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MARK JACKSON is English Theatre Berlin´s Fall 2013 Playwright In Residence.

He will direct a staged reading of his play Salomania.

In 1895, Maud Durrant moved from San Francisco to Berlin, Germany, to study music. Shortly after, her brother killed two girls in the belfry of a church. Their mother told Maud to stay in Europe and change her name, lest the scandal ruin her career. Now going by Maud Allan, she became a major celebrity in Great Britain as a dancer and society personality. In 1918, in the weariest depths of WWI, she was accused by a British MP, Noel Pemberton-Billing, of being a lesbian, sadist, and German sympathizer as evidenced by her having played the title role in a private production of Oscar Wilde’s Salome.

Against the advice of friends in high places, Maud sued Billing for libel. He then used the case as a platform to promote a conspiracy theory involving a secret German book listing the names of 47,000 traitors to England, all held under the thumb of homosexual German agents. While soldiers continued to fight and die in the mud of France, people back home read the latest on the salacious events of the trial. Salomania uses this story as the basis to ask questions about how people deal with anxiety in times of incredible change. How can a society allow itself to be both hysterical and “civilized” at the same time, and expect to function either well, morally, or respectably?

Mark Jackson is a playwright, director, and performer based in San Francisco, USA. He was Artistic Director of Art Street Theatre from 1995 to 2004, during which time he wrote, directed and performed in numerous productions for the company. Mark’s work in the San Francisco area has also been seen at Aurora Theatre Company, Encore Theatre Company, EXIT Theatre, Marin Theatre Company, Potrzebie Dance Project, San Francisco International Arts Festival, Shotgun Players, and Z Space, among others. Nationally at The Catamounts (Denver) and The Studio Theatre (Washington D.C.). Internationally at Arts International Festival IV (Japan), Edinburgh Festival Fringe (UK), and Deutsches Theater Berlin (Germany). Mark has been a resident playwright of the Djerassi Resident Artists Program, where he was awarded the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation Honorary Fellowship, and received a 2005 Bundeskanzler-Stipendium of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. Mark has been a company member of The Shotgun Players since 2010.

Bridge Markland: robbers in the box

bridge_robbers in the box

One of Germany’s most popular plays by one of Germany’s most popular authors, Friedrich Schiller – Radical and provocative at the time of its premiere in 1782, Bridge Markland presents it as a fast-speed One-Woman plus Puppets-Lip-Sync-Show with sexy Ken dolls as robbers and an original East German nutcracker.
Rebellion, envy, love, stubborness, hero-worship and desperation! Markland reinforces Schiller’s strong language with more then 150 songs, including many film themes ranging from Wagner´s Ride of the Valkyries to Lady Gaga, from Ennio Morricone to the theme from Dallas, Rammstein and a lot more great music.

Schiller’s translated text is spoken by actors from Berlin’s English-language theatre community like Peter Scollin from Playtpus Theater as the Old Moor, or Jeffrey Mittleman as Spiegelberg, and many others.

English-language premiere of robbers in the box: January 24th 2013 at English Theatre Berlin

Bridge Markland: faust in the box

faust_in_the_boxJohann Wolfgang Goethe’s Faust as a one-woman-show featuring hand puppets and pop music. With an intense physicality, Bridge Markland performs high speed changes between Mephisto, Faust and Margarete/Gretchen using the puppets as her opponents. She acts to a sound collage made up of the text of the play and popular music from different generations.

“… With almost demonic facial twitches and contortions, she paints a Joker-like, mad… world, changing between the three characters of Faust, Mephistopheles and Gretchen …” BBC Scotland

“… it works so well I became fascinated to see and hear just what was about to happen next. … It is superbly performed and very very cleverly written and designed …”

“… The parallels between the well known text and it’s translation into pop songs of the past four decades are impressive and funny at the same time. Bridge Markland walks on the rather narrow edge between modern debate and persiflage. When Margaret recognises at the end that she is on AC/DCs “Highway to hell”, this borderline finally becomes blurred in a great and new attempt to interpret the classic for many generations. This comprehensive attempt was successful. “ Mannheimer Morgen

Bridge Markland, the Berlin dance-theatre performance artist, is a virtuoso in role-play and transformation. An artist who effortlessly crosses the boundaries between sub- and high culture, between dance, theatre, performance, children’s – and puppet-theater.

faust in the box saw several successful international tours over the years

Photo: Dirk Holtkamp-Endemann

Lady Lay

a new play by LYDIA STRYK

“I´ll let you be in my dreams if I can be in yours.”

English Theatre Berlin > LADY LAYMarianne has worked at the Berliner Arbeitsamt all her life and then she hears Bob Dylan on the radio and the Wall falls down.

Although she can hardly understand the words, she takes a journey—both joyful and terrifying—into Dylan’s world, putting her very existence in jeopardy.

“There must be some way out of here …”

“Welcome to the Office of Employment. Berlin Division, District Seven. It is run as an efficient operation. And it is. It’s a system, after all. It could run without us. Maybe it will one day. It has rules. But behind the rules is reality. And no two things could be more opposite. Rule: You must work. Reality: There is no work. Rule: We provide work. Reality: there is no work. Rule: Our economy and survival depend on work. Reality: there is no work. Not here. Not any more.”

Lady Lay takes a joy ride through life’s rules and regulations. But what is freedom? And can Bob Dylan take you there?
A joy ride through the Arbeitsamt to Freedom!

“Yippee! I’m a poet, and I know it. Hope I don’t blow it.”

English Theatre Berlin > LADY LAYLydia Stryk was born in DeKalb, Illinois, birthplace of barbed wire and is now based in Berlin. She is the author of over a dozen full-length plays including Monte Carlo, The House of Lily, The Glamour House, American Tet and An Accident, which have been part of festivals around the United States and produced at, among others, Denver Center Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Victory Gardens, HB Studios, The Contemporary American Theatre Festival, Magic Theatre, and in Germany at Schauspiel Essen, Theaterhaus Stuttgart and Forum Theater with Schauspiel Independent and featured at Biennale Bonn. Her plays are published by Broadway Play Publishing and Per Lauke Verlag, and excerpts appear in numerous anthologies including Acts of War: Iraq and Afghanistan in Seven Plays from Northwestern University Press. American Tet was produced at the English Theatre Berlin in November 2008.

Photos by Christian Jungeblodt

The Extremists

by CJ Hopkins

Spin or fact? Theater or reality? A biting, original political satire that challenges audiences of any political affiliation, The Extremists is a labyrinth of wordplay and mind games in which a television talk show host and his guest who wrote a book about terrorism get lost in their own doublespeak … or are they really double-agents, subversively reprogramming our sound-byte-saturated minds?

This is a funny and fast-paced work of fiction, not an extract pulled from today’s headlines or news shows … but really, what’s the difference anymore? What does it say about the state of democracy, when Image the majority of citizens in the most powerful democratic country in the
world can be led to war by nothing more than sophisticated marketing tactics? How free are we really? Are we thinking critically? How could we be, having been subjected to non-stop media manipulation from the time we were born?

The word `insane´ is one of the most frequently heard words on the stage … It describes the evening very well. … The Extremists begins as harmless media satire, a conversation in which the host and the invited expert toss empty phrases back and forth … Hopkins builds a construct of ideas out of their rhetoric, until everything revolves around one thing: What is the truth for the good guys, and what is it for the bad guys? … What is the reality? … Intellectual theater in the truest sense. Tagesspiegel / 17 Feb 2009

CJ Hopkins’ writing for the stage has been an exploration of the manipulative power of language and mimesis. In his award-winning plays, Horse Country and Screwmachien/Eyecandy, he fuses traditional dramaturgy with linguistic and performative strategies borrowed from other discourses, such as marketing tactics, political speeches, psychological conditioning, hypnotic suggestion- while at the same time, he lays bare the machinery of those discourses.
In The Extremists, as in his earlier plays, Hopkins’ main subject is authoritarianism, both externalised in society and internalised within our unconscious minds.
Humor and wordplay keep the work entertaining. However, Hopkins’ real artistic goal is to create a state where we are forced to question the nature of the event unfolding before us, and the power that event is exerting on us, believing that,
in this state of radical uncertainty, off balance and questioning, we become more awake, more aware of our own conditioning and programming, and thus, hopefully, more able to change it.

CJ Hopkins began writing for the stage in 1987. In 1994 he was awarded a Drama League of New York Developing Artist fellowship, and, in 1995, a development residency at Mabou Mines. The premiere of his first full-length play, Horse Country, was presented at HERE Arts Center in New York City in 1997. Since then, Hopkins’ works, including A Place Like This, The Installation, How to Entertain the Rich, The Position, Cunnilinguistics, Texas Radio, and various experimental texts, have been produced regularly in New York, and in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Chicago, among other US cities.

In 2002 Horse Country  won the most prestigious writing award of the Edinburgh festival fringe, the Scotsman ‘First of the Fringe Firsts.’ Since then, Horse Country has toured and been produced internationally, playing theatres and festivals including London, Edinburgh, Sydney, The Du Maurier World Stage Festival in Toronto, the Brighton Festival, and the Noorderzon Festival in Holland. In 2004 it again won a ‘Best of the Fringe’ award, this time at the Adelaide Fringe Festival.

In 2005, the world premiere of Screwmachine/Eyecandy, or: How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love Big Bob was presented at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, where it won a Scotsman ‘Fringe First’. The New York premiere was presented at 59E59 Theaters in the Spring of 2006.

Since 2004, Hopkins has been based in Berlin, Germany, where, in 2006, he was commissioned to write and direct a site-specific play, Der Aufstand, for the Freie Universität Berlin. In 2007, Hopkins was commissioned by the Technische Fachhochschule Wildau, in Brandenburg, to create a site-specific multimedia piece, Nur Gerede, keine Taten, which was presented at the University in October.

Although based in Europe, Hopkins maintains close ties to New York, where he is associated with Clancy Productions, and with director John Clancy, with whom he has collaborated on several productions since 1999.

Walter D. Asmus

is a well-known German theater director who worked with Samuel Beckett on many occasions for the stage and television, from the time they first met at the Schiller-Theater in Berlin in 1974. He became his assistant director on their famous production of Waiting for Godot. He has directed all of Beckett’s plays internationally including Waiting for Godot at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York in 1978 and the Gate Theatre, Dublin in 1988. His television work includes Footfalls, Rockaby and Eh Joe with Billie Whitelaw, and a French version of Waiting for Godot with Roman Polanski as Lucky.

He was co-organizer and Artistic Director of the international festival, `Beckett in Berlin 2000´. In 2000/2001 he directed the filming of Footfalls with Susan FitzGerald for the `Beckett on Film´ project in Dublin. In 2004 he directed Waiting for Godot at 7 Stages, Atlanta and for the Rubicon Theatre in Ventura, California. In 2005, he directed the first Chinese production of Endgame in Mandarinin Shanghai, China. Recently, he directed a stage adaptation of Beckett’s novella First Love forthe Writer’s Festival in Sydney. Walter D. Asmus was a friend of Beckett’s until the writer’s death in 1989.

Del Hamilton

As co-founder of 7 Stages, Del Hamilton has been a part of the company since its inception in 1979. As Artistic Director, he has directed over 60 productions at 7 Stages, including numerous plays by Sam Shepard and, most recently, The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupery and Who´s Afraid of Virginai Woolf? by Edward Albee. He has also acted in numerous plays. Del directed a very successful production of One Flew Over the Cuckoo´s Nest at Teatr Nowy in Poznan, Poland, and he has acted and directed at many notable theaters in Atlanta, New York, London, Paris, Belgrade, Johannesburg and Amsterdam. Del is the author of several plays and has received numerous awards.

Tim Habeger

Co-Founder and Artistic Director of PushPush Theater, is a director and writer for film and theater.
In New York City, he worked with Ellen Stewart at La Mama ETC, was in the company at The Neighborhood Group Theater and served as artistic director of Bridge Arts. He worked at 7 Stages Theater in Atlanta where, among other tasks, he was Joseph Chaikin’s assistant, and he helped coordinate artistic workshops in coordination with a Rockefeller Foundation sponsored New Play Project, and a US/Netherlands multi-year touring program.
He completed was certified in dance and drama in New York’s Artist-in-Residence program and taught for film for three years at AMDA.

American Tet

by Lydia Stryk

american_tet_ohneAn army family at war …

American Tet enters into the lives and world of a military family, the Krombachers. The father, Jim, served in Vietnam before building a career in the Army; while the son, Danny, currently serves as a military policeman in Iraq. And then there is Elaine, an exemplary military wife and mother – an upright patriot who teaches the spouses of new soldiers the ins and outs of military life.

The family, including the rebellious daughter, Amy, await Danny who is coming home on leave. Danny’s return brings unexpected complications into the black and white world of duty and pride. Coming home, too, is Danny’s friend, Angela, who has been gravely injured in the war. Meanwhile, Elaine encounters a woman from another world, Nhu, – from Vietnam – who unsettles her and sets about the unraveling of her unquestioned assumptions and world.

American Tet is a brutal account of the effect of the current war in Iraq and past wars, on soldiers and soldiers’ families. What´s important? Who is right? How does terror begin and most of all ­ why?

“It’s not a pretty play. But it’s not a pretty world.” Lydia Stryk

“Ein ziemlich beeindruckendes Stück…, das sich keine wohlfeile Moral leistet oder seine Figuren denunziert. (Es) liefert vielmehr eine sehr authentische Zustandsbeschreibung jenes tief verunsicherten US-Amerika, das sich nun Barack Obama zum Präsidenten wählte…” TAZ (Esther Slevogt)

Lydia Stryk
born in DeKalb, Illinois, trained to be an actress at the Drama Centre, London, later studied history, education and journalism. She has a BA in History from Hunter College, an MA in Journalism from NYU and a Ph.D. in Theatre from the Graduate Centre of the City University of New York.
She is the author of fifteen full-length plays and a few short ones. Her work has been anthologized in America and published and translated into German by Per Lauke Verlag, Hamburg. Her plays have been seen at festivals around the United States and in Europe and produced at many theatres throughout the US, and in Germany at Schauspiel Essen and Theaterhaus Stuttgart. She lives in Berlin
Daniel Krauss
born in Giessen; studied film directing at Deutsche Film- und Fernsehakademie Berlin. He has studied with Martin Scorsese and Mike Newell. His first feature film was Heimatfilm with Fritzi Haberland. He has directed plays by David Mamet and Georg Büchner for Vagantenbühne; movie and TV acting included Baader, and Der letzte Zeuge. He lives in Berlin and teaches film in Kapstadt and Berlin.