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Impro 2019

Improvised theater is surprising and always different at the same time.

IMPRO, the international impro festival hosted by Die Gorillas, is one of the biggest festivals of its kind: for the 17th edition from March 16 – 24, 2019, improvisers from all over the world get together in Berlin to inspire the audience with their spontaneous stories and diverse characters. The artists will sweep them off their feet with their concepts and ideas of improvised theater which go in the most different of directions to show the variety and possibilities of this special art form: Storytelling inspired by Aki Kaurismäki, Shakespeare or a local playwright, improvisers giving very personal insights in Role Models, Meta Impro and Community, an improvised radio play, the Improvision Song Contest and much more is going to happen in five theaters around Berlin.

IMPRO 2019 brings new shows and presents improv classics.

Stunning. Emotional. Connecting.

Community

March 16, 17 and 18 |  8pm

“Life in contemporary forms of capitalism is becoming unbearable, and one survival strategy is to develop and protect at all costs small communities that offer us different relations. With art, we cannot and do not aim at causing great social change but we can make room for collective creation, a space where it is possible to survive and even have a good time. Every moment is worth asking the very important human question of ‘How do we actually want to live together?’. And by doing so, we are finding answers along the way. Exquisite and daring performers from different cultural, economic and political environments dive into the topic of community.”

Maja Dekleva Lapajne, Artistic Director of the EU project Our Lives and the format Community

Theatersports

March 19 | 8pm

Sometimes it’s nice to go back to the roots. Many of those looking for new improv formats today started with this popular form of improvising back in the day. Several teams compete for the best scenes and songs, for the audience doesn’t just make suggestions, it also decides the champion of the night. It’s no coincidence this show format succeeded all over the world: it’s improv full of fun, imagination, suspense, speed and passion…

Not by Kaurismäki

March 20 and 21 | 8pm

The concise manner of speaking and the quiet humor of Aki Kaurismäki is the model for the improvisations. And we‘re getting back to basics.

Not by Shakespeare

March 22 and 23 | 8pm

It goes without saying that we won’t be able to improvise a play which matches the works of the British genius. But we can let ourselves be inspired by William Shakespeare and use the rhythm of his language as well as the structure of his dramas, comedies and tragedies as a template. A Shakespeare play about gentrification, digitalization or factory farming – that could be pretty cool.

 

Parataxe – International Literature

What languages does Berlin write in? Berlin authors who pen their work in languages other than German are invited to take part in conversations, readings and new translations. On March 26th, PARATAXE presents Tomer Gardi (Israel/Berlin) and Ana Ristović (Serbia/Berlin), hosted by Martin Jankowski.

Tomer Gardi was born in the kibbutz Dan in Galiläa in 1974. When Gardi read in “broken German”, completely forgoing grammar and spelling at the Bachmannpreis event in 2016, his text and its use of hybrid-language caused vehement discussions among the jury. Following his very successful novel with the same title (Broken German), he now presents his newest book.

Ana Ristović was born 1972 in Belgrade, Serbia. She has published nine books of poetry, several of them award-winning. Her poem “Round Zero” was chosen by an international jury, curated by The Guardian, as one of the best love poems of the past 50 years.

PARATAXE is a project of the Berliner Literarische Aktion e.V. and is supported by the Berlin Senate Administration for Culture and Europe. Further information can be found at www.stadtsprachen.de.

Parataxe – International Literature

Parataxe – Berlin’s international literature community:

What languages does Berlin write in? For the PARATAXE series, Berlin authors, who write in languages other than German, will be introduced in discussions, readings and translations. This time with Kinga Tóth (Hungary) and Elnathan John (Nigeria).

Kinga Tóth was born in Sárvár, Hungary in 1983. She is a linguist, teaches German language and literature, works as a communications specialist and is an editor at the art magazine Palócföld. Tóth describes herself as a (sound)poet and illustrator. In addition she is the songwriter and lead singer of the Tóth Kína Hegyfalu project as well as a board member of the József Attila Circle for young writers and an active member of several projects and associations. Her articles have been published in magazines and websites like Palócföld, Prae.hu, Pluralica, Árgus, Irodalmi Jelen and Irodalmi Szemle. Tóth is a participant in the exchange program for authors between the Akademie Schloss Solitude and young Hungarian writers in Budapest. Her publications include Zsúr (Party) (2013) and All Machine (2014). Currently she is working on her newest book The Moonlight Faces.

Elnathan John is a writer and lawyer living in spaces between in Nigeria and Germany. Mostly. His works have appeared in Hazlitt, Per Contra, Le Monde Diplomatique, FT and the Caine Prize for African Writing Anthology 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. He writes weekly political satire for the Nigerian newspaper Daily Trust on Sunday (and any other publication that PAYS him). Unless you are The New Yorker, he considers it violence of unimaginable proportions to ask him to write for free. He has never won anything.
This record was almost disrupted by the Caine Prize when they accidentally allowed his story on the shortlist in 2013 and again in 2015. Of course, both times, he did not win. He has been shortlisted and longlisted for a few other prizes, but he is content with his position as a serial finalist. It is kind of like being a best man at a wedding – you get to attend the ceremony but you can get drunk, sneak off and hook up without anyone noticing because, after all, you are not the groom. In 2008, after being lied to by friends and admirers about the quality of his work, he hastily self-published an embarrassing collection of short stories which has thankfully gone out of print. He hopes to never repeat that foolish mistake. His novel Born On A Tuesday was published in Nigeria (in 2015), the UK and the US (in 2016) and in Germany (in 2017).

 

IMPRO 2018

The nine-day festival IMPRO 2018: Our Lives (March 17 – 25) is the climax of a two-year international theater project that has brought together actors from all 28 countries of the European Union.

It combines the energy and vitality of improvised theater with the rich biographies and experiences of the actors, who use their own lives as a blueprint for what happens on stage. Together with the audience, the directness and strength of the authentic in combination with the abundance of cultural differences results in extraordinary evenings of theater.

English Theatre Berlin | International Performing Arts Center is the center of IMPRO 2018, featuring the opening performance, three specific impro formats reflecting the lives of seven actors as well as the highlight of the entire Our Lives project: the closing night of the festival with 28 artists, who will meet together on stage that evening for the first and last time.

Dates and descriptions of all performances at ETB | IPAC are below and all shows are in English and start at 8pm!

Saturday, March 17 – Opening Show

It has become a small tradition that we ask the international colleagues to bring short country-specific improv formats for the opening evening and to show them to the other actors as well as the Berlin audience. A colorful, blazing, energetic kick-off of our Our Lives festival with no less than 14 improv artists, and that’s only half of the casts – the other one is playing at the Ratibor Theater at the same time…

Sunday, March 18 and Monday, March 19 – Our Lives: Walls

Political or geographical, linguistic or ideological, visible or invisible, borders are shaping us: each freedom is limited by a borderline. From imagination to concrete reality, we build walls to label our divisions. Our Lives could be told by naming buildings and by demolishing these walls. Our homes, our churches and our schools reside inside those walls. Other walls loom between our countries, our cultures. In between those walls, what are our actual contours?

Cast: Antonia Vulpio (Italy), Heather Urquhart (UK), Julie Doyelle (France), Kaspars Breidaks (Latvia), Malcolm Galea (Malta), Roko Crnić (Croatia), Zsuzsi Várady (Hungary).
Artistic Director: Matthieu Loos (France)

Tuesday, March 20 and Wednesday, March 21 – Our Lives: Places

We spent and spend our lives in places. When we remember our grandparents’ living room, the sound of the ticking clock, the smell of the chocolate cake, and the sunlight through the gap in the curtains will come back to us. Let’s have a guess what the artists from seven European countries could bring us: a muddy mountain path in Slovakia; a quiet intersection in a Spanish village; an old farm on the border of Romania; a hot stone on a Greek beach; a wide, white field in the north of Sweden; a busy ferry on the coast of Estonia; a crammed Späti in Neukölln-Britz. Let’s tell each other about Our Lives.

With Billy Kissa (Greece), Leon Düvel (Germany), Lukáš Tandara (Slovakia), Monica Anastase (Romania), Per Gottfredsson (Sweden), Rahel Otsa (Estonia), Raquel Racionero (Spain).
Artistic Director: Christoph Jungmann (Germany)

Thursday, March 22 and Friday, March 23 – Our Lives: Community

Life in contemporary forms of capitalism is becoming unbearable, and one survival strategy is to develop and protect at all costs small communities that offer us different relations. With art, we cannot and do not aim at causing great social change but we can make room for collective creation, a space where it is possible to survive and even have a good time. Every moment is worth asking the very important human question of “How do we actually want to live together?”. And by doing so, we are finding answers along the way.

Exquisite and daring performers from different cultural, economic and political environments dive into the topic of community: Alenka Marinič (Slovenia), Alexander Mitrev (Bulgaria), Audrius Bruzas (Lithuania), Beatrix Brunschko (Austria), Gilles Delvaulx (Belgium), Hannu Risku (Finland), Mia Møller (Denmark). Artistic Director: Maja Dekleva Lapajne (Slovenia)

Saturday, March 24 – 28 AT 7 PM!!

Actually, we cannot believe it yet – an idea has become a reality. For the first and probably only one time, 28 people will stand together on the stage. All that unites them is that they come from the 28 countries of the EU. It’s so easy to write down, but it’s actually incredible and a special moment in the history of this festival. We guarantee nothing but an exceptional evening of improvisation.

 

Parataxe – International Literature

Parataxe – Berlin’s international literature community:

What languages does Berlin write in? Notable Berlin writers who do not write in German are presented in conversation, reading and translation.

For the collaboration with English Theatre Berlin | International Performing Arts Center, the evening features Dario Deserri (Italy / Berlin) and his translator Anna Giannessi as well as Rasha Abbas (Syria / Berlin) and their German editor Nikola Richter, hosted by Martin Jankowski.

IMPRO 2017: Afterlife

IMPRO, Berlin’s festival for improvisational theater, presents top-notch improvisers from all over the world and has celebrated the art of international spontaneous theater annually since 2001.

In 2017, IMPRO presents a show that really is a matter of life and death:

“As death approaches, the quality of the time that remains becomes the issue.” Michael Kearney, Mortally Wounded

Afterlife is an experimental performance piece about death, dying and how we choose to live, performed by a distinguished international cast. Through existing materials, original material, spontaneous material and interaction with the audience, the performers hold up a mirror to mortality asking everyone to think about their own lives and experience. Afterlife explores the traditions around death in a personal and cultural way. The cast examines the traditions, taboos, myths, legends and assumptions about death and afterlife as experienced in their own lives and countries. This is an evening of reflection, humor and improvised scenes and stories brought to you by some of the world’s most beloved improvisers, including well-known IMPRO guests like Trixi Brunschko (Austria), Maja Dekleva Lapajne (Slovenia), Randy Dixon (USA) and many more.

IMPRO 2016

Over the years, IMPROV has become one of the largest and one of the most important festivals of its kind in Europe. Good improvisational theater is meant to mirror its time, and thus IMPRO 2016, the international festival for improvisational theater (March 11-20) is dedicated to all those who are hoping for a better life outside of their home country.

IMPRO-2016_11_©Matthias-Fluhrer_klein

Saturday, March 12 | 8pm
Improv Without Borders

Professional improvising artists as well as improv amateurs will be celebrating the liveliness of improvised theater all over the world, from Melbourne to Shanghai, from Atlanta to Sindelfingen, today, on March 12. We, the Gorillas, invited the international improv community to do this, and every day, more improvisers adopt this idea. On the world’s improv stages, there will be scenes, whether lugubrious or celebrating life, but they will show the greatness of improvised theater: this understanding across borders, playing theatre scenes together, and commemorating those who are on the run around the world on this day. Moreover, it is our joint aim to support refugees: the proceeds of the six shows will go in equal shares to ProAsyl and Asyl in der Kirche; our other participating colleagues will be supporting local organisations around the world. In Berlin, the international ensemble will be playing at Baptistengemeinde Schöneberg, Bühnenrausch, English Theatre Berlin | International Performing Arts Center, the Volksbühne’s Grüner Salon, the Ratibor Theater, and at ufa Fabrik, with a colorful mix of 5-6 improvisers at each location. It’s up to you, dear audience, to make this day a festival of theater. You only have to come along.

Sunday, March 13 | 8pm
Who Are You?

Who are any of us really? A show, developed and presented by Lee White of CRUMBS, exploring who we are by asking questions designed to gain insight, and see the perspective of others. Discover who you are by learning how people perceive themselves. Plenty of laughs and heart touching moments as we see the person behind the walls we surround ourselves with everyday.

Monday, March 14 | 8pm
A Place To Be

The issue everyone talks about has arrived at our festival, too. This evening will approach the issues of exodus and borders, limitations and freedom, by means of improvisation. Farah Shaer and Lucien Bourjeily from the Lebanon, who already delighted IMPRO audiences two years ago, as well as Tarek Kannish (Syria) and Raouf Khelifa (Algeria) will first pass on their experience with these issues to the international cast in internal workshops. This is exactly the kind of IMPRO which is the reason why we, the Gorillas, organize it: it’s theater, as unpredictable as our life, which can also be as exhilarating in that people meet on stage and communicate across the barriers of language and culture; they are foreigners and approach each other, they misunderstand and understand. Everything that’s typical for life itself.

Tuesday, March 15 | 8pm
A Place To Be

The issue everyone talks about has arrived at our festival, too. This evening will approach the issues of exodus and borders, limitations and freedom, by means of improvisation. Farah Shaer and Lucien Bourjeily from the Lebanon, who already delighted IMPRO audiences two years ago, as well as Tarek Kannish (Syria) and Raouf Khelifa (Algeria) will first pass on their experience with these issues to the international cast in internal workshops. This is exactly the kind of IMPRO which is the reason why we, the Gorillas, organize it: it’s theater, as unpredictable as our life, which can also be as exhilarating in that people meet on stage and communicate across the barriers of language and culture; they are foreigners and approach each other, they misunderstand and understand. Everything that’s typical for life itself.

Wednesday, March 16 | 8pm
The Freedom Game

Will we become more creative as the rope of regulations and infringements of personal freedom becomes ever tighter? Or will the joy of movement wane at some point, in resignation of anticipatory obedience? Together with the audience, the improvisers will use the means of improvised theater to examine these interrelations in the context of society’s politics – albeit not exclusively – such as fear of terror, telecommunications data retention, xenophobia. Which conclusions will we come to? Is dictatorship funny in improv, but not so much in everyday life? It’s a theater experiment in two acts.

Thursday, March 17 | 8pm
A Place To Be

The issue everyone talks about has arrived at our festival, too. This evening will approach the issues of exodus and borders, limitations and freedom, by means of improvisation. Farah Shaer and Lucien Bourjeily from the Lebanon, who already delighted IMPRO audiences two years ago, as well as Tarek Kannish (Syria) and Raouf Khelifa (Algeria) will first pass on their experience with these issues to the international cast in internal workshops. This is exactly the kind of IMPRO which is the reason why we, the Gorillas, organize it: it’s theater, as unpredictable as our life, which can also be as exhilarating in that people meet on stage and communicate across the barriers of language and culture; they are foreigners and approach each other, they misunderstand and understand. Everything that’s typical for life itself.

Friday, March 18 | 8pm
Our Lives

Hardly any other art form lets the actors use their own life experience to directly impact what’s happening on stage like improvised theater does. Eight players from eight nations each get to draw one of the following subjects out of a hat: love, family, work, tradition, city, country, Christmas and food. As the directors, the players will examine their subject together with their fellow players and attempt to improvise and present what’s characteristic for their country in respect to this subject.

Saturday, March 19 | 8pm
Almost Ibsen & Speechless

Henrik Ibsen is dead. “What a pity”, some will say, “thank God” say others and some people will confess “I didn’t know“” Three of the best improvisers of Norway’s Det Andre Teatret, Torgny G. Aanderaa, Camilly Frey and Nils Petter Morland will improve a one act play based on Ibsen, which has never been written. It’s an improvised tragedy, based on the audience’s
suggestions, staged with appropriate costumes and set design, but without prescribed structure or dramatic rules.

Speechless is an evening full of poetry. It’s magical and fantastical in more than one sense: the two Columbian improvisers Daniel Orrantia and Felipe Ortiz, together with their congenial Canadian DJ Mama Cutsworth, will put a spell on their audience. Not a single word is spoken while the three of them develop improvised stories from the audience’s suggestions. Inspired by
silent films, improvised theater, pantomime and cirque moderne, this is a very special show, and unique each time.

 

IMPRO 2015

Over the years, IMPRO has become one of the largest and one of the most important festivals of its kind in Europe.

141209_IMPRO2015_titel.inddIn 2015 as well, Die Gorillas have invited improv artists from 13 different countries to improvise together. The 14th edition of IMPRO will be held from March 13-22, 2015 and once again, we are delighted to serve as one of the festival’s hubs and bring you three different shows, including a very special event: the festival ensemble will improvise the story of a Berlin family from the 1920s to the present over six consecutive nights: The Hoffmanns – A Berlin Family Story. A different year in the family story will be presented each night. 1925 will be followed by 1937, 1955, 1970, 1990 and end in the year 2015. The audience will accompany a Berlin family on a very special journey through time over multiple generations. Even Die Gorillas are excited to see how this improvised family saga will turn out!

Saturday, March 14 | 8pm
The National Theatre of the World: The SCript Tease Project

Naomi Snieckus of The National Theatre of the World from Toronto has been taking Berlin audiences by storm since her first shows at IMPRO 2012 – not only with her precise, powerful, imaginative acting, but also with her varied theatrical forms of expression. For the SCript Tease Project, a playwright will write the first lines of dialogue for her and one actor from the festival cast. Live in front of the audience they will open an envelope whose content is foreign to them, read the beginning of a play which was written for them and improvise the entire play for the rest of the evening.

Sunday, March 15 | 8pm
Marko Mayerl: Mon nom est Némo (In French with English and German subtitles)

IMPRO2015_Promo_MonnomestNemo_RitaMayerl-16ea1623This is the first scripted, non-improvised theater performance that we’ve ever presented during the 14 years of our festival – the focus of this solo is the very international family history of Marko Mayerl of Strasbourg, whose ancestors are from Finland, Germany, Russia and France. A father tells his son who is in hospital the story of their family. It’s an odyssey spanning several European epochs which makes the son forget that he is seriously ill. A Finnish woman marries a Russian, who defies his father’s wish for him to become an orthodox priest. A Frenchwoman, pregnant with her first child, marries a pilot of the German air force while World War II is raging. This autobiographical play, full of tenderness and humor, prompts us to take a look at how we deal with our own family history. Which part of our heritage is acceptable for us to take on, which part do we reject and why?

March 16 – 21 | 8pm
Festival Ensemble: The Hoffmanns – A Berlin Family Story

The name is a given: the Hoffmanns. The place: Berlin. The time: between 1925 and today. Improvising the story of this family, that’s the big challenge for the cast of IMPRO 2015. For the first time, our festival will present a continuous improvisation spanning six nights, supported by the intellectual assistance of the audience. Mignon Remé (Hamburg), Randy Dixon (USA) and Naomi Snieckus (Canada) will each be the director of two nights, Dan Richter (Berlin) will chronicle what’s happening on stage and make sure everyone is on the same page. Join us for this amazing experiment which further explores the possibilities of improvised theater.

Promo pics: Matthias Flührer / Nemo pic: Rita Mayerl

IMPRO 2014

IMPRO 2014 at English Theatre Berlin

“Say Yes!” is the motto of IMPRO 2014, the biggest festival for improvisational theatre in Europe. 40 artists from 14 nations present entertaining, contemplative, dramatic, hilarious moments, celebrating the spontaneous theatre in 28 shows: whipped impromptu on stage before the audience’s face.

English Theatre Berlin will present five shows:

March 22 | 8pm: MOVIE CLAPPER

At the beginning of the festival, we present the prelude race through the world of film. You ask for a horror film, a spaghetti western, soap operas or documentaries, Ancient Rome epics or “Berlin School” – the international cast tries to fulfill every wish. Great cinema on the theatre stage — a trip on the roller coaster of cinematic pleasure.

March 24 | 8 pm: LIGHT BOX (in French !!!)

It is always a special show when spoken neither in German nor in English, but in French. For the first time the ensemble Impro Infini is our guest, who in turn host their own festival (Subito) in the city of Brest, with whom we are cooperating. Both French colleagues meet Kevin (Dad’s Garage/Atlanta) and Lucien Bourjeily (Impro Beirut). The four of them will not only be inspired by the charming suggestions of the audience, but also by the special lighting mood and sound effects – o la la.

March 25 | 8pm: CITY BEATS

The sound of a city has a very special tone. This night is all about funny and tragic moments in daily life of a big city. Special about the show is that the inspirations intensified(?) come from those, whose part for the success of an improv-night is mostly underestimated: the musicians – in this case Hannu Risku (Stella Polaris/Finnland), Gilly Alfeo (Die Springmäuse/Bonn) and Rudy Redl (Die Gorillas) – will inspire the actors with their instruments and soundfiles and will push them to the peak.

March 27 | 8 pm: IN THE AIR

Two years ago we tried this for the first time, and beautifully enough a lot went wrong: cell phone cameras were streaming improvised events into the theatre (which most of the times worked out, but got stuck sometimes) where the thread was continued until the next switch to the outside crew, and so on. Those in the mood for an improvised adventure and touching moments (one of the most impressive moments developed when things went wrong, and the actors did not know they were filmed) are in the right show. We work in cooperation with the great nerds of ape unit and attempt the improvement of this format.

March 28 + March 29 | 8pm: MOVIE STYLES: FANTASY and TARANTINO

The main focus of the festival. After we gave ourselves over to various playwrights in 2011, this year’s focus lies on the improvisational transformation/conversion of two directors (R.W. Fassbinder und Quentin Tarantino) and two genres (“Romantic Comedy” and “Fantasy”). The festival ensemble rehearses these special improv formats in two-day workshops each and improvises them on two nights. In English Theatre, we will present to you two movies in the style of the genre Fantasy and the director Tarantino – but not without having asked the audience for their associations and suggestions of course!