If you had to sing the story of Berlin after Reunification, what would it sound and look like?
Barbara Abend’s Berlin! Und wir mittendrin. (Berlin! And we right in the middle) tells the story of Berlin in humorous and serious headline announcements, in theater repertoire (which also recently celebrated it’s 20th anniversary) in songs, and in dance.
The subtitle states: “Blick zurück nach vorn” (Looking back onto the future) – a play on words which on the one hand interweaves the rich history of the theater repertoire with historic events of the city, with the stories that Berliners remember and recognize, with the light and the heavy past (although glossing over the heavy); and on the other hand perhaps also indicates that art, while going along with the same chronological history of the city, has the ability to turn back, turn around, reflect, project, inspect, and dissect. This multidimensional looking is also self-reflexive.
The Theater im Palais has always included Berlin history, literature, its problems and issues into its own narratives and performances. After 20 years of stories, observations, and performances it presents its audiences with a cultural and musical inventory that covers everything from Marlene Dietrich to Knut, the military, criminal underworlds, food, literature, money, and love.
To conclude a little joke from the performance (sorry without an English translation because even if I come up with three rhymes, the pun, which is the punchline of the joke, would still get lost in translation):
Ode an den Bodensee: Ah, wie tut mir die Seele weh, wenn ich im Glas den Boden seh!