New Theatre stages a lively foray into spaces geographical and utopian that calls into question the process and nature of meaning. Steudel’s coolly cerebral ‘Birch’ sequence about Vladimir Ilyich Lenin’s later life muses on power and identity, but is balanced by an intimate autobiographical long poem that gives quieter, equally surprising shorter pieces room to spike and bloom in this assured debut.
‘Shouldn’t the two long poems that prop up Steudel’s New Theatre react violently with each other? Wouldn’t a cancelling occur between the massive historical hinge-event set next to “properly” subjective modes and shards of beauty? Instead, they seem to exchange structural properties, or stand as figure for each other. A reverberating disturbance occurs offstage, within earshot, and we’re left holding her splintered locutions, her chiasmic constructions: “I am the machining.” It’s like a feedback loop we might be the cause of.’ – Ken Babstock
‘Birch, pine, kartofel. The man sits up in his grave, a hair pointing up on his head, not yet bald. In this there is neither bravado nor pathos. Steudel sticks to words, words stick to us, to her, to family, to Lenin, to Kandinsky. Gumilev whispers acrostic antirevolution from the Kovalevsky Forest. A shovel of earth! Assassins! In these quiet intent poems, Steudel shows us deftly that even the adepts of big theatres ache more fiercely in little theatres, made new. As she says herself: “-capture -bound -birth.” And I say: Steudel’s New Theatre is a stunning and accomplished debut.’ – Elisa Sampedrín