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Max Black

Based on texts by Paul Valery, Georg Christoph Lichtenberg, and Ludwig Wittgenstein this legendary work by Heiner Goebbels offers a feast for the eyes and ears. Music theatre pyrotechnics offer a new mode of embodying philosophical discourse in a staging that that is both sensuous and spontaneous. Here one of Europe’s most adventurous theatre-makers offers an opportunity to experience the magic that scientist Max Black is capable of realizing in his onstage laboratory where anything and everything is possible. ONE DAY ONLY!
 May, 10, 6.30 pm CET for 24 hours. EXTENDED! May 29, 2:30 pm EST (NYC), 6.30 pm CET (Berlin) for 24 hours

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‘Look to her, Moor, if thou hast eyes to see. She has deceived her father, and may thee.’ One could argue that Brabantio’s warning to Othello is the pulse that runs through one of the most sinister of Shakespeare’s plays: if true, Richard Twyman and the English Touring Theatre have exploited this to full effect. In a taut staging addressing contemporary religious tensions – particularly those between Islam and Christianity – Victor Oshin masterfully humanizes the protagonist before his inevitable fall whilst Kitty Archer as Desdemona provides a tragic foil to his demise. A thrillingly tense an immensely humane exploration of the danger of jealousy unleashed.

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Negative Space

“Theatrical space as a place of possibilities and (im) possibilities is revealed in the work of leading UK-Belgian company Reckless Sleepers. In the absence of a conventional narrative, meaning, movement and logic become liquid and changing concepts in a hypnotic and intriguing composition that reinvents itself with each viewing. In a world where you can be anything… can you only be what is expected of you? Can we break down the pre-established limits of the theatrical (and real) worlds on stage and agree on the fact that we might have seen the same piece… but not really?

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Krzysztof Warlikowski’s (A)pollonia is based on classical and contemporary texts, primarily, excerpts from Euripides’ Alcestis, the Oresteia by Aeschylus, and Hanna Krall’s Pola. The erudite script also includes fragments of Jonathan Littell’s Les Bienveillantes, J.M Coetzee’s Elizabeth Costello, Rabidranath Tagore’s drama The Post Office, and more. By bringing together these texts, Warlikowski seeks to shed light on the ambiguous and somber history of sacrifice, and self-sacrifice – giving up one’s life for another – in particular. Stories of mythological characters ruled by Fate are complemented and reflected in twentieth-century experience with its helplessness in the face of the Holocaust. In the act of sacrifice, the executioner becomes no less important than the victim.

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Anty-Gone Tryptich Part II

To tell the mythical story of Antigone, Song of the Goat uses a hypnotic mix of narration, polyphonic singing, choreography and the music of a cello. The performers’ contemporary dance movements, combined in different ways throughout the show, invite us to reflect on the figure of Antigone: are all the people we see a part of that mythical figure? Perhaps those movements, to the beat of a multiplicity of polyphonic voices, could be the embodiment of the doubts that torment Antigone? In a world where you can be anything… Can you be loyal to your beliefs while thunderous voices sow doubts around you?

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The Clock God from the West

The theatrical stage is always a magic place where time, space and culture intersects. On stage, magic can send you back to the past, but how can it remove your pride, greed, envy and lust? In a dark age, no one is optimistic about the future, the only way that they can find relief is by looking back. Can the family in the East finally find any resolution with the magic of the clock from the West? The play was produced by Quirky Moth Theatre, one of China’s leading theatre companies established by a group of younger-generation practitioners and here they explore the influence of the West on China’s sense of self with a heightened sense of the intersections between past, present and future.

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El Virus De La Por (Virus of Fear)

Unlike Masks and The Rest I Make Up, Ventura Pons’ Virus of Fear (2015) is not a documentary. It is, however, decidedly theatrical: based on the acclaimed play by Josep Maria Miró, Arquimedes’ Principle, the film follows a community grappling with the aftermath of an alleged sexual assault at a local swimming pool. Unwilling to take sides or to pontificate, Pons offers instead a challenging, bold examination of the contagious nature of terror and collective anxiety.

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The Rest I Make Up

Michelle Memran’s The Rest I Make Up (2018) is a moving documentary about Cuban-American playwright and director Maria Irene Fornes. A pioneer in the New York City arts scene of the latter half of the 20th century, Fornes is a whirlwind of sharp wit and seemingly endless creativity. Her eventual struggle with Alzheimer’s, portrayed delicately by Memran, does little to slow her down. This is a remarkable portrait both of an intergenerational friendship and of a creative artist whose impact on American theatre has been acknowledged by writers as different as Edward Albee and Tony Kushner. This film plays from 15-29 April.

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Department of Dreams

In this nightmarish, Orwellian comedy, an autocratic government demands its citizens deposit their dreams in a central bureaucratic depository so that it can exert the fullest possible control of their imaginations. Dan, a new hire for the prized job of Interpreter, sifts patiently through the nation’s dreams looking for threats to the government’s authority. but finds nothing is as it seems except the authority he serves. A key work from Kosovan playwright Jeton Naziraj is given a memorable production, first staged at LA’s City Garage in 2019.

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The Rosenbergs

The North-American premiere of Joachim Holbek’s and Rhea Leman’s 2015 opera, The Rosenbergs presents a new lens for looking at the relationship of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, the US citizens convicted of spying for the Soviet Union. Drawing on their letters from prison in 1953, this moving exploration of the Rosenbergs’ personal and political commitment is intensely realised, with Christie Lee Gibson and Brian Church excelling as the doomed couple trying to navigate a difficult line between idealism and naivety. What would you be prepared to do for what you believe in? This is a production that allows The Rosenbergs a new trial, inviting the audience to come to its own conclusions about what moral responsibility means and how to exercise it.

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Blue Bird

The Blue Bird is a trilogy based, in part, on the play by Belgian symbolist Maurice Maeterlinck. Boris Yukhananov staged it as a journey into a fantastic, eccentrically structured world where experiments with the spectator’s imagination alternate with deep reflections on culture, time and theatre. The personal memories of veteran actors Vladimir Korenev and Aleftina Konstantinova – he in the role of the boy Tyltyl and she in the role of the girl Mytyl – emerge as vivid, documentary commentary on this mystical story about the search for Happiness. Each of the production’s parts has its own name – Journey, Night, and Bliss – its own structure, and artistic fabric. Each is stylistically diverse and absorbs the experience of world theatre culture in its own way.

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Family Album

Is it surprising to see conflicts and compromises as three generations of a family – a grandmother, her children and grandchildren — all coexist in the same house? Described as a ‘tragi-comedy about dumplings and the 90s’, Spiazzi’s perceptive piece has the actors performing in masks. Each generation is distinguished by their own characteristics and quibbles. What this live family album looks like depends on our own interpretations, and it can be like anything…

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2007: Macbeth

The Shakespeare’s play, directed by Grzegorz Jarzyna, is set on an American military base in present-day Iraq. Macbeth commands a daring military operation during daily Muslim prayers that ends with him terminating the local rebel leaders. The act, while praised by General Duncan, in just the first in a series of brutal murders that the ambitious military man will commit, incited by his ruthless wife and his evergrowing aspirations.

The televised version of the play was produced in 2006, just a month before the demolition of the Warsaw Waryński Factory complex, which had served as the stage for 2007: Macbeth ever since the play’s premiere. Dynamic close-ups, editing, and additional sound effects improved and focused the intimacy and dynamics of multiple shots, while the pervasively claustrophobic interiors where the increasingly psychotic Macbeth spends his days strongly emphasized the liminal psychological condition of the protagonist.

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A theatrical exercise holds the potential of becoming an event in which the onstage action is related to the cultures of what is happening offstage. Performed at a 400-year-old theatre in China, this adaptation of the thousand-year-old ancient Chinese myth of ‘Genesis’ is given its new life in a contemporary setting. Sitting in the theatre and thinking about how the world has been created, the audience is given the chance to reflect its sense of time and space by seeing how modern and traditional Chinese performing cultures can be interwoven. Engage in cyberspace and let us know what you think of this theatrical encounter.

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Home Makers

Combining elements of performance, storytelling and applied theatre, these soundwalks invite us to visit different places or just to close our eyes and let ourselves be guided by the voices of the migrant domestic and care workers, who encourage us to reflect on the power of a voice and a story coming from the heart. Home Makers leads us to rethink our definition of theatrical space and, perhaps, the limits of performance and the paradox of presence in absence. The voices in Home Makers seem to ask us: In a world where you can be anything, can you be aware of unheard stories and acknowledge the steps of those who stood in this place before you?

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No Matter How Hard We Tried (Między Nami Dobrze Jest)

No Matter How Hard We Tried was directed by Grzegorz Jarzyna based on the play by Dorota Masłowska, commissioned by TR Warszawa and Berlin’s Schopenhauer am Lehniner Platz. The piece is a masterful exposition of the language of advertisements, glossy magazines, and tabloids; it confronts consumptionist dreams with the reality of a family living below the poverty line. All of this is merely a shell beneath which a more serious question lies: a question about the “us” in the title, about national identity, tradition, and memory.

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For Hamletmachine, Wilson first worked with students at New York University, and later–in the original German version–with theater students in Hamburg, produced by the Thalia Theater. In 2017, the production was revived in an Italian version with acting students from the Theater Academy “Silvio d’Amico” in Rome. Heiner Müller himself called Wilson’s production “the best production ever” of this work, praising it for its lightness and absence of interpretive staging. ONE DAY ONLY! May 1st, for 24 hours.

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May 2024


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