Saturday, May 15, 2010

I've been meaning to write this post since Thursday night, but my internet access has been sporadic at best. Anyway, here it is: Thursday night's thoughts on Saturday.

Thursday night was one of my favorite nights in Berlin so far, and this is surprising, since I started the day with absolutely no plans and knew that there was a very real chance that I would spend the day hanging around the hostel. Somehow, though, plans kind of formed around me and I ended up agreeing to go to a play at the Volksbühne. I had no idea what it was called and even less of an idea of what to expect, but I went along anyway because having something to do is generally better than having nothing to do.

I first realized that I liked the Volksbühne when I found its vending machine. This machine consisted of maybe ten glass doors, behind which were various books and postcards and CDs and stickers and pins. For one Euro you can open one of these doors and keep whatever is behind it. I got three books, a Volksbühne pin, two stickers, and a temporary tattoo.

After the excitement of the vending machine, I entered the auditorium. All of the walls were covered in black plastic and a yellow curtain hung across the stage. When the actor came onstage (it was a one-man show) he almost immediately took off all of his clothes and ran around the stage in his underwear. Throughout the play, he periodically changed his clothes so that he was sometimes wearing bodysuits and leotards and other times wearing a T-shirt and shorts. Yet it was not only the costume changes that made the show visually interesting, but also the actors energy and his use of props. At one point, to demonstrate the negative aspects of interactive theater, he went into the audience with a toothbrush and tried to brush and audience members teeth.

What really impressed me about this performance, though, was the way in which the actor discussed concepts like the relationship between the soul and the body while still acting in a funny and engaging way. He played instruments and danced and spray painted himself, yet somehow still conveyed intelligence and depth of thought. As I watched the performance, I felt inspired by this one person's potential to convey such a range of emotions in such a short period of time and even more by his ability to display this emotional range for an audience.

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