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Bette Davis…“Fasten Your Seatbelts!”

A performance trip through the glorious ups and the dramatic downs of a Hollywood life

Bette Davis was one of Hollywood’s greatest stars. Between 1931 and 1989, she acted in more than a hundred films, won the Oscar twice and was nominated another eight times. Some of the greatest movies in motion picture history – Of Human Bondage, Jezebel, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, or All About Eve – are Bette Davis films. She was uncompromising, fought for better scripts, had no qualms about playing antagonistic characters and always wanted to be authentic. Davis was a living example that you can have a career and stay true to yourself – if you’re prepared to pay the price of loneliness. A life worthy of a movie.

“Bettina Lohmeyer as Bette Davis in ‘Fasten Your Seatbelts’ ignites into originality and pure entertainment. An evening of blazing theatrical fireworks. Brilliant – it soars!” Joe Franklin, Bloomberg Radio, New York City, 2014

In six scenes, Bette Davis…“Fasten Your Seatbelts!” highlights a life full of triumph and successes, love, tragedies and confrontations. Bettina Lohmeyer takes the audience to a duel with movie mogul Jack Warner in his office, to a cemetery in Maine, to a lonely home, back to shooting on set in Los Angeles, to the Oscar ceremony and finally to the last chapter in Bette Davis’ life…

A dream comes true: upon the invitation of U.S. director and producer Susan Batson, Bettina Lohmeyer developed, wrote and performed her play “Bette Davis… “Fasten Your Seatbelts!” in Batson’s studio theater in New York. After intense research, including interviews with Bette Davis’ contemporaries, Bettina Lohmeyer staged the Davis myth: hard as nails, quick-witted, assertive and just as uncompromising, vulnerable and full of humor.

Bettina Lohmeyer was an ensemble member at Maxim Gorki Theater for six years and also worked at Schauspielhaus Hannover, Staatstheater Mainz, and Schauspielhaus Graz. She has acted in numerous film and television productions, such as Der letzte Zeuge, SOKO Leipzig, Der Baader Meinhof-Komplex and in a continuous starring role in Hinter Gittern.
Pics: Barbara Braun | Film still: Bette Davis in Of Human Bondage (1934)

 

Nassim


“Dear performer. I want to show you something. Did you know, in Farsi my name is written like this:  ‘.ROUPNAMIELOS MISSAN si eman yM’ ? Did you know ‘Nassim’ means ‘breeze’ in Farsi?”

From Berlin-based Iranian playwright Nassim Soleimanpour comes an audacious theatrical experiment that explores the power of language to unite us in unknown, uncertain times.

No rehearsals. No preparation. Just a sealed envelope and an actor reading a script for the first time. Plus some tomatoes.

WINNER of the Fringe First Award at Edinburgh Fringe 2017

NASSIM follows Soleimanpour’s globally acclaimed White Rabbit Red Rabbit, which has been translated into over 25 different languages and performed over 1,000 times by names including Sinead Cusack, Ken Loach and Whoopi Goldberg including five performances at English Theatre Berlin | International Performing Arts Center in October 2013.

 “A strikingly gentle, humane and emotive consideration of the experience of an artist living and working in the diaspora.” | The Herald

“Emotionally charged theatrical experiment.” | The Stage

“An unusually vivid celebration of theatre’s liveness.” | The Guardian

“As he heightens the audience’s sense of complicity in his art, Soleimanpour makes a quietly persuasive case for theatre’s special power to foster empathy.” | London Evening Standard

Nassim Soleimanpour (playwright and performer) is an independent multidisciplinary theater maker best known for his multi award-winning play White Rabbit Red Rabbit. Nassim’s play Blank premiered in the UK at the Bush Theatre’s RADAR festival in 2015, also playing in Amsterdam and Utrecht with further performances all over the world including at the Edinburgh Fringe and in Argentina, Australia and India. Further plays include Blind Hamlet which premiered at LIFT Festival 2014 prior to a UK tour and productions in Bucharest and Copenhagen. Nassim now lives in Berlin and has been commissioned to write a new play for Teater Momentum (Denmark).
Pics: David Monteith-Hodge / Studio Doug

Am I Dead Yet? (Chris Thorpe & Jon Spooner / Unlimited Theatre)

Death is no longer a moment. It is a process. A process that can be reversed.

Two friends, talking (and singing) about what happens when we die, how we think about dying, and most importantly, how some of us might be brought back.

Performed by Unlimited founding members Jon Spooner and Chris Thorpe, Am I Dead Yet? is filled with stories and songs about death and dying and about how we don’t talk about it enough.

This new show from Unlimited Theatre, one of the most renowned British theatre companies, is inspired by research into contemporary developments in resuscitation science and made in collaboration with emergency care professionals.

“Vibrantly theatrical and typically absorbing” **** Independent
“Chris Thorpe and Jon Spooner’s electric view on the dying process will rewrite your expectations for your final end” **** The Stage
“An enjoyable, poignant cabaret piece about death in the distant and all-too-near future” The Guardian

We are very excited to welcome Chris Thorpe back to English Theatre Berlin | International Performing Arts Center following our work together on his scintillating solo performance, Confirmation, as part of Theatertreffen / Stückemarkt Revisited 2015.

Watch the trailer on YouTube:

Jon Spooner is a director, writer, performer, founder member and the artistic director of Unlimited. He has directed and performed in numerous Unlimited shows, including Fringe First winners Static (invited to English Theatre Berlin in 2002) Neutrino, Safety by Chris Thorpe (with the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield) and Zero Degrees & Drifting. Jon also co-writes and directs the annual Christmas show for the BBC’s CBeebies channel filmed live at a major UK theatre and then broadcast on CBeebies and BBC One.

Chris Thorpe is a founder member and a core artist with Unlimited, and also an artistic associate of Third Angel. As a solo performer, he is making a cycle of solo pieces called Eating Wasps and continues to collaborate with companies like Slung Low, RashDash and Soup Collective, with whom he wrote and recorded the piece The Bomb On Mutannabbi Street Is Still Exploding, which has been permanently installed at the Imperial War Museum North. Chris has won Fringe First Awards in 2011 (for The Oh Fuck Moment with Hannah Jane Walker) and 2014 for Confirmation. His durational theatrical experience, The Milk of Human Kindness was at the Royal Court in London in 2016. He recently wrote Chorus for The Iphegenia Quartet at the Gate Theatre, as well as a new piece, Victory Condition, for the Royal Court which will open in September 2017.

Director Amy Hodge’s credits include The Ethics of Progress for Unlimited Theatre, Our Big Land (Romany Theatre Company), The Rover (Hampton Court Palace), Romeo and Juliet (Theatre Uz, Uzbekistan for the British Council). She was Associate Director at Sherman Cymru from 2008 to 2011 and has also directed shows at the Tricycle, Young Vic, Orange Tree Theatre and West Yorkshire Playhouse. Amy was Studio Associate at the National Theatre (2013-14) and was the recipient of the 2007 Jerwood Directors Award.

Fear Industry

What are we afraid of?

2 performers and 1 mezzo-soprano reveal a living archive of 21st century fears: we now fear anything from killer bees to pedophiles, deadly diseases and online spying, avian flu, old age and mad cows, immigrants, anthrax, wrinkles, environmental collapse, and, lest we forget, terrorists.

Enthusiastically received by audience and critics during its world premiere as part of the opening festivities at the European Capital of Culture and Cyprus Fringe, the performance explores the concept of fear and its orchestrated manipulation through economic and political forces, its dissemination by the media and its subtle proliferation in contemporary society. The staging blends theater with elements from opera and Lieder and combines stand-up performance with stylized movement to walk the tightrope between our instinctive fears and those amplified and manipulated by our surroundings.

Watch the trailer here:

“The atmospherically dense staging places us in a vigil state of recognizing a culture of fear everywhere in all its glorification and with all its personal, political and cultural dimension…  …Achim Wieland manages to move this performance in the category of art as a vehicle of reawakening.”  –ANEF Magazine, Christina Georghiou
“An invasive and pervasive testimony.” –TimeOut Magazine

The production as well as some sections of the European project tour are supported by the Cyprus Ministry of Education and Culture, the Cultural Funding Program of the City of Stuttgart, Diablog.eu, the German Embassy Nicosia, MITOS Center of Performing Arts, Kulturabteilung der Republik Zypern in Berlin,  the University of Nicosia, the Goethe-Institut and Columbia Shipmanagement

Featuring a post-performance discussion on Wednesday, February 17 as part of Theater Scoutings Berlin!

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The Story of a Tiger

Nanzikambe Arts (Malawi)

Inspired by the 2011 Malawi protests against the government which resulted in 20 deaths and nearly 100 injuries, leading Malawi theater company Nanzikambe Arts responded with an adaptation of Dario Fo‘s 1978 play La storia della tigre.

Geoffrey Mbene Tiger - Photo by Philipp Hamedl Web

Originally inspired by Fo‘s 1975 trip to China, this dramatic monologue tells the story of a revolutionary Chinese solider wounded during Mao‘s Long March and left to die by his comrades. Nursed back to health by a mother tiger, he returns to civilization determined to cure its ills.

In Thokozani Kapiri‘s international adaptation intended for both African and European audiences, Geoffrey Mbene provides a tour-de-force performance relying heavily on pantomime and physical theater.

This production of The Story of a Tiger, commissioned by Theater Konstanz as part of its three-year partnership with Nanzikambe Arts – Crossing Borders, von See zu See – received 10 different presentations in Germany in 2012. It was also performed at Mwezi Wawala International Arts Festival, Blantyre Arts Festival and Malawi Cultural Arts Festival, in Austria and in Ireland in 2013.

Photo by Philipp Hamedl

Confirmation

Theatertreffen stückemarkt revisited

If you pinned me against a wall, I’d probably admit to being a liberal. Of course, pinning me against a wall is exactly what I’d expect from someone like you. A show about the gulfs we can’t talk across, and about the way we choose to see only the evidence that proves we’re right.

With an election looming and new voices appearing in mainstream UK politics, Chris Thorpe and The TEAM Artistic Director Rachel Chavkin examine the phenomenon of confirmation bias through an honorable dialogue, real and imagined, with political extremism. To find out how we believe what we believe and how we can end up so far apart.

Edinburgh Fringe First Award Winner – 2014

“Rachel Chavkin’s fast-moving, kinetic production offers us an absolutely compelling performance from a man who is fast becoming one of the most powerful performers in the UK” – The Scotsman

Watch the trailer on Vimeo:

Chris Thorpe | Writer and Performer

Chris is a writer and performer from Manchester. He is a founder member of Unlimited Theatre and also an artistic associate of Third Angel. He is making a cycle of solo pieces and continues to collaborate with companies like Slung Low, Forest Fringe, RashDash and Soup Collective, with whom he wrote and recorded the piece The Bomb On Mutannabbi Street Is Still Exploding, which has been permanently installed at the Imperial War Museum North. Chris’s plays have been produced worldwide and he has toured with Unlimited and Third Angel in Europe, Africa, Asia and the USA.

Recent projects include a trilogy of plays, Overdrama, House/Garden and Dead End for Portuguese company mala voadora, which continue to tour in Europe. He is also still touring in Third Angel’s show What I Heard About The World, recently to Poland, Brazil, Germany and Lebanon. He worked with poet Hannah Jane Walker in 2010 to make her solo show, This Is Just To Say. Hannah and Chris then worked together again to create The Oh Fuck Moment, which won a Fringe First at Edinburgh Fringe 2011. Their show, I Wish I Was Lonely, is still on the road. He also plays guitar in Lucy Ellinson’s political extreme noise project TORYCORE.

As a playwright, Chris recently worked with Hannah Jane Walker on a commission for The Unicorn Theatre in London, and revived his hit show, There Has Possibly Been An Incident, at the Stückemarkt in Berlin (following an invitation from playwright Simon Stephens). He also wrote Northern Stage’s Christmas Show, Dark Woods, Deep Snow in 2013. Chris is currently writing a new show for the Royal Court Theatre and a new project for the Unicorn Theatre as well as continuing work with Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre.

Rachel Chavkin | Director

Rachel is a Brooklyn-based director/dramaturg/writer, and the Artistic Director of collaborative ensemble the TEAM. Founded in 2004, the TEAM makes new work about the experience of living in America today, and aims to keep the brain, eyes, and heart of the audience constantly stimulated. Four time winners of the Fringe First, winner of the 2011 Herald Angel, the 2011 EIF Fringe Prize, and ranked Best of 2013 on three continents, the TEAM’s work includes Mission Drift, a new musical composed by Heather Christian that travels through 400 years of history in pursuit of the soul of American capitalism, and RoosevElvis, the story of a surreal road trip from the Badlands to Graceland. The TEAM has been presented at or received commissions from organizations all over New York (including the Public Theater, PS122, and the Bushwick Starr), nationally (including the Walker Art Center and the A.R.T.), internationally (including London’s National Theatre, the National Theatre of Scotland, the Barbican Centre, the Almeida Theatre, the Traverse Theatre, international festivals in Perth and Hong Kong, and the Salzburg Festival’s Young Directors Program).

In addition to her work with the TEAM, Rachel collaborates regularly with writers and composers on new work. Recent projects include Dave Malloy’s immersively staged electro-pop opera Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812 (Kazino – commercial transfer; World Premiere: Ars Nova – New York Times, Time Out New York and New York Post Critics’ Picks, and Top Ten); storyteller James Monaco and composer Jerome Ellis’ collaboration Aaron/Marie; Meg Miroshnik’s The Fairytale Lives of Russian Girls (Yale Rep); Rick Burkhardt,

Alec Duffy and Dave Malloy’s Three Pianos (A.R.T., NYTW – Dec ’10/Jan ’11, Ontological Incubator Series – Feb/March ’10, 2010 Obie Award); and repeat collaborations with playwright/performer/activist Taylor Mac including his extravaganza The Lily’s Revenge (World Premiere, Act II) (HERE Arts Center, 2010 Obie Award) and Peace, co-written by Mac and Chavkin (Workshop, HERE Arts Center, 2007).

Rachel is a two-time Obie Winner, and was nominated as Best Director for both the Drama Desk and Lucille Lortel Awards for her work on Great Comet. Upcoming work includes multiple projects with Dave Malloy, adapting folk singer Anaïs Mitchell’s album Hadestown, a theatrical concert adaption of Mac Wellman’s intergalactic Ohio-based novel Annie Salem in collaboration with composer Heather Christian, and the TEAM’s multigenerational cover band project, Primer for a Failed Superpower.

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The Story of a Tiger

Nanzikambe Arts (Malawi)

Inspired by the 2011 Malawi protests against the government which resulted in 20 deaths and nearly 100 injuries, leading Malawi theater company Nanzikambe Arts responded with an adaptation of Dario Fo‘s 1978 play La storia della tigre.

Geoffrey Mbene Tiger - Photo by Philipp Hamedl Web

Originally inspired by Fo‘s 1975 trip to China, this dramatic monologue tells the story of a revolutionary Chinese solider wounded during Mao‘s Long March and left to die by his comrades. Nursed back to health by a mother tiger, he returns to civilization determined to cure its ills.

In Thokozani Kapiri‘s international adaptation intended for both African and European audiences, Geoffrey Mbene provides a tour-de-force performance relying heavily on pantomime and physical theater.

This production of The Story of a Tiger, commissioned by Theater Konstanz as part of its three-year partnership with Nanzikambe Arts – Crossing Borders, von See zu See – received 10 different presentations in Germany in 2012. It was also performed at Mwezi Wawala International Arts Festival, Blantyre Arts Festival and Malawi Cultural Arts Festival, in Austria and in Ireland in 2013.

Photo by Philipp Hamedl

Big Love

by Charles L. Mee

BigLove1_web“In the real world, 
if there is no justice 
there can be no love
.”

Charles L. Mee´s Big Love is based on a play written 2500 years ago:  The Suppliant Women by Aeschylos, in which he investigates the consequences of a mass of women fleeing from their impending forced marriages and their treatment in the land in which they seek shelter. Today, in Big Love, they gain and then lose asylum in their new country, face death from their own people if they refuse to return, and must constantly fight to have their voices heard. Defiant to the last, they commit themselves to a terrible pact in order to win freedom at any cost.

So we ask ourselves: Twenty five centuries later, and what has changed? What is our modern reaction to mass immigration, even when accompanied by stories of atrocity and oppression? What do we do, when a group arrives en masse, claiming political asylum, and our response to their pleas could jeopardise our own national security? In order to regard ourselves as “civilised”, how far are we required to go, to defend the oppressed people of another nation against the “injustices” of their own culture? Are our values somehow inherently “better” than theirs? And even if they are, when do we get involved and when not? Kosovo, Rwanda, Libya, Syria, Gaza… these narratives are frighteningly familiar to a modern audience, lacking any certain compass for moral guidance.

ACTORS-SPACE BERLIN / PUSH COMES TO SHOVE

Since its inception in 2009, Actors Space Berlin has become a mecca for actors from all over the world, who are committed to truthful, thoroughly engaged performance and creating a powerful, moment-to-moment, living experience for their audience. Actors-Space Berlin gives artists a sense of community in which they can explore and develop their craft, and supports the development and presentation of new and provocative work. “Push Comes to Shove” is a grass-roots, English-speaking ensemble, born out of this soil, comprising German as well as ex-patriot actors and artists. Incorporating all the available disciplines to aid in the telling of the story, the company here works collaboratively with choreographers, with sound, costume and set designers and with installation artists, in order to create a comprehensive, interdisciplinary story telling. André Bolouri, founder of the Ensemble and director of the play, commented on the artistic process saying, “It’s about challenging traditions, forms, and boundaries. Each artist brings their own talents to the team to organically build the piece.”

“True love has no conditions.
That’s why it’s so awful to fall in love.”

Hotel Methuselah

imitating the dog (UK)

hotelMethuselah_16cmbreit_freigestelltA contemporary ghost story that explores our fears around mortality, sexuality and the terrifying sense of responsibility that comes with having children.

A visual masterpiece of contemporary British theatre – in Germany for the first time, exclusively at English Theatre Berlin

Hotel Methuselah is  In a stunning homage to post-war British cinema and the French Nouvelle Vague, imitating the dog create a unique and disturbingly immersive experience for the audience.

Telling the story of night porter Harry’s search to uncover the forgotten truth of his past, Hotel Methuselah is a searing tale of the destructive power of love and the hell of personal disintegration. Fusing spectacular live action and video projection, this is stylish, cutting edge visual performance that places narrative, emotion and wit at its core.

“…unlike any other piece of theatre you’re likely to have experienced before…intriguing, a successful narrative experiment and a piece of art in its own right.” Yorkshire Evening Post

“a company at the forefront of testing the nature of theatre” – The Guardian

supported by     British CouncilNEW_BLLUE_180breit

 

to die for

tacheles productions (Berlin)

TDF_image_web“Today is a consequential occasion, and consequential occasions need witnesses.”

So says Ariana Krankovic- the fiercely unconventional lady, who has come to Berlin on a special mission. She’s not exactly a social butterfly, but she’s invited YOU to her birthday party- if you dare! To mark this momentous occasion Ariana Krankovic will perform the lethal Encanta’s Aria– a piece of music so beautiful that singing it stops the singer’s heart.

Will she go through with it? If so, will she survive to tell the tale? What binds her to this extraordinary aria? Before she can find out, there are ghosts from the Krankovic family tree that must be laid to rest.

This highly comic and touchingly magical one-woman show fuses naturalism and live music to explore the power of the stories we tell that shape our lives…and deaths.

Following rave reviews, including four stars in Irish Theatre Magazine, and successful performances in Dublin and Prague, Ariana Krankovic now comes to the heart of Berlin to captivate audiences once again.

This is one birthday party not to be missed!