Posters for German Stage
1. I’m Just Like You, I Love Apples
Award-winning German playwright Theresia Walser’s I Am Just Like You, I Like Apples portrays three wives of dictators who meet on a TV talk-show: Margot Honecker (GDR), Imelda Marcos (Philippines) and Leila Ben Ali (Tunisia). An interpreter tries his best to mediate, but instead promotes a rivalry of monstrous proportions in which even the smallest misunderstanding sparks a fatal political catastrophe. As if in the midst of friendly neighbors, they gossip about Stalin’s parties, Mao’s hand kisses and gifts from Castro. Even assassinations and rebellions are treated nonchalantly—necessary evils, really. Theresia Walser transforms the banality of evil into an absurd grotesque mockery.
2. A Little Calm Before the Storm
Thomas Bernhard’s Histrionics meets Bernd Eichinger’s The Downfall: Three actors are preparing for a panel discussion about the portrayability of Hitler. Since the host hasn’t arrived yet, they chat on an empty stage about their profession and hit on a basic problem right away: Is the stage really empty? Isn’t it already occupied with questions before anyone ever enters? Two of the men have already played Hitler, the third only Goebbels so far, but all this was for the big screen. Would the theater make different demands on them? Hitler was a real person after all, and theater is obliged to depict reality, isn’t it? Culture war erupts and rages in an almost fundamentalist way between the old “con of naturalism” and today’s “radical pack” who prefer to stuff their shows with video and trashy music. In the midst of their conversation, the three gentlemen become aware how deeply they’ve fallen into the theater trap. Because actually they were to have this conversation later, in the presence of an audience....
3. The Whole World
“Schnitzel, pasta salad...there’s more to it than meets the eye.” God of Carnage meets Beckett. From the playwright who brought you A Little Calm Before the Storm and I’m Just Like You, I Love Apples, award winning playwright Theresia Walser pairs up with her writing and real life partner, Karl-Heinz Ott, to bring you this hilarious and absurd dark comedy which redefines kitchen drama by literally turning everything in this kitchen upside down.
Marianna Salzmann’s Mameloschn portrays three women, three generations, three ways of life. A hilarious new, award-winning play, it touches upon questions of identity and belonging which are set against questions of personal freedoms and responsibility to the family. Further, it asks “what did it mean to live as a Jew in East Germany and what does it mean in modern-day Germany?” Winner of Best Play of the Year Award 2013 at Mülheimer Theatertage.
5. The Golden Dragon
Five actors play seventeen characters (including a cricket) in this absurdist dark comedy that takes place in and around The Golden Dragon, a hole-in-the-wall Asian takeout that is an allegory for immigration and exploitation in an increasingly globalized world.
Aron, Nurit and Sedat grew up in Germany, but they don’t feel at home there. They are caught between fatherland and mother love, friendship and betrayal, past and future generations, struggling for where they belong. They appear funny and cool, as if in a good mood, until the very thin ice beneath breaks…
7. Let Us Find the Words
Two great twentieth-century poets, Paul Celan and Ingeborg Bachmann, were wildly attracted to one another and had a mysterious affair for years. Their tragic love story is reflected in the letters they wrote to each other.
Photo: Erkan Barin
8. Now the Jerk Is Somewhere Else Again
Igor and Andrej step into a Berlin subway car in search of their dealer. But, the “Jerk” has already moved on. Without empathy or any kind of visible motive, the two begin killing off anything and everything in their sight, God included, although only after hearing him out on where the World is headed and the next winning lottery numbers. Igor and Andrej’s voyage continues… With a great knack for black humor, Juri Sternburg sends his two protagonists on a quest for meaning that turns into a nihilistic road movie.
9. Threesome without Simone
This psychological thriller revolves around three teenagers accused of abusing a girl during a school trip. Now home, her boyfriend, ex-boyfriend and nerdy admirer are summoned to the principal’s office to account for their whereabouts on the night in question.
Karla is missing. Vlado, Sophia, and Sophia’s sister—the play’s narrator—leave the safety of their apartment to search for their missing friend. As their story slowly unravels, it becomes clear that the narrator isn’t as reliable as she seems and Vlado has been keeping a secret.
11. Voltaire & Frederick
Commissioned in honor of Frederick II’s 300th birthday, Voltaire and Frederick: A Life in Letters is an overview of the pen-pal friendship between these two great thinkers that spanned almost half a century. The play is made up of selected letter exchanges between the great French-European Philosopher and the Royal Prince (and later King) of Prussia, beginning when the latter was a mere 24 years old (and the former 42) and ending with the eulogy Frederick II wrote in memoriam of Voltaire’s death in 1778. Their intensive correspondence on everything from questions of torture and human rights to good and bad governance, from handling a global financial crisis to judging whether a war is justified or unjustified, all in the context of a newly enlightened Europe, is surprisingly modern. Much of it rings true in our own politicized times including the ongoing German-French wrangling at the center of Europe. Voltaire and Frederick’s tempestuous and unfolding love-hate relationship gives insight not only into the history of the 18th century but also into more general ideas about love, desire, desperation, death and God.
Photo: Erkan Barin