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Exotic Animal

Exotic Animal is an online audience collaborative performance that takes place via the platform Zoom.

“The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house” – Audre Lorde

Exotic is warm and spicy. It is one letter away from erotic. It promises adventure. Exotic is somewhere far away and foreign. Exotic is strange, but also very appealing and desirable. It is always over there, not here; them, not us; you, never me. Exotic is dark and mysterious, but its threat is tamed and contained.

The exotic industry has become a big and lucrative market, offering goods and services ranging from food, fashion, music, books, health products, workshops, collectibles, antiques to cultural attractions, theme events, tourism and corporate branding. It has often been touted as a fun and light way to promote the appreciation and experience of foreign cultures. But is it as innocent as it appears? What lurks beneath its foreigner-friendly surface? This collaborative performance invites the audience to see what it takes to create the ideal exotic look.

Drawing on his personal experience as a dancer of Asian origin, Ming Poon looks at how eurocentrism, globalization and cultural consumerism contribute to the exoticization of his body for the art market. Approaching the body as a site on which meanings, values and boundaries are inscribed, he interrogates how the exotic gaze displaces and appropriates his body, turning it into a cultural commodity and a symbol of subjugation. Exotic Animal both invites and confronts the exotic gaze. Staring defiantly back, it attempts to shift the power relation between the gazer and itself.

Ming Poon is a Berlin-based choreographer who began his career as professional dancer in 1993 and started to develop his choreographic practice in 2010. He creates choreographic interventions, where spectators are invited to exercise their agency to create change. His works are interactive and collaborative in design. They usually take the form of collaborative performances, public interventions and one-to-one encounters. He works with vulnerability, care, peripherality and failure as performance strategy.

His practice is influenced by Buddhist concept of interdependence and care, Judith Butler’s resistance in vulnerability, Augusto Boal’s theatre of the oppressed and Nicolas Bourriaud’s micro-utopias.

His works have been presented at Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay (Singapore), The Substation (Singapore), English Theatre Berlin | International Performing Arts Center (Berlin, Germany), Hebbel am Ufer (Berlin, Germany), Scenario Pubblico | Centro Nazionale di Produzione della Danza (Catania, Italy) and Südpol (Luzern, Switzerland).

The Ministry of Mundane Mysteries

Did you hear? Our friends at SummerWorks in Toronto, Canada just announced their first summer presentation The Ministry of Mundane Mysteries: Summer Passport – a remote immersive experience from Outside the March!

We are thrilled to be partnering with SummerWorks and a community of organizations from around the world to spread the word that this special presentation is available internationally for the first time and entirely free to the public.

“Made-to-measure… executed so generously… [The Ministry] asked about my world, listened and then let me slip free of it, at 10-minute intervals.” -The New York Times

Finding yourself with a little time on your hands? Missing the uplift of live arts and culture? Is there a friend, a relative or a kid in your life who could use a daily dose of adventure? The meticulous mavericks at The Ministry of Mundane Mysteries have got you covered. This customized improvised narrative experience unfolds over a week’s worth of short daily phone calls, as our intrepid private investigators delve into your very own micro mystery using the investigative power of good conversation.

In Germany, Ministry agents will be available between 5pm-7pm / 9pm-11pm / 1am-3am. Tickets are going extremely quickly and can be booked, free of charge, at https://www.mundanemysteries.com/book-now-international

The Ministry’s Departments include:

·         The Misplaced Keepsakes Division

·         The Striking Coincidences ThinkTank

·         The Missed Connections Unit

·         The Paranormal Activity Task Force

At this moment of uncertainty, leave some of the pondering to the professionals as we work with you to untangle meaning from meaninglessness in the mundane.

There are only a limited number of appointments available for international investigations so be sure to book as soon as possible to get your daily dose of adventure during these unprecedented times!

A Better Life

If you want a better life, you must live a better life.

The performance A Better Life, a co-production from MS Schrittmacher (Berlin) and Brain Store Project (Sofia), deals with the question what a better life can mean and what we do to achieve it.

In European society, moving and being mobile is not only important, but also easier than it was ever before. This gives all European citizens the opportunity to move to a new place if they feel like there can be better options, better living circumstances or sometimes just better weather. We, as individuals, are all responsible to ourselves to live a life that we think is fulfilled and worth living. What would we give up to raise our standards? Are we ready to trade social capital for material capital? What does a good life mean to us and what does even a better life mean to us?

The concept of the performance A Better Life is a result of the research project LUXUS-WEG, funded by the Szenenwechsel (Change of Scene) program of the Robert Bosch Stiftung and a co-production between the performance group MS Schrittmacher from Berlin and ACT Association for Independent Theater from Sofia.

Over the course of this research, the choreographers and performers Martin Stiefermann (Berlin), Iva Sveshtarova and Willy Prager (Sofia) as well as the dramaturg Natalie Baudy (Berlin) have explored the migration patterns of German senior citizens living in old-age poverty going to Bulgaria and young Bulgarians coming to work and study in Germany. The focus lies on the questions of what compromises we make in exchange for a better life and what effects our decisions have on society. What is the motivation for those migration patterns within the EU and what does a better life even mean to us?

To begin, the team met in Sofia where they started their research and made contact with German retirees living in Bulgaria. Afterward, they traveled to Varna, Baltchik, Kavarna and the Golden Beach and talked to female German senior citizens living there about their motivation to start a new life in Bulgaria. They entered into intensive conversation with them, conducted interviews and became acquainted with their living spaces and their everyday lives. In February 2019, a further intensive research phase followed in Berlin, in which a corresponding catalogue of questions was addressed to Bulgarians living in Germany.

Status (Chris Thorpe, UK)

We all have a nationality.

Or almost all of us.

Status is a show about someone who doesn’t want his any more. About running away from the national story you’re given. About who is responsible
for that story and what might happen to it if you give it up.

A globe-spanning journey of attempted escape, with songs along the way.

Directed by Rachel Chavkin who won a Tony award 2019 for Best Director of the Broadway musical Hadestown.

“… the words are eloquent, the music essential and powerful, and the performance full of a brilliant, prowling precision…”

Scotsman Fringe First Award Winner 2018

★★★★ Guardian ★★★★Time Out ★★★★The Scotsman★★★★The Stage

“With its magical-realist twists, the show has the strange pull of a Haruki Murakami novel, a dense and provocative barrage of reflections on a world in flux and our place within it.” Guardian
“As ever with Chris Thorpe, the words are eloquent, the music essential and powerful, and the performance full of a brilliant, prowling precision…” Scotsman
“…a searching, meticulously crafted, beautifully written piece, full of fragile conclusions about nationhood and privilege.” The Stage
“Status is a sophisticated, hugely confident show, meticulously crafted in Thorpe’s bracing monologue and directed with assurance and remarkable insight by Rachel Chavkin…” ArtsDesk
“…a scintillating, rigorous critique of something we often take for granted” Fest Mag
“Thorpe’s metaphysical road trip is grittily real, discomfortingly surreal, densely poetic” Edinburgh Reporter

Supported by the British Council, Goethe-Institut London, the Collaborative Touring Network and using public funding by the national lottery through Arts Council England.

Rejection (Dirty Granny Tales)

Rejection, which many believe is Dirty Granny’s most successful production thus far, is performed in a way we have never seen before. The team adds another dimension to the narrative of the story, going down paths they have never dared to take before.

The production is inspired by the life of serial killer Ed Gein, which has prompted the creation of various murderous characters in literature and the cinema, including Norman Bates in Robert Bloch’s Psycho, brought to the screen by Alfred Hitchcock, and Leatherface in Tobe Hooper’s  film The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

Dirty Granny’s dark tales are a combination of live acoustic music, puppetry, dance and animation projection, strongly influenced by Tim Burton and The Residents, as well as Manos Hadzidakis, David Bowie, Black Metal and progressive psychedelic rock. They also feature contemporary dance involving dolls and movement in costumes, somewhat reminiscent of Japanese gothic theater.

The story describes the relationship between an authoritarian mother and her son. A mother who didn’t allow her child to feel love from anyone but herself. A child whose only contact with the outside world was through a small window. A child for whom other childrens’ games and smiles always remained inaccessible. His deprived childhood turned him into a repulsive creature and his rejection by humans was inevitable. His need for social contact led him to murder and ultimately to execution. The fairy tale unfolds in the world of the dead. How will the other souls there respond to him? Will they accept him or reject him too?

 

Please, Repeat After Me

Following a sold-out performance in the 2019 Expo Festival and a rave review in Der Tagesspiegel, we are very pleased to welcome Please, Repeat After Me back for two encore performances!

I have millions of reasons to be crazy; give me one reason to be sane!

Or

Please, Repeat After Me is a play about decision-making and labels.

(We)* are left abandoned in the theater with a real mermaid: a fish incapable of being eaten and a woman incapable of seduction.

But the mermaid is real!

When does a stereotype stop being a stereotype?

When does a refugee stop being a refugee?

When does an actor stop being an actor?

 

Electra

ETB | IPAC & Berlin International Youth Theatre present

HARVARD COLLEGE STUDENTS with their production of the Sophocles classic, Electra, featuring Turkish TV star Ece Hakim.

A moving exploration of family and justice: Thousands of years ago, King Agamemnon ruled over Mycenae alongside his wife Clytemnestra and his four children Iphigenia, Electra, Orestes and Chrysothemis. All was well until Agamemnon’s sister in law, Helen, was taken to Troy. Now it was up to him to command the Greek armed forces into the infamous Trojan War which would claim many victims, including Agamemnon’s daughter Iphigenia, whom he sacrificed to the Gods in exchange for a strategic advantage. Upon his return, Agamemnon was murdered by his wife Clytemnestra and her lover. Electra, along with her dead father’s adviser, organized the kidnapping of her youngest brother Orestes, with the intent of training the young boy to one day avenge his father and murder his mother. Fifteen years later, Orestes returns to fulfill his murderous destiny…

This is the latest production by director Isaiah Michalski, actor of Lars Kraume’s award-winning film The Silent Revolution (Das schweigende Klassenzimmer). Michalski studies theater at Harvard College and is currently participating in the Schaubühne’s prestigious apprenticeship program.

The show will include an original score and live music by composer Marie Carroll.

 

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.

Fuck me i love you

The circular motion and fluctuation of desire, power, ambition and the endless search for the unattainable love we all crave for is explored by an international cast of seven multi-talented performers. Together they create a station drama inspired by Arthur Schnitzler’s Reigen (La Ronde).

A series of encounters strung together depicts a society locked in a cycle.

“This city is no place for love. The people are too fragile to be genuine, too shrewd to be open. One becomes accustomed to immerse oneself in so many vain interests and ultimately lose sight of what is real.” Heinrich von Kleist, 1800.