We saw ‘Quartet: A Journey to North‘ by Amir Reza Koohestani & Mahin Sadri at the Bellevue Theatre tonight. Quartet tells the story of two murders in contemporary Iran through the intertwined narratives of the two killers and two witnesses.
Definitely reminded me (both in terms of stage setup and narrative) of the works by Rabih Mroué. Also one of the video stills looked almost exactly as this pictures i took in Abyaneh last fall:
Looks peacefull but while we were enjoying the play a newborn Eurasian Coot was drowning in the canal outside of the theatre under the eyes of the helpless parents. R.I.P little fulica atra!
Went to see Constanza’s latest piece at the Schaubühne in Berlin on Saturday and quite liked it. With Brickland Constanza (and the equally amazing rest of the the Dorky Park ensemble) manages to combine usual chaos with something similar to a narrative that does not get lost in 2 hours of brutal chaos.
Brickland is about despair, insanity end everyday evils behind the walls of gated communities (the name is taken from an existing decaying community in the vicinity of the international airport on the outskirts of Buenos Aires). One of the strongest aspects of the performance is the tight integration of the beautiful video material (shot by Constanza and Maria Onis on location in Brickland, Brazil and Berlin) with the on-stage action. Works even better than it did in Back to the Preset (which is probably also due to the fact that they finally seem to have learned how to do a proper video projection at the Schaubühne).
So if you are are in Berlin and you ever considered giving up your 3 bedroom apartment in prenzlauerberg/friedrichshein/mitte for a place where the kids can safely play outside, then go see this show. (plays again on 18 december and then from 24 to 27 january).
… if you are in berlin on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday (8,9 & 10 March). Back to the Present is the first work of Constanza that i have seen (in the original version that played in the summer of 2003 in and abandoned, turn of the century warehouse in Berlin). This version was followed by a slightly adapted stage version that played at Schaubühne and was shown in among other places in Avignon, Bangalore, Madras and New Delhi and Tokyo. Now it is back in Berlin after more than a year and i am really looking forward to see it again. I just browsed the dorky park website to find a picture (but as it is all in flash that is more or less useless…) and came across a pdf document that claims to be a synopsis of the piece, which is somehow hard to believe, but it does contain a number associative gems that somehow capture the spirit of the show (text by Kevin Slavin):
Spirit. Meantime, we got robots on Mars. Just browsing. Just looking. We call one Spirit, and the other Opportunity. I’m not making this up: Spirit and Opportunity. Spirit is a disaster. It’s sending back signals, and the signals are garbage. If it’s communicating with something, it’s not with us. And another thing: it’s staying up all night. Spirit was supposed to sleep every night, to recharge the batteries, otherwise it will run out of power and die on Mars. Sleeping robots. What we don’t have, we make. What we have already, we make again. That it fails is no surprise. That ten million miles from home, a robot stays up all night, it’s no surprise.
Many years ago, Chicago was young, and pissing in the water it drank from. A fullgrown city dumping its garbage in the river it was built on, drinking from the river it was brushing teeth with. The water went foul, there were epidemics, people died. Come 1900, Chicago wakes up, builds a wall. Blocks off the lake upstream, turns that river around. Let’s be clear on this: they reversed a river.They turned a river around, so they could drink from upstream, so they could drink from the lake and piss in the river, now heading down- stream to the rest of America. If you understand this, you understand America’s twentieth century. If you understand this, you understand what it’s like to crash, lying in the street with liquid shit running down your legs, you understand what it’s like to betaken to the hospital, hooked up to machines. Someone had to think of that, reversing the river to send Chicago’s shit and garbage down Mississippi, someone dreamed that up. Someone else dreamed the crash and the streets to crash on. Somewhere, someone else dreamed of the ambulance. BACK TO THE PRESENT.
And then of course there is the slogan on the BttP sticker from 2003:
Tonight, tomorrow and on sunday Constanza’s most recent piece ‘Sure let’s talk about it will be’ playing at the HAU1 theatre in Berlin. Next weekend there will be a three-day re-run of ‘Back to the Present’ in the Schaubühne am Lehniner Platz. Finally on the first weekend of april ‘Big in Bombay‘ will be shown at the same place. (Sorry for not linking to individual pieces but the dorkypark website is based on flash and won’t allow direct links to individual sections)
Up until now i have been pretty sure that things around me are going down. I mean since i am 15 or so, thing’s around me close down: it may be no secret that i was totally in favor of my school closing down, but for the rest it is usually bad: municipal swimming pools close, train lines disappear, bank branch offices get replaced by card-eating machines and cultural institutions get forced to shut down by budget cuts (and then i am not even talking about good ole’ fordist factories here).
So when a new theater opens around the corner from your house that is actually quite an unbelievable development. But that is what just happened around the corner from our house. A group of actors, directors and other theater people have turned an unused backyard hall on pappel allee into the ballhaus ost (beware: beautiful but stupid flash site!!) .
On top of the fact that it probably takes a lot of guts to start a theater without subsidy and all the other positive signals being given by this bold act as they have been discussed in the feulleiton of almost every German newspaper in the last two weeks it is also a nice thing to suddenly have a theater around the corner: it means you can just go out of the door to see if there are tickets left for the night’s performance if you are sitting at home being bored or depressed or both. And that is exactly what i did tonight and i ended up seeing the premiere of ‘Don’t cry for me Adolf Hitler’ (by Uwe Moritz Eichler):
I would have never expected that i would actually enjoy a performance that for a good deal consist of songs performed in german but in the end i did: the piece is situated in a end of second world war german army field hospital (think mas*h) which is run by double playing nurses trying to protect their drug addict, signal relaying, love-sick patients from an imbecile army inspector and Adolf Hitler himself while musing about love and happiness. Sounds extremely cheesy but actually it is quite insightful an entertaining (big props to the sparse contributions by the trumpet player (Steffen Schult)).
If you are in Berlin and you understand German you can see further performances on 24, 25 feb and 5,8,10,17,22 and 23 march at Ballhaus Ost, Pappelallee 15.
Saturday the 20th is the premiere of ‘no wonder‘ Constanza’s newest piece at the HAU1 in berlin. I have not seen much of the piece but if the one early run through i have had the chance to see is any indication it will be a great show. No wonder is directed by Constanza but more importantly she is also performs in the piece, which makes me pretty excited.
After the premiere ‘no wonder’ will play on Sunday the 21st and Monday the 22nd. tickets are available from the HAU box office.
I have just posted two new photo sets to my flicker page. Both of them contain pictures that i have taken at performances of my girlfriend’s (Constanza Macras) dance/theatre company ‘dorky park‘. The first one contains pictures of a performance of her latest production ‘Big in Bombay’ last february at the Schaubühne in berlin. The second set contains pictures taken from an performance of the third part of her MIR trilogy, ‘MIR #3 endurance’. the pictures were taken at a performance in april in Bordeaux, this was the first time the piece was performed in three years. MIR #3 is probably my favorite piece from Constanza but that is probably also due to the fact that it was created when i did not know her yet. Suddenly seeing the piece (as opposed to witness the process of a piece evolving from scratch) in Bordeaux pretty much blew me away.
Tonight is the premiere of ‘Big in Bombay’ the latest work of Constanza Macras and her ‘dorky park‘ dance company. I took the picture for the postcard/poster while being in Bombay with parts of the group last December:
I have already seen a couple of rehearsals and i think the piece is great so go see it when you can. there will be shows in Berlin (Spielzeit Europa, Haus der Berliner Festspiele 22/23/26/27 january and in the Schaubühne 13/15/16/17/18/21/22/23/24 February, 2/3/4/6 april) and in Vienna (at the Schauspielhaus from 4 to 20 March).
And while i am at it there is a scene in the piece that ‘features’ me but for some reason i am called ‘Rainer’…