02 February 2016

Erotic Crisis

I've been here in Berlin for three years now, and yet there are still new things to do which I keep on discovering. For example, I am slowly discovering the theatre scene here. It is quite varied, actually, and the only thing that kept me from going before was the German language. I restricted myself to English theatre only, and because of that, there weren't many choices. Recently, however, I started watching German theatre, and with that, I discovered the Maxim Gorki Theater, when I watched a production of Erotic Crisis, by Yael Ronen.

I should say that this play somehow represents quite a few aspects of Berlin. It is daring, it is multilingual, there's nudity, and it is very confrontational. It is a play that totally makes sense to be produced in Berlin, and is a play that I couldn't imagine running well in a conservative locale. So what is this play about?

Well, it is totally what the title suggests, it is about humans and their sexual habits. It features five people: two couples and a single girl. One of the couples is inter-cultural: a German guy and an Israeli girl, and they are married and have a child together. They haven't had sex for a year now. The other is a straight guy and a bisexual girl, and while they are having sex, they aren't satisfied with it. The solo girl acts as a pivot and introduces conflict to the other characters.

I won't dwell much on the plot: while there is a plot, I feel like it is more a collage of human sexual relations. The first half of the play is more comic, with plenty of post-modern devices and other tricks that make things feel meta. The second half of the play however is more serious, dealing with the emotions and mental aspects of sex (or the lack of it). In my opinion, this play illustrates how humans can be complicated beings, as there can be so many interpersonal things that are associated with the notion of sex, making things more complicated than what they should be.

While this play is mostly in German, there was plenty of English dialogue. They provided English and German surtitles, where the languages switch. There's even a segment done in Hebrew (the Israeli character was talking about her sexual fantasy). And there were quite a few instances where they broke the fourth wall, as well as acting in a way that for a second, you doubt and think that the play has been interrupted and they would be talking to the audience instead.

Overall, I enjoyed it. I am therefore looking forward to checking out other plays in German this time, as there is a lot of good theatre options here, once you overcome the language barrier.

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