My First German Play…in German.

5 Jun

This weekend was pretty good.  A lot of rain.  I went with my colleague, Alex, to two museums.  One was the GEMÄLDEGALERIE and the other was the Neue National Gallery.  There are three museums here with “Neue” in their name.  The museums are pretty standard as far as museums go.  Old paintings, new paintings.  Weird religious iconography, weird modern art. Alex and I then met up with Casey and Paolo to go have drinks and dinner, which ended up being Mexican food.  It was really excellent!  Ok, so that day was a day.  The next day was better.

I got up and went to Potsdamer Platz where they have sections of the wall.  There is also a guy there who will stamp your passport with East German Stamps, or you can get a paper visa.  I am still deciding how I feel about that.  I think it is a little crass, but someone must like it.  Then Casey and I met up to hit this awesome flea market at Mauerpark.  The park is huge and there is a ton of awesome stuff, from junk tables to genuine jewelry to antique cameras.  We also saw a chair with a pot in it for, well, toilet use.  We really wanted to buy it.  That night we went and saw this play: JEDER STIRBT FÜR SICH ALLEIN, aka Everyone Dies Alone.  It is an interesting story, well acted, well directed and set, but poorly written. It was like this was the first draft.  It was only 2 hours with no intermission, but that was about 1 hour too long.  There were subplots that were extraneous, and it was preachy.  I love German theatre and I have read a lot of modern German stuff – this was not like anything I have read, nor anything I have liked.  The main idea was, “We all stood by and let the Nazi’s do their thing.  We were cowards.” Ok, fine, true.  But STOP TELLING US.  We got it the first four times.  Stop beating it into our heads.  There also was little danger written into the lives of the main two characters, so that’s where I think the subplots came from.  Too many.  And a weird parody of Hitler that was too safe – not far enough in terms of parody, but they were too afraid of putting a real-ish Hitler onstage.  I can say that the commitment of the actors was amazing.  I have never seen a group of people so willing to just throw their bodies around.  Literally.  The stage was impressive – a HIGH rake, very high, with little set dressing. Industrial.  Excellent design.  Also, the supertitles died about half the time.  So that sucked.  The opening was pretty excellent, though.  It excited me for the rest of the play.  Sadly, it did not live up to the first 5 minutes.

Today I also got my final grade.  A “B” – which should not make me mad, but it does.  I saw this professor three times to gauge my work, we wrote at least 6 small papers before spring break.  We wrote 11 (in my case, 13) small papers in total before the end of the semester and he never evaluated a SINGLE ONE.  We got no feedback, and, again, even though I saw him IN PERSON 3 times after class (and sometimes spoke for almost an hour) and wrote him numerous times, I never had any indication I was going to do mediocre.  Actually, that is not entirely true.  I knew, based on our conversations, that this was an uphill battle for me, but since I had killed myself writing and researching for this class, I thought it would count for something.  It didn’t.  At the end of the day, he theorized about theatre and I practiced it, and we just never saw eye to eye.  Although I met him far more than halfway on many things.  Oh well.  Jerk.

Today we begin lesson 2 in German class.  Lesson 1 is over.  Wish me luck!

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