I Beg Your Pardon: A Survey of the British Perspective on German Theatre

Pretzel or Royal headgear. Andre Schurrle moving to Chelsea. How to properly translate Paddington Bear. Just a few of the highly controversial debates causing sparks to fly between the Germans and the Brits these days.

Yet tonight sees the Theatertreffen premiere of Night Train, a Schauspiel Köln and 59 Productions adaptation of Friederike Mayröcker’s poetry which dispels any doubt that a German-British collaboration is not only possible, but capable of being “remarkable.”

And despite being by definition the most German of German theatre festivals, Night Train’s director Katie Mitchell and dramaturgs Duncan Macmillan and Lyndsey Turner aren’t the first Brits to be included at the Theatertreffen. Last year alone featured three British playwrights: Dennis Kelly opened the Stückemarkt with the memorable speech “Why political theatre is a complete fucking waste of time,” Pamela Carter nabbed the Stückemarkt commission prize (see the result for yourself on Friday 17th at the Maxim Gorki Studio), and Simon Stephens just missed out on a coveted Top Ten spot in the line-up with the German-British-Estonian production of his Three Kingdoms.

Clearly the Brits are infiltrating. But what do they really think of German theatre? I asked directors, playwrights, critics, actors and academics from across the UK to answer four simple questions. Here’s what they said:

WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU THINK OF WHEN YOU HEAR THE WORDS “GERMAN THEATRE”?

Qu1Survey_MiriamSherwood

Continue reading I Beg Your Pardon: A Survey of the British Perspective on German Theatre

Theatertreffen Acting Fact-File

The 5,000€ Alfred-Kerr-Preis for the best performance at the Theatertreffen was announced today, decided and presented by actress Nina Hoss. The prize went to Fabian Hinrichs – here are TT-Blog photographer Nadine`s photos of the award ceremony:

 
But how did she choose when there were so many different styles of acting treading the boards? Maybe she stole a look at my fact-file, based on some of the leading men and ladies of this year’s festival.
Style: The Entertainer
Example:
Fabian Hinrichs, Kill Your Darlings! Streets of Berladelphia
Director: Rene Pollesch
Role:
Only speaking part
Costume
: Shiny, skin-tight rainbow leggings/Floor-length skirt/Octopus costume Continue reading Theatertreffen Acting Fact-File

Opening: Gesäubert/Gier/4.48 Psychose

Elongated paper lanterns suspended over the auditorium of the Berliner Festspiele’s main stage added a little visual interest to the opening night’s obligatory speeches: Thomas Oberender, artistic director of the Festspiele, in praise of the 10 productions and the jury that chose them, and Bernd Neumann, Minister of State for Culture and Media, emphatically preaching the importance of theatre even in times of economic crisis (Q: Does Germany need so many theatres? A: Yes, yes, and YES again). Continue reading Opening: Gesäubert/Gier/4.48 Psychose