

About the Production

Johnny’s Jihad – American Taliban is based on true events. In late 2001, twenty-year-old John Walker Lindh, a San Francisco American citizen, was arrested as a Taliban fighter by his compatriots in Afghanistan. Why did the son of liberal parents convert to Islam and, as a warrior of God, join the worst of fundamentalists? “Was caught in the free world,” says Pommerening to reply, “Freedom is a nothing / That tells me nothing.”

1999: John Lindh, a young American who has lost faith in Western values ​​and found new values ​​in Islam. John is seeking the adventure and true access to the Koran in Yemen, Pakistan, and is suddenly a convert to the Afghan Taliban training camp.

2001: Captured at the beginning of fighting between the Afghan Northern Alliance and the Taliban, he survives the bloody Masar i Sharif prison uprising and unexpectedly faces a compatriot. The Special Forces agent Dave Tyson is stunned to face an “American Taliban” as an enemy, and is scrutinizing whether the human rights or even the “Civil War Logic” of the allied Northern Alliance General Dostum will apply to him …

A political thriller, a text reminiscent of Shakespeare in a gripping chamber play in which language is supported by Indian percussion to music and the basic topics, such as “Western values” against torture, Muslim fanaticism against power interests are negotiated.

In the dense staging of J.U.Lensing, the linguistic approach was condensed from “Gregorius”. The text by Marc von Pommerening in blank verse provided the ideal basis for a musicalisation of text based on a rhythm composition, which was developed by J.U.Lensing together with the 3 actors and the Indian musician Debasish Bhattacharjee (assistant: Conny Rave).

The piece is the only chamber piece of the THEATER DER DER KLÄNGE, which is also based on a finished text template and represents as such in succession with the dance theater piece “I’m a different” by Jacqueline Fischer a fishing and resting point in the work of the Theater der Klänge dar.