etb English
Theatre
Berlin
International Performing Arts Center




Blog Archive

Adam Sachs

The U.S. Embassy Literature Series

A Reading from The Organs of Sense

Adam Ehrlich Sachs, writer and fellow, American Academy in Berlin 2019

In 1666, an astronomer makes a prediction shared by no one else in the world: at the stroke of noon on June 30 of that year, a solar eclipse will cast all of Europe into total darkness for four seconds. This astronomer is rumored to be using the longest telescope ever built, but he is also known to be blind―and not only blind, but incapable of sight, both his eyes having been plucked out some time before under mysterious circumstances. Is he mad? Or does he, despite this impairment, have an insight denied the other scholars of his day?

These questions intrigue the young Gottfried Leibniz―not yet the world-renowned polymath who would go on to discover calculus, but a nineteen-year-old whose faith in reason is shaky at best. Leibniz sets off to investigate the astronomer’s claim, and over the three hours remaining before the eclipse occurs―or fails to occur―the astronomer tells the scholar the haunting and hilarious story behind his strange prediction: a tale that ends up encompassing kings and princes, family squabbles, obsessive pursuits, insanity, philosophy, art, loss, and the horrors of war.

Adam Ehrlich Sachs lives and works in Pittsburgh. He has an AB in atmospheric science and an MA in the history of science from Harvard University. The author of two books of fiction, Sachs’s writing has appeared in the New Yorker, n+1, and Harper’s, among other publications. His first book, Inherited Disorders: Stories, Parables, and Problems (Regan Arts, 2016), was a finalist for the 2017 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature. His story “The Philosophers” was named a Distinguished Story in The Best American Short Stories 2017. In 2018, Sachs received a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship in literature. His novel The Organs of Sense was published in May 2019 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Peter Wortsman

The U.S. Embassy Literature Series

A Reading from Stimme und Atem. Out of Breath, Out of Mind

Peter Wortsman, writer, translator and alumnus, American Academy in Berlin

Moderated by Andrew Gross, Professor of American Studies, Universität Göttingen

“To have reached at age 66, after years of considerable creative effort in English, the beginner’s level in another language is in my view no small feat, something on the order of digging a hole so deep into New York granite that you come crawling back up in China, filthy but still breathing. If as an adult I stutter and stumble with the shaky spoon of my tongue back into the still fluid forecourt of consciousness that German constitutes for me, I do so in full consciousness as an English speaker reminded of other syllables that say more to me about the unspeakable than yes and no.” So writes the New York-born author, son of Austrian-Jewish émigrés, in the foreword. “I harbor a stillborn scribe of the German tongue in me,” he maintains. In this collection of stories, some quasi-autobiographical, some nightmarish, most of them originally written in German and thereafter translated, or rather, adapted by the author himself into English, Wortsman creates a compelling, albeit disturbing, portrait, not only of himself, but also of our shattered age. Despite all, with his writing, Wortsman harbors a hope: “Perhaps we Germans and Jews of the Post-War generation, as children of a shattered cultural union, can still achieve something productive together, perhaps we can pick a few rags of reason from the ruins of the past and therewith pitch a tent big enough to hold all our dreams.”

Excerpted from Stimme und Atem/Out of Breath, Out of Mind (Zweisprachige Erzählungen/Two-Tongued Tales), a bilingual German-English book of stories by Peter Wortsman, forthcoming from PalmArt Press, Berlin, October 2019

 

Peter Wortsman is the author of novels, books of short fiction, plays, and travel memoirs. He is also a literary translator from German into English. He was a Fulbright Fellow in 1973, a Thomas J. Watson Foundation Fellow in 1974, and a Holtzbrinck Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin in 2010. His writing has been honored with the 1985 Beard’s Fund Short Story Award, the 2008 Gertje Potash-Suhr Prosapreis of the Society for Contemporary American Literature in German, the 2012 Gold Grand Prize for Best Travel Story of the Year in the Solas Awards Competition, and a 2014 Independent Publishers Book Award (IPPY). His travel reflections were selected five years in a row, 2008-2012, and again in 2016, for inclusion in The Best Travel Writing. His short fiction and essays have appeared, in German translation, in Manuskripte, Schreibheft, Cicero, the anthology AmLit: Neue Literatur aus den USA, published by the Druckhaus Galrev, Berlin, and in Die Welt and Die Zeit.

Holly-Jane Rahlens

In commemoration of the Fall of the Berlin Wall thirty years ago, New York-born Berlin writer and entertainer Holly-Jane Rahlens will read bilingually from her young adult bestseller, Mauerblümchen (Rowohlt) / Wallflower (Fourth Floor Fiction).

Originally published in 2009, the novella has become a favorite read in German, history and religion/ethics class, grades 8 and up. Now, published in its original English in a new edition, English-language teachers throughout Germany can get in on the action, too.

Wallflower is four hours in the life of Molly Lenzfeld, a sixteen-year-old New Yorker in Berlin. It’s Thanksgiving Day 1989, two weeks after the fall of the Wall. Molly, the daughter of a German-Jewish mother who fled the Nazis in 1938, is off to her mother’s birth house in East Berlin. On the train to Prenzlauer Berg, wallflower Molly meets East German wildflower Mick Maier, nineteen. It’s love at first sight. For both, it’s a journey into an unknown land and a world deep below the city’s streets – a fertile terrain in which to discover each other, the absurdities of the divided city, and, of course, the wonder of love.

This is what the press has said about Wallflower/Mauerblümchen:
A slew of comic scenes embellished with a great love for detail. — Spiegel Online | Powerful and touching — Berliner Zeitung | … an absolute riot! — Aviva-Berlin | … truly hilarious! — FAZ | Have you ever read a novel that made you feel like you could see the movie version in your mind while you were reading it? That’s what I experienced when I read Wallflower.  — Susanne M. Heim »Chicken Soup For the Soul« | A time machine into the past — Deutsche Presse Agentur  | A real eye-opener — Politiken
And this is what German teachers have said about Mauerblümchen:
Eine tolle Geschichte, sehr lebendig erzählt, sehr witzig, kurzweilig. Ein Buch für alle, nicht nur für Mädchen. Ein Buch aber auch für Erwachsene und für die Schulbibliothek. Dort kann es getrost im Register “Geschichte” stehen. – uhb Niedersachsen | Mit augenzwinkerndem Humor erzählt Rahlens von einer Jugendliebe auf den zweiten Blick, von Kettwurst und besonderer Gastfreundschaft – eben von einem Stück deutsch-deutscher Geschichte. — dk Bayern | Gerade die mit tatsächlichen Bahnhofsnamen versehene und dadurch realistisch verankerte Fahrt durch Berlin und das allmähliche Annähern der beiden Hauptcharaktere versinnbildlicht dabei die deutsch-deutsche Vergangenheit anschaulich und gestaltet Geschichte sehr lebensnah. Gerade der offene und dennoch hoffnungsvolle Schluss kann dabei womöglich auch als Allegorie der deutschen Geschichte seit der Wende gelesen werden. – StJ Sachsen-Anhalt | Es ist äußerst reizvoll, die sehr realistische Geschichte mit zu erleben. – frisch Nordrhein-Westfalen

Holly-Jane Rahlens, a born New Yorker, grew up in Brooklyn and Queens and graduated from Queens College (City University of New York). She moved to Berlin, Germany, soon after, where she has lived virtually all her adult life. While remaining an American citizen, she has flourished in the German media world, working in radio, television, and film as an actress, producer and commentator as well as creating a series of highly praised one-woman shows. She writes fiction for readers of all ages. In 2003 her first novel for teens, Prince William, Maximilian Minsky and Me, earned the prestigious Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis as the best young adult novel published in Germany. In 2006 the Association of Jewish Libraries named it a Sydney Taylor Honor Book. It has since been published in eight languages and was adapted in 2007 into the motion picture Max Minsky and Me, which has garnered praise and awards around the world.

Anne Finger

ETB | IPAC, THEATER THIKWA and the american academy in berlin present A reading by ANNE FINGER

Anne Finger will be reading from an early memoir, Past Due: A Story of Disability, Pregnancy and Birth which was published in the U.S. by Seal Press. A German translation, Lebenswert, was published by Fischer Verlag in 1992.

Anne Finger liest aus einem autobiographischen Text: “Past Due: A Story of Disability, Pregnancy and Birth”, der in deutscher Übersetzung von Christine Frick-Gehrke unter dem Titel “Lebenswerteine behinderte Frau bekommt ein Kind” 1992 bei S. Fischer erschienen ist.

Anne Finger is a writer of both fiction and non-fiction.  Her most recent book is a novel, A Woman, in Bed (Cinco Puntos).  Her short story collection, Call Me Ahab retells iconic disability stories from a disabled perspective.  Her most recent memoir, Elegy for a Disease: A Personal and Cultural History of Polio was published by St. Martin’s Press. She lives in Oakland, California, where she is active in the disability justice movement as well as movements for broader social change.

Anne is currently the Holtzbrinck Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin.

Anne Finger ist Autorin von Romanen, autobiografischen Texten und Sachbüchern; 2018 erschien ihr neuester Roman “A Woman, in Bed”. In ihrem Erzählungsband “Call Me Ahab” (2009) erzählen Behinderte – sowohl Figuren aus literarischen Texten als auch real existierende Mitmenschen – aus ihrer Perspektive. Ihr letztes Memoir “Elegy for a Disease: A Personal and Cultural History of Polio” erschien 2006. Anne lebt in Oakland / Kalifornien, wo sie sowohl in der Behindertenbewegung als auch in verschiedenen Gruppierungen und Bewegungen für breitangelegte gesellschaftliche Veränderung aktiv ist.
Zur Zeit ist sie Holtzbrinck Fellow an der American Academy in Berlin.
Pic/Foto: Shoey Sindel

 

 

It’s That Time of the Month PLUS SIZE

This improvised live talk show hosted by Berlin’s funniest women is coming to English Theatre Berlin | International Performing Arts Center for a one-time engagement!

Don’t miss it as these seven unscripted comedians from six different countries take the stage to improvise about topics close to their hearts and dish out life advice on all things necessary.

Same outrageous cast. Same hilarious show. This time in a bigger venue with more prizes.

Comedians: Andrea Björk Andresdottir, Antonia Bär, Caroline Clifford, Matilde Keizer, Marisa Llamas, Janina Rook, Nicole Ratjen

GLB – Improv Comedy

GLB bring their show to the ETB | IPAC stage for a behemoth evening of improvised scenes weaved together with incomparable timing and gut-wrenching laughter.

 

Plus, they’re bringing some of their friends along!

 

Pretty much anything can happen, and it’s all made up before your very eyes by some of the best improvisers this city has to offer.

 

GLB is Berlin’s longest running English-language longform improv team. They perform every 1st & 3rd Friday at the Comedy Café Berlin. Formed in 2013 as Good Luck, Barbara, GLB is one of the first teams to bring North American-style longform improv to the German Hauptstadt, and has been performing continuously since then – from claustrophobic basement bars to ETB | IPAC here in Berlin, and the massive Del Close Marathon in New York City and SlapDash in London. GLB members teach improv through The CCB Training School and have trained a new generation of fantastic improvisers right here in Berlin. They are Nicole Ratjen, Josh Telson and Noah Telson.

 

Daniel-Ryan Spaulding

UPDATE: An important note to all guests planning to attend the Daniel-Ryan Spaulding performances on October 11 and 12: we are selling 150 tickets for each performance via our online box office. All guests who purchase tickets from this online contingent are guaranteed seats on chairs and we will sell an additional 20 – 30 seats on cushions on the floor at the door. We heavily encourage all guests to secure their tickets now.

Because you demanded it: Daniel-ryan spaulding returns to ETB | IPAC for his last performances with us this year after a series of sold-out shows!

two nights only!

Daniel-Ryan is an internationally touring Croatian-Canadian stand-up comedian who has performed in over 45 countries worldwide and is the star of the recent hit video series about a hipster expat It’s Berlin!

Expect a solid hour of sharp, hilarious, sassy, brutal stand-up about expat life, Eurotrash, sex, Yugoslavia, culture, nostalgia, the Dutch and, of course, Berlin!

“Daniel shines when engaged in storytelling, timing his humour well in an admirably relaxed fashion, while his mannerisms and confrontational attitude entertain, as he lets his inner frustrations spill out into hilarious and, at time, brutal anecdotes. Daniel’s combination of camp enthusiasm and fearless outspokenness serve to create a very entertaining show.”
– **** Three Weeks (UK)
“Brilliant, hilarious subversion” – Huffington Post
“Intelligent, and above all very funny. His material is tight. His delivery is strong, and his timing is perfect.” **** Scotsgay Magazine

Watch Daniel-Ryan Spaulding’s viral hit (over 2 million views) on YouTube:

Daniel-Ryan Spaulding

Because you demanded it: Daniel-ryan spaulding returns to ETB | IPAC following his two completely sold-out shows in June and August! These will be Daniel-Ryan’s last shows in Berlin in 2018 – two nights only!

Daniel-Ryan is an internationally touring Croatian-Canadian stand-up comedian who has performed in over 45 countries worldwide and is the star of the recent hit video series about a hipster expat It’s Berlin!

Expect a solid hour of sharp, hilarious, sassy, brutal stand-up about expat life, Eurotrash, sex, Yugoslavia, culture, nostalgia, the Dutch and, of course, Berlin!

“Daniel shines when engaged in storytelling, timing his humour well in an admirably relaxed fashion, while his mannerisms and confrontational attitude entertain, as he lets his inner frustrations spill out into hilarious and, at time, brutal anecdotes. Daniel’s combination of camp enthusiasm and fearless outspokenness serve to create a very entertaining show.”
– **** Three Weeks (UK)
“Brilliant, hilarious subversion” – Huffington Post
“Intelligent, and above all very funny. His material is tight. His delivery is strong, and his timing is perfect.” **** Scotsgay Magazine

Watch Daniel-Ryan Spaulding’s viral hit (over 2 million views) on YouTube:

Songs At The Theatre

Get ready for an evening of music in the theater! Following the success of last year’s event, we are very pleased to invite you to once again enter the world of songs through the lenses of two Berlin-based singer-songwriters. Viktor’s Joy and Alex Spencer will share new material from their own songbooks and invite special guests to join them on stage. Brandon Miller will release his new album, Blue Blood Eclipse, and perform it live with a full band.

Vikor’s Joy sings about life. With precise observations about people, neighborhoods, bus journeys or other people’s concerts, Viktor’s Joy takes you and shows you exactly how his interior and exterior world looks. Like being drawn into a painting or a good book, the listener never wants the songs to end. With tear-jerkingly beautiful plucked guitar and a voice steady and low, each feels like a masterpiece.

Brandon Miller is a Berlin based singer/songwriter whose music immediately takes the listener by the hand and into a story. His live performances are disarming, subversive and authentic. On stage he has supported such artists as William Elliott Whitmore, Michael Nau, Hawk and a Hacksaw, Deertick, Nina Nastasia, John Fullbright, and many others. As of the 2017-2018 season, he has been working at Theaterdiscounter Berlin writing and performing original “apocalyptic campfire” songs for the Internil performance group theater project GOG/MAGOG. A disinformation campaign in four parts (Ukraine/Syria/Israel/Europe). Many of the songs he has written for this project are collected on his new album, Blue Blood Eclipse, which will be officially released at this concert.

Alex Spencer is fresh out of the studio from recording her second album. With a conscious move towards her roots in jazz music, she has teamed up with one of the hottest trios in town: Ben Lehmann (double bass), Martial Frenzel (drums) and Paul Engelmann (alto sax). Drawing inspiration from such diverse subject matters as insects, painters or parenting, the songs themselves defy categorization, sometimes jazzy, other times more folk, sometimes tipping over into pop. Each of them sung with a voice strong enough to transport the whole auditorium.

Listen to Viktor’s Joy on Bandcamp and visit his artist page on Facebook

 

 

 

 

Listen to Brandon Miller on Bandcamp and visit his official website

 

 

 

 

 

Listen to Alex Spencer on SoundCloud and visit her artist page on Facebook

 

 

 

Rebecca Rukeyser

The U.S. Embassy Literature Series

Rebecca Rukeyser reads from The Homestead – a novel in progress

From 1862 to 1986 the Homestead Act allotted 160 acres of land free of charge to any American man who could work the land for five years. The last decades of this Act populated Alaska, a state that still bears the nickname “The Last Frontier.”

Set in the early years of the 21st century, The Homestead looks into the final days of one of these Alaskan homesteads. Having lived on an unpopulated island in the Kodiak archipelago for decades, Lew and Megan Jenkins face economic strain and open their property to tourism. Their “remote lodge” aims to give vacationers a sense of the real West and the real Alaska—a pristine landscape molded by hard work. But Jenkins’ lodge is failing as a tourist destination and their marriage is dissolving.

Rebecca Rukeyser is a fiction writer, co-founder of the Berlin Writers’ Workshop, and the recipient of a 2018 “Arbeitsstipendium nichtdeutschsprachige Literatur” –  Grant for Non-German Literature, awarded by the Berlin Senatsverwaltung für Kultur und Europa. Her work has appeared in such publications as Best American NonRequired Reading, The Massachusetts Review, and ZYZZYVA. She holds an MFA in Fiction from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and teaches creative writing at Heinrich Heine Universität.