Tag Archives: Cassel

“Giselle” Live from the Royal Opera House

“Good evening everybody around the world.” It was the first time that I saw a production of the live cinema season 2015/16 of the Royal Opera House in London and I was thrilled. Only 22 visitors brought tickets for this cinema evening in Cassel (Germany) and it was a shame, because the show was fantastic! “Giselle” is a classic romantic ballet and most people know the story about the poor farmer’s girl Giselle, who is falling in love with duke Albrecht. He breaks her heart and in act two the Wilis, vengeful spirits of young brides who died before their wedding day, will try to dance Albrecht to death. But love wins in this powerful story! Peter Wright’s production for The Royal Ballet is based on Marius Petipa’s classic version, which was first staged in St. Petersburg in 1884. What makes a cinema screening of a production of a world famous dance company so special is the technical realization. “Giselle” was directed for the cinema by Ross Macgibbson in an excellent way. I don’t know how many cameras they use, but you can see every single detail on an 18 x 10 meters screen in a multiplex cinema. In fact you can see the facial expressions and the technical work of the dancers much better than form every seat in a performance theater. The price for this of course is that you miss the live atmosphere in an opera house. They try to compensate this with help of a live moderation from backstage before the show starts and with interviews in the intermission live from the foyer of the Royal Opera House. It is a good solution, because the moderator speaks live to the audiences in the cinemas around the world (in this case about 1500 cinemas). In addition they show the visitors in the cinemas produced short films with impressions of the rehearsals. That way one can really learn a lot about the creative process of the company. One other main thing that I missed was the total view of the stage. The cameras determine the point of view of the spectator. I see what the director wants me to see on the screen and I have no chance to focus on a ballerina in the corps de ballet only, like I could in the theater, if I wanted. I talked to a German technical employee in the cinema afterwards and he gave me some more information’s. They hardly have any technical problems with the live screenings any more, but there are only a very few shows that sell very well however. The Rocky Horror Show was a success and the screenings of the concert screenings of the Berliner Philharmoniker do very well. Besides the cinemas have similar problems just as the theaters. People like to stay at home these days and most of them have a huge TV screen anyway. We need to change that again people. It really makes a difference! I switch of my mobile phone, when I go to the theater or the cinema. I spent my time and concentration to enjoy a show with a friend. It’s a special evening and I am full of ideas and thankful afterwards. A TV never made me happy that way and I doubt anyone would disagree with me! What do you think? Share your thoughts about this question and live cinema screenings with me! Leave a comment!

 

“No mind control, no wall, just summer” The Angelcy are a fantastic Live-Band

 

This band of very talented young musicians from Israel will inspire you for sure! They are already the best newcomers in 2016 for me and I will tell you why. I was lucky to see The Angelcy live in concert in Cassel and I still have their melodies in my mind. With songs like My Baby Boy (refrain: “We are a natural disaster, lost all hope to ever understand”) or Giant Heart (“I don’t know what love is, but I know when I’m touched”) they moved and inspired me. To perform the song Giant Heart two of the musicians even jumped of the stage to create a very intimate atmosphere. Within their songs they are able to create an ease of handling difficult topics and emotions. The positive vibe on stage originated from the numberless instruments that the six musicians around the lead singer Rotem Bar Or played (Guitar, drums, string bass and Clarinet to name a few) and their overwhelming energy. They are a real Live-Band and that is a rare compliment these days. Soft political statements and ironic nuances support the unique lyrics of The Angelcy. They aim to describe the feelings of a young generation of Israelians, who are sick of the states old conflicts and the political dead end situation. They share their thoughts, hopes, dreams and stories and in doing so create a bit of hope for a more peaceful future full of music and love. If you missed the concerts in Germany you should check out their music here or here and buy their new CD EXIT INSIDE.

Pool der Emotionen

Johannes Wielands Auseinandersetzung mit der Flüchtlingskrise im Tanzstück “You will be removed” am Staatstheater Kassel

Ein kühler, nackter Ort der an ein Schwimmbad erinnert. Das Becken ist nicht mehr mit Wasser gefüllt und der Sprungturm wirkt ungleich höher und bedrohlicher, ohne das nasse Element. Vielleicht will in diesen Tagen auch niemand mehr schwimmen gehen, weil wir die Fernsehbilder ertrinkender Menschen im Mittelmeer im Kopf haben, denke ich mir im Stillen. An beiden Seiten führen steile Treppen in das Becken. Hier und da stehen Stühle, ein Sessel, eine Matratze, eine Palme, ein Einkaufswagen. Das beeindruckende Bühnenbild von Momme Roehrbein für Johannes Wielands Tanzabend “You will be removed” dominiert den ganzen Abend. Die Körper der Tänzer rutschen erschöpft die Treppen hinunter ins Becken. Kraftlos, hilflos, die Glieder scheinen zu schmerzen. Manche Körper könnten bereits nicht mehr am Leben sein. Kaum auf dem Grund des Beckenbodens angekommen, bemühen sich die Tänzer, die Treppen wieder zu bewältigen, und gleiten erneut hinab. Der Vorgang wiederholt sich. Die dominierende Farbe ist weiß. Man könnte sich auch in einer Flüchtlingserstaufnahmeeinrichtung oder in einem Behördengebäude befinden, wenn man den Sprungturm ausblendet. Bei genauer Betrachtung der Tänzer fallen die eleganten Kleider und guten Hosen auf. Hier wird in schicken Stöckelschuhen und modernen Sneakers getanzt, nicht in Flipflops. Nichts ist dreckig oder zerrissen. Natürlich spielen Choreograph Johannes Wieland und seine Kostümbildnerin Stefanie Krimmel mit den Symbolen des Kapitalismus, unserer Medienwahrnehmung und der anhaltenden Diskussion, ob nicht die Flüchtlinge die im Moment nach Europa kommen, eher Wirtschaftsflüchtlinge sind (ein Argument, dass man besonders in Deutschland dieser Tage oft hört). Musik und Situation ändern sich von Szene zu Szene. In unzähligen Variationen finden die Tänzer Möglichkeiten an den Wänden aus dem Becken zu klettern, wieder ins Becken hinein zu springen oder einarmig am Sprungbrett zu hängen. Akustisch nicht immer verständliche Texte unterstreichen die inhaltliche Auseinandersetzung. Da behauptet eine junge Frau in einer Szene sie sei zu einhundert Prozent physisch und psychisch in Ordnung und könne einen Beitrag für diese Gesellschaft leisten, obwohl sie gerade auf dem Sprungbrett am Abgrund steht. In einer anderen Szene geben Männer von sich alles ist real, echt, rein, man solle bloß nichts mischen…Koks, Seide, Rasse, Sex. Michael Jacksons Hit Black or White wird als Nummer ebenfalls eingeflochten. In den besten Momenten an diesem Abend ist die Energie, die das Ensemble freisetzt, unglaublich hoch und erinnert an die Arbeiten von Lloyd Newson oder Wim Vandekeybus. Wieland zitiert sogar die Arbeit “What the body does not remember” von Vandekeybus, aber statt der gefährlichen Ziegelsteine werfen die Tänzer bei ihm Schuhe und andere Alltagsgegenstände in die Luft. Ein Risiko einzugehen ist ein wichtiges Thema in dieser Arbeit, denn es funktioniert als Metapher dafür, dass auch die Flüchtlinge Risiken eingehen, wenn sie ihre Heimat verlassen. Sie wissen nicht, was sie auf der Flucht erleben und wo sie in Europa unterkommen oder gar ankommen werden. Wieland fordert den Körpern viel ab und bringt seine Tänzer mit den zum Teil gewagten akrobatischen Einlagen bewusst in Gefahr. Sie scheinen die Herausforderung zu genießen, bieten tänzerisch alle waghalsigen Sprünge an, die sie in der Lage sind auszuüben, und machen den Zuschauer gerne glauben: „Schaut her, ist doch alles ganz easy. Ich arbeite wie verrückt und das ist das Ergebnis.“ Und doch ist es nie gut genug!? Finden wir nicht immer etwas, was wir an den Neuankömmlingen auszusetzen haben? Die Medien fluten unsere Gedanken, so wie Johannes Wieland an diesem Abend unsere Köpfe mit irre schnellen und komplexen Bewegungsabläufen flutet. In Erinnerung bleibt eine Szene in der die Musik so laut wird, dass man das Gefühl hatte es würde über einem gleich das Dach des Theater einstürzen. Insgesamt ein gelungener Versuch der tänzerischen Auseinandersetzung mit einem aktuellen Thema, wenn auch die eingestreuten Performanceszenen bisweilen zu lang waren. Vielleicht hätte ich mir gewünscht, dass die Bewegungssprache weniger schön und sexy, weil das nicht zum Thema Flüchtlingsproblematik passt.

Swimming Pool of Emotions – Dance Company Cassel

Johannes Wielands reflections on the refugee crises in the dance production YOU WILL BE REMOVED at the Staatstheater Cassel

The stage looks like a cold, nacked location that reminds us of a swimming pool (stage design by Momme Roehrbein) in Johannes Wielands new production You will be removed.” There even is a spring board. However nobody can swim or dive here anymore to relax. There is no water left in the pool. Maybe nobody wants to swim these days, to make sure not to think about the bodies dying in the Mediterranean Sea every single hour. The bodies of the dancers are sliping down the stairs: sluggish, exhausted or even spit out dead by the sea. The bodies walk back up the stairs. They try again and again to arrive on stage. We can see their pain and we understand, that they are losing their strength and hope. Various other items on stage help us to recall a different setting. There are some chairs and suitcases, plastic sheets, a mattress and a palm tree. White is the dominate color. It might be a reference to an administration office or a refugee camp. However, if one observes the bodies in detail they look pretty and very sexy. The dancers are wearing dresses and pantsuits in very good quality. They dance in high heels or fancy sneakers, not in flip-flops. They are neither dirty nor injured. Obviously Johannes Wieland, as the choreographer of this evening, and his costume designer Stefanie Krimmel like to play with some signs of capitalism, our media perception and the ongoing discussions of whether or not the refugees that are coming to us are wealthy economic refugees (a common argument in Germany right now). The music and the situation changes from scene to scene numerous times. In the best moments of this evening the energy level of the company is incredible high and reminds me of the physical theater tradition of choreographers like Lloyd Newson or Wim Vandekeybus. Wieland even makes a reference to a very famous scene from Vandekeybus piece “What the body does not remember”, but instead of throwing bricks Wielands dancers throw and try to catch every-day items like shoes. Risk taking in dance is an important idea for this producition as it works as a metaphor for the risks that refugees take to come to Europe. Wieland consciously puts his dancers in jeopardy. They respond with daring jumps and they are able to climb high walls. They work their ass off to make us in the audience believe, that it is all so easy and that they truly believe the dream to dance is worse the risk, even if they already understand that it might be not. The allegory brings me back to the humans on the run for whatever reason. Everyone’s head in the audience is full of the pictures about the refugee crises in Europe. The media are flooding our minds in waves like Johannes Wieland is flooding our heads. There is a moment during the show, where the music becomes so loud that I thought the roof of the theater might break down over me due to the bass. An interesting evening, though I felt that some scenes drift into performance and are too long. Unfortunately it is not possible to drain the water out of the “pool” Mediterranean Sea to force all the involved politicians to act responsibly.

 

 

 

 

December in Germany

Have you ever visited Germany in December? It’s a magic month, where all of a sudden Germans become a little more social and might even say “hi” to a stranger like you at one of the various Christmas Markets. It’s the decorations, lighting, music, the sweet smell of “Mutzenmandeln” (traditional warm pastry with icing sugar) and of course “Gluehwein” (mulled wine) that seduces us to smile and be happy. I have visited Christmas Markets is France and New Zealand, but believe me it’s worth a trip to come to Germany and enjoy the extended version of it all. Huge real Christmas Trees everywhere instead of the faked ones that you know from your town or shooping mall. Small wooden houses, lovely decorated, where people sell ceramics and socks…forget about your Santa Parade. It’s nothing like that. The Christmas Markets in Germany are pretty unique and you know you are German, if you can’t resist:

  • gebrannte Mandeln
  • Speckkuchen
  • Reibekuchen
  • Mutzenmandeln
  • Crepes
  • Bratwurst
  • Grünkohl
  • Glühwein
  • Schokolade mit Amaretto

Happy Advent Season!

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Christmas Market in Cassel / Germany
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Looking for a Christmas Tree

Your Disco needs You

 

You know these days, when you think you really would love to go out? You desperately need music, you want to hear your favorite songs, you want to dance, you want to enjoy life…and then, all of a sudden you realize that you live in a city right now, where you have almost no options…at least not with respect to what you had in mind and you don’t know where to go.

It happened to me last week-end again, because I live in Cassel right now. The options are very limited and usually I don’t go out anymore, because most of the time I am disappointed. Either because the music does not suit my taste or because there are hardly any people around, if there is a good (small) event.

Seriously: People, go out! Your disco needs you and your theater needs you too!!!

No excuses anymore I said to myself, so I went out on Sunday and was happy that I did. There is a wonderful performance/concert on display at the Staatstheater Kassel right now, that is called “DISCO” and that I really recommend to anybody, who lives in town and loves the music of the 70’s. It is a reopening, performed by the Cassel Symphony Orchestra under the Musical Director Rasmus Baumann. You will hear all the famous songs from “The Weather Girls” to “KC & The Sunshine Band” (“That’s the way aha, aha I like it…”) to “The Jacksons”. It is very rare these days, that I see the audience in the theater move, not to say dance in the auditorium. My heart as a Dramaturg jumped up and down and I danced too, of course. This production not only caught my spirit but it merged (and will do so in the future) with an overwhelming need in Cassel for live music!
Check out the dates in January, February, April and June 2016 and do yourself a favor. Go out and enjoy a live performance with more than thirty artists on stage!

Or go out, wherever you live and let me know how your evening was!

 

 

5 Things To Do in Cassel

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Fall in Cassel

I read an article about Cassel years ago that I still remember, because of the distinct phrase about the city: “Hier hält der ICE. Hier fährt man durch.” Translated that means something like: „The high speed train stops here, but usually nobody gets out.”

Cassel is not very popular in Germany, although the city is world famous for the Art Exhibition Dokumenta and lately became know for the World Heritage Site Bergpark Wilhelmshoehe (Wir sind Welterbe). How come you might ask? Most of the city centre was destroyed during WWII and the flair is lost. People who only spent a few hours or days here don’t find the nice spots and drive away thinking, this is one of the cities that one doesn’t need to visit twice. To be honest I am not a big fan of the city either, but I live here at the moment. I thought it would be a great idea to share my favorite spots with international students and other guest from around the world, who come to Cassel and wonder what to do here?! That way I can motivate myself and others to give Cassel a (second) chance!

1) Walk around Berpark Wilhelmshoehe

Spent an afternoon in the park to discover Schloss Wilhelmshoehe and hike up to the city’s icon The Hercules. The view over Cassel is great and there are various coffee shops around to make a break.

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Bergpark Wilhelmshoehe in Cassel (Hercules Icon in the back)

2) Make a Bike Tour along the river Fulda

Enjoy the ride and stop for a coffee at the Kollektivcafe (Cafe Kurbad Jungborn) im alten Badehaus.

3) Go visit the Botanic Garden

This is another peaceful place downtown and there is a small Open Air Library

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Botanic Garden in cassel

4) Hike from Cassel to Mount Doernberg

This is a beautiful day hike you can do, if you have a bit more time and great weather. You start from Bergpark Wilhelmshoehe and it takes about 3 hours to hike up to mount Doernberg (600 m). The forest ist called Habichtswald (Naturparkzentrum Habichtswald), the view is gorgeous and there are two nice coffee shops on your way down to the tram (cheap public transport / buy what is call a Multiticket) that brings you back to the Main Train Station (Kulturbahnhof) in Cassel. End up a perfect day with a great movie at the cinema Bali Kino (Bali Cinema) right at the train station.

5) Go check out the Museums, the Theatre or the various Festivals

My favorite events are the Art Exhibition Dokumenta (every five years in the summer) and the Kasseler Dokfest (an International Documentary Film Festival that takes place every year in the fall). I can also recommend the night of the museums.

Helpful Links:

Documenta Cassel

Staatstheater Kassel

Dokfest Kassel

Enjoy your day(s) in Cassel and find out about some nice spots on your own!

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Documentary Film Festival in Cassel (2015)