I think of myself as a highly sensitive person. One day my therapist wrote something on her notebook, the letters H S P. She told me about high sensitivity and the meaning of it. »You are a highly sensitive person if the environment affects you maybe more than it should. Noise and light makes you struggle, you feel like you’re not able to fully concentrate. Also, sometimes you feel like other people’s feelings are your own. If someone is sad, it feels like you are sad too.«
Of course, other people are as sensitive, as empathic as I am. But still, sometimes I feel like I feel too much, I sense too much. But I don’t really like to tell my friends about it. When you talk about a thing called »high sensitivity« people normally react with a vague smile telling that they don’t want be rude but they actually don’t really care. High sensitivity, that’s probably something that people invented to excuse their problems.
Well, I really don’t know what exactly that – let’s call it phenomenon – describes since no scientist, no psychologist ever found a way to explain high sensitivity in a well-grounded, scientific way. Certainly, lots of esoteric papers tell highly sensitive people how special they are and that they’re gifted, some even talk about having a special connection to God. Sometimes it even feels like high sensitivity was invented by esotericism. And that gives high sensitivity a strange image. There are a few articles about high sensitivity tests, but do they really tell all they need to tell? What exactly happens in a brain of a H.S.P. that is different to other people’s brains? We don’t know all about it yet.
A few months ago, I read online that my colleague Jeffrey is going to make a play about high sensitivity. It really surprised me. At first, I didn’t think this topic was popular enough to make a play about it, on second thought it appeared to me to be really brave. I emailed Jeffrey because I wanted to know more about this project and how the idea came to him. He asked me to join the team.
We started working on it. And five out of ten people of the team are highly sensitive people. How do you rehearse, when five people are always worrying way too much about the feelings of the others? Is there always someone who thinks it’s too loud? Well, it’s something else. And it’s exhausting for everyone. But somehow it’s good because we get to think and discuss about this topic without being judged and without sitting in our therapist’s chair. We might be able to even find a way to explain high sensitivity. Explanation with art, theater? Indeed, it’s tough. But I think that Jeffrey gave the right direction with choosing the Undine material as some sort of overlay for the high-sensitivity topic.
Goldstaub team during the Brennender Schnee/Burning Snow production:
Jeffrey Döring – artistic director
Mariam Haas – set designer
Johana Gomez – set designer
Felix Nagl – sound designer
Iris Schwarz – motion designer
Simon Greiner – motion designer
Elmar Mellert – designer of the art book
Lisa Ströckens – soprano/ actress
Laila Richter – actress
Johannes May – actor
Pascal Zurek – bass baritone/ actor