Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Dancing Not Dead -- on its way to rehearsal!

Tomorrow starts the beginning of a very exciting process for the Internationalists, and I (Jake, in Berlin) am incredibly happy with the work that is coming together here. It has been a bit of a challenge, as summer in Berlin turns out to be a time when absolutely no one is truly around. Therefore, finding spaces to rehearse, people to come to the shows, even actors to show up for auditions -- all of it together has been a challenge to say the least. But now, we are less than a week away from the production, and all systems are go!

The cast has come together nicely. They are a talented group whom I got to audition about two weeks ago, and who have been living with the script ever since. They are:

Paula Koch: Ellen
Wil Röttgen: Victor/Alexanders/Georges

The cast has a great deal of experience both in Germany and abroad,
with directors I deeply admire. Their skill and intellect should offer a very unique look into this play. I am particularly interested in exploring what table work will be like with a German contingent of actors -- things are so literal and exact here, I wonder how they will approach a play that has some big questions attached to it, such as "Dancing, Not Dead". Tomorrow we will begin to see.

For casting, we had a very nice set of conversations and I listened to each of them read through a selected monologue several times. Because I was also looking for performers for the "Around the World" programming, I was more interested in personalities than anything else. This particular cast, however, I feel fits these roles absolutely perfectly.

Eva-Maria and I spoke via phone from Italy, but her energy and excitement for the role is really wonderful. And her stark German accent should lend a certain power to the role. Wil is a powerhouse actor, also with a German accent, but will be able to fit between the three roles well, and I think he has a certain sensitivity that should play nicely into these men. Finally, Paula is a classically trained actor, with nary an accent to be heard, and I think her take as a quiet and subtle daughter will be interesting to see develop. Her audition was understated, and I hope that during our rehearsals we'll be able to keep the intention she feels for this character underneath her words, but find more active ways for her to be present in the scenes.

I will be rehearsing for a bit longer than I would normally rehearse a reading, if only because I want to make sure the language is clear and concise for the audience, and especially the Internet audience, whom I think there will be a lot.

Tomorrow the rehearsals start at 15.00 Berlin time, and we'll see where things take us!

Friday, August 5, 2011


Nils's Fucked Up Day

The Internationalists partner Romanian playwright Peca Stefan - is back in NYC with a show!

Described by some critics as the "most obscene play in the Romanian theatre", Nils' Fucked Up Day by Peca Ştefan is a sarcastic, trashy, punk existentialist take on the fucked up choices we have in this fucked up world. It is outrageously performed in English & Ro-English by some of the best young actors in Bucharest. Ro-English is a form of slang which mixes Romanian words with English… cursing. However, the show is a guilty fun plea for happiness.

Introduced, in U.S. premiere, by FringeNYC ’11 – at Dixon Place. (161A Chrystie Street (Rivington Delancey) F,V to 2nd Avenue; B,D to Grand; J,M,Z to Bowery)
There are ONLY 5 performances in NYC this August!!! Don’t miss them!
To see info on the play and buy tickets visit the official website: www.nilsfuckedup.com
And check out the play’s trailer here!
Ziua futută a lui Nils, a play written by Peca Ştefan in 2002, has quite a reputation in the Romanian theatre. It was labeled, by elder critics, as being „outrageous”, „obscene”, „vulgar”. At the same time the play has been widely acknowledged by theatre professionals, who saw it as a rebirth of new Romanian playwriting. The text deals with language, Romanian (and global) hypocrisy, and a form of updated, post-modern existentialism in a hyper ironic way, that’s both challenging and guilty pleasure fun. Nevertheless, the play is an unconventional plea for happiness. For six years it was a taboo to stage this play in Romania, although it won one of the most important new playwriting awards (dramAcum, 2002) and was presented in highly acknowledged festivals such as The New Writing Bienalle in Wiesbaden, Germany (2006). In 2008 the MONDAY Theatre @ Green Hours (Bucharest) dared to produce it, under the stage direction of the author himself. Ever since, the show has been a sold out hit, in its’ Romanian version. In 2011 Peca, an internationally acclaimed playwright (Juilliard Finalist 2010, one of the 5 Authors in the Berliner Stuckemarkt 2010 (Germany), Winner of Heidelberg’s Stuckemarkt Innovation Award 20007 (Germany)), has rewritten the play so we can share the performance with international audiences (both in Bucharest and abroad). Nils’ Fucked Up Day (the new English title) is now a mix of Romanian and English, powered by one of the best VJ’s in Romania (Cinty) combining multimedia, interactivity and a very inciting way to look at the world and its stereotypes.
Teatrul LUNI de la Green Hours (MONDAY Theatre @ Green Hours) is probably THE PLACE to go if you want to see the most exciting indie/off theatre productions in Romania. With a non-stop season since 1997 – the MONDAY Theatre debuted some of the best young actors, directors, stage designers and playwrights in the new wave of Romanian theatre. After presenting two very successful plays by Peca Ştefan in FringeNYC’ 07 (The Sunshine Play and Bucharest Calling), the company returns for the 2011 edition of the International New York Fringe Festival with “Nils’ Fucked Up Day”.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Dancing Not Dead -- Auditions in Berlin

Casting has begun for the Internationalists "Dancing, Not Dead" in Berlin. It has been a fascinating new experience to create work in a new culture (coming from New York, things definitely work a bit differently here). Trying to make a piece in the summer turns out to be a bit more challenging than originally expected -- the whole town, it seems, has gone on vacation. But overall, things are coming together quite nicely.

Initially, I was worried by the lack of responses one receives immediately. In New York, seconds after posting something in Backstage, Playbill etc., your inbox is generally flooded with emails of headshots, resumes, introduction letters, and sometimes promises of a first born baby, should you choose them to cast. Here in Berlin, it's a bit more laid-back, and after that initial worry, I was pleasantly surprised by the applicants. People approached the auditions in a professional and interested matter, and it gives me great hope for what is to come with this project.

The auditions went very well, and I'm pleased to say that the cast is formulating now (a few more meetings and introductions to come) and all should be set!

Please check back in regularly for updates about our Playwright competition, as well as director blogs about the process!