Monday, 30 June 2014

Agapanthus...

...or memories from the island of spring.
In 2006 I went on my first ever "proper" holiday together with my other half to Madeira.
As the island is not exactly a shopping hot spot I decided to buy something slightly unusual as a souvenir:
An agapanthus plant or, to be more precise, a plastic bag with a wizened shrub bought last minute in an airport shop.


Since then it has been a rocky road, it hasn't grown much first and sometimes had to survive with very little water when I'm not at home.
But now, for the second time only, it has rewarded me with two beautiful and long lasting blue flowers.
One of the best souvenirs ever that currently makes me happy every time I look out of my bedroom window!

MET MIJN VADER IN BED (WEGENS OMSTANDIGHEDEN)

author: Magne van den Berg
theatre/ensemble: Toneelschuur Producties, Haarlem

seen on 23rd June in Wiesbaden during the  New Plays From Europe Festival

plot: A father and daughter talk on the phone. In 28 scenes, they chat, argue, cry, fall silent or just leave a message on the answer- phone. Their wife and mother has died recently and while the daughter, who lives in the city, looks back with nostalgia to her parents’ house in the country, her father has already found a new partner and is trying to move on. So they talk about what should happen to the old furniture, photos, the urn ... Behind the everyday topics, deep emotions are lurking and so sometimes the only recourse is to talk about the weather. After her mother’s death, the daughter spent some nights in her father’s bed – to give him comfort, or so she says. Now she would like to get rid of the bed ... “Father and daughter share a great loss”, says dramatist Magne van den Berg, “and this creates a close bond between them; at the same time it creates distance, because they both try to survive any way they can: They react very differently and sometimes cruelly, because each one forgets the other’s pain.”


verdict: What a subtle and quiet play compared to most other festival entries.
Not much is going on visually when father and daughter talk (or not talk really) on the phone, most of the time a curtain divides them and only in short flashbacks we see them united again.
Not much is going on in the text either, the emotions are mostly encoded in apparently banal descriptions of the current weather situation. But they are there if you pay attention.

I overheard discussions in the audience if the possibilty of incest implied by the title was not thematized enough. I don´t share their opinion - for me this possible ambiguity does not not really exist. This father/daughter relationship is not the easiest but certainly not an unusual one as well so reading an abuse case into it would ruin the entire play.
Moving, even if not very exciting.

Friday, 27 June 2014

Cashier number one please!

Recently I stood in the queue at Lidl in England, not a situation that is particularly noteworthy.
I looked around me and my eyes stopped at the young women working on the till.
She was wearing her usual Lidl uniform, and: an alice band decorated with bold peacock feathers - so pretty much a fascinator.


How amazing is that?!?
Not only that I own nearly the same one, no.
The fact that she is wearing a beautiful fascinator to work at the till!
Here in Germany I sometimes don't even dare to wear one at a wedding as I fear to get stared at and then feel like a barmaid who escaped from her saloon or something out of trash tv.
I doubt any of the English customers took notice but I was delighted - three cheers for the Lidl girl! Three cheers for the widely spread British ignorance of "appropriate dressing"!

Tod und Wiederauferstehung der Welt meiner Eltern in mir

author: Nis-Momme Stockmann
theatre/ensemble: Hessisches Staatstheater Wiesbaden

seen on 6th June in Wiesbaden, shortly before the New Plays From Europe Festival this is part of



plot: When playwright Nis-Momme Stockmann was author-in-residence at Schauspiel Frankfurt from 2009 to 2012, his daily commute would take him from the deprived area of Bornheim to the gleaming towers of the city centre. This blatant discrepancy inspired him to write about the odyssey of a banker in crisis. His protagonist has long been in the service of a system that he now questions radically. In the middle of his life, he feels like he no longer belongs. And so he decides to undermine the system from within, to bring about the ruin of the banking sector which will result in a reinvention of the entire world.

verdict: Some scenes are fairly conventional, some more absurd. The banker is played fantasticly by Hanns Jörg Krumpholz and seeing ancient Zygmunt Apostol on stage is always worth it. But there is lots of talking, lots of criticism and nothing really grips the audience. Instead of being confronted with the problems capitalism brings I got slightly bored. Unfortunately forgotten the moment you get home again

Thursday, 26 June 2014

everyday (part 24)


11. - 17. June

11.6. discovered a sign post in Wiesbaden that shows the distances between all the partner towns, always walked past ignoring it
12.6. tried out organic "Das Eis" icecream in Frankfurt - good but overpriced
13.6. finally tried out the much hyped "N´Eis" icecream in Mainz - was good but I still prefer "De Covre"
14.6. shot a wedding in Frankenthal - the biggest one so far...and what great fun it was!
15.6. visited my friends in the middle of nowhere by car, highly unusual but have to make use when my driver is over from England ;-)
16.6. discovered another public book shelf in Mainz (and took two home with me, of course)
17.6. bought a lovely herb flower bouquet on the market

Ausstieg in Fahrtrichtung links!

Apparently by the end of the year those very old style S-Bahn trains in the Rhine Main area will finally disappear and get replaced by modern ones.
Even though the prospect of a more comfortable train without the seperate carriages and air condition sounds nice - I will miss those old battleships.
Nobody knows how many weeks of my life I have been sitting on them during my life.

Happy, with full shopping bags.
Nervous, before final uni exams.
Tired, after nights at the karaoke pub in Frankfurt.
Tipsy, after cocktail happy hours with the girls from my French class.
Annoyed, after long delays.
Sweating, in 35+ degree weather.
Entertained, reading a book.
Excited, on my way to the airport and my first blind date with my future husband.

...

I think that is reason enough to drag the camera out!











Tuesday, 24 June 2014

HEROES (Just for one day)

author: Vincent Hennebicq
theatre/ensemble: Théâtre National, Brussels

seen on 20th June in Wiesbaden during the  New Plays From Europe Festival



plot: “We can be heroes. Just for one day”. This line from a David Bowie song was part of the inspiration for Vincent Hennebicq’s first play. It tells the story of an old man near the end of his life. Realizing how much he has missed and what a relief it would be to tear off the straightjacket of laziness and convention, he changes his costume and becomes Popi Jones: a rock star. Finally, he dares to say what he has been silent about all his life. He remembers the love of his life and braves his neglected son’s anger. Hennebicq turns his play into a veritable rock concert. Jean Pierre Baudson plays Popi Jones as if the role had been tailor-made for him, the rest of the company become “Les Popettes”. Only Raven Ruëll, who plays Popi’s son and has written his own lines, stays on the sidelines and doesn’t enter the rockstar fantasy.

verdict: It started well as I realised that I could undertstand much more of the Belgian French than I did the evening before at the play from Paris. The evening is more of a sad and associative musical revue than a wordy play - might seem a bit shallow for some but I liked it as the band was fantastic. The story of Popi Jones gets told in songs, unconnected scenes and hints - you have to pay attention otherwise the rock concert aspect overwhelms the intention a bit (or is it the intention?).
Maybe not a revelation but a play which potentially could be recreated by another theatre one day.

Monday, 23 June 2014

LA REUNIFICATION DES DEUX CORÈES

author: Joël Pommerat
theatre/ensemble: Compagnie Louis Brouillard, Paris

seen 19th June in Wiesbaden during the New Plays From Europe Festival



plot: One marriage fails because there is not enough love, another because love alone is not enough. In the registry office, a bride learns that her groom used to go out with her sisters. A caring teacher is suspected of being in love with a pupil. In twenty episodes, ‘twenty-seven women and twenty¬four men’ try to address the undoubtedly most important topic of theatre and life: love. Joël Pommerat and his actors fathom love in their very individual way and allow their characters to dive right into everyday decisions that carry enormous repercussions and are often of astonishing banality. The range of emotional entanglements is great and Pommerat serves them with large amounts of humour and some satire.

imho: The audience sat on the completely darkened stage in two blocks facing each other (North and South Korea?). The actors together with the accurate lighting control seemed to appear out of nowhere which was quite impressive and gave the whole evening fluidity. The scenes itself could have originated in every decent soap opera - loads of fighting, loads of talking, high-speed French talking.  
Without the translation on my right ear I would have been hopelessy lost.
The evening certainly had an athmospheric, sometimes even eerie quality (for example the strange ghostly appearances of the bony actress wearing the Elvis suit) but the scenes itself were trivial and too long.
As often when I have seen French plays in the past - much ado about (nearly) nothing.



Sunday, 22 June 2014

everyday (part 23)

4. - 10. June

4.6. saw the musical "Curtains - Vorhang auf für Mord" at university, it was brilliant!
5.6. had dinner at the cute and charming little French restaurant "Les deux Dienstbach" in Wiesbaden
6.6. saw the play "Tod und Wiederauferstehung der Welt meiner Eltern in mir" in theatre
7.6. "borrowed" a knife from a bakery so I could cut the cake I had brought to the botanical garden in Mainz for picnic
8.6. attended my first ever protestant christening ceremony in church (since my own)...I´m still a heathen
9.6. visited KFC again and was very, very disappointed they now have given up on proper plates and cutlery as well, won´t go again!
10.6. had a wonderful and hot day in Mainz with a friend from uni days, her mum and my husband - a new combination but it worked out

Saturday, 21 June 2014

school´s out

There is one thing that I notice very often when walking through towns in England and Germany - schools. And with that I mean the buildings.
In England they are usually housed in a nondescript functional building from the 60´s up to the 90´s. Not something you need to look at because of it´s intriguing architecture for sure.


In Germany those ugly buildings do exist as well but the majority of schools, at least here, still look what I imagine an institution should look like.
Imposing palaces of varied architectural styles.
More Harry Potter, less eyesore.


You look at them and just know what the smell is like inside (I guess that counts for the English schools as well).
If you are like me and prefer to do whatever it is that you have to do in a pretty building than a functional one then in the UK you are in for a disappointment.

I´m not sure of the reason behind this - did English schools grow more and needed more space? Are there less schools there? Or am I simply looking at the wrong examples (and don´t start with Eton now)?
If you know of a school in the UK that is still within it´s old and impressive building then please let me know!

Friday, 20 June 2014

Apologies for my longish blogging break - had two nice but busy weeks and now I´m back and business as usual will commence here from tomorrow on again.
Hope you are all well, have a lovely weekend :-)




Saturday, 7 June 2014

on the road 12

Friday afternoon on a bus in Wiesbaden, granny and granddad with two small boys get onboard.

boy(looking at the nearly bald man sitting in front of him): That man has no hair!!!
granny: yes, that´s how it goes sometimes...
boy: Granddad has no hair on his head too but in his face!
granny: Yes, he has a beard.
boy: Did the hair slide down from his head?
granny (amused): No, hair doesn´t slide down.
boy: Did he cut it off then and stuck it there?
granny: No, certainly not. His hair just fell out.
boy (thinking hard): Ohh...

Friday, 6 June 2014

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Exeter

And some more photos from our last camping trip that took us to Dorset - and on the third day to Exeter which is quite a lovely town. Even more lovely as I bought a wonderful, practical and stylish yellow coat there...and had a huge caramel latte for free with one of my Caffe Nero vouchers. It was the third day without me visiting a coffee shop so I needed it :-)
But somehow I don´t appear to have been in photography mood...









Wednesday, 4 June 2014

everyday (part 22)


28. May - 3. June

28.5. went to Brighton by train from Staines - slightly expensive but totally worth it
29.5. bought 10 birthday cards for 1pound, English greeting card prices are just amazing, aren´t they?!
30.5. had no coffee at "Pret a Manger" at the airport - had run out of money and was very sad :-(
31.5. bought new Birkenstock sandals in Mainz - first time I went to a "proper" shoe shop in a long time
1.6. saw "Vollmond" by Pina Bausch in theatre
2.6. got, fortunately, only half bitten by a nasty horse fly
3.6. carried home a 1200gr pot full of liquorice and gummi bats


Monday, 2 June 2014

Vollmond

Ein Stück von Pina Bausch
Premiere: 11. Mai 2006 im Schauspielhaus Wuppertal

gesehen am 1.6.2014 im Rahmen der Internationalen Maifestspiele in Wiesbaden 



Inhalt:
‚Vollmond‘ ist eines der späten Stücke Pina Bauschs. Uraufgeführt 2006, zeigt es ihre Kunst in voller Blüte. Eine überschäumende Musik von Amon Tobin, Alexander Balanescu, René Aubry, Tom Waits und vielen anderen bestimmt das Stück, genau so wie das Bühnenbild von Bauschs langjährigem Mitarbeiter Peter Pabst. ‚Ich bin jung. Es ist alles voller Versprechungen. Meine Gedanken fliegen hoch. Und mein Körper ist stark‘, ruft eine der Tänzerinnen auf der Bühne und zeigt die emotionale Kraft, mit der der Vollmond die zwölf Tänzerinnen und Tänzer des Tanztheaters Wuppertal antreibt. Sie treten auf zu expressiven Soli, zu spielerischen und absurden Begegnungen, zu zweit oder dritt. Die meiste Zeit regnet es in dieser Vollmondnacht auf der Bühne, und die Tänzer werfen sich mit der ganzen Wucht ihrer Körpersprache in dieses Stück, klettern über den riesigen Felsen, rutschen den Boden entlang, werden nass und toben am Ende durchs Wasser, als sei dies ihr eigentliches Element. Sie sind in einer silbernen Landschaft dem Regen und schließlich dem Orkan ausgeliefert, der über die Bühne fegt. Männer und Frauen sind einander verfallen, suchen fieberhaft nach der Liebe: der Kampf der Geschlechter als Zentrum der Beziehungen. So spielerisch das Stück beginnt, so wild und ungezügelt wird es gegen Ende, wenn die Darsteller bis zur Verausgabung tanzen. 

was mir gefallen hat: Ich mag an Pina Bausch´s Werken das sie so herrlich vage, absurd, humorvoll und "einlullend" (auf eine gute Art und Weise ) sind und dies war auch hier der Fall. Das viele Wasser auf der Bühne führte zu unzähligen Momenten in denen ich meine Seele verkauft hätte nur um vom Bühnenrand aus Fotografieren zu dürfen. Das hypnotische Stück (siehe unten) aus Wim Wenders Film über Bausch war auch Bestandteil und schwirrt mir seitdem wieder extremst im Kopf herum.



was mir nicht gefallen hat: Irgendwie gab es gerade gegen Ende zu viel Wasser Action auf der Bühne was auf Kosten der kleinen feinen Gesten und Details ging. Der Funke ist auf mich nicht 100% übergesprungen was vielleicht auch am recht abrupten Wechsel zwischen den einzelnen Musikstücken gelegen haben kann. Eine große "Schuld" trifft auch meinen Sitzplatz direkt unterm Dach des großen Hauses auf dem es zunehmends stickiger und wärmer wurde was meiner Konzentration keinen Gefallen getan hat.

Fazit: Ich bin und bleibe Pina Bausch Fan und bin auch froh die Gelegenheit gehabt zu haben "Vollmond" zu sehen -  die ganz große Begeisterung blieb diesmal jedoch aus.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

How's life?

I'm home again. Home after meeting two of my oldest friends for breakfast. I know them since grammar school, we were close...once.
As many times before I'm organizing those rare meetings, look forward to them in a way and then come home crestfallen.
When is the moment to accept that a friendship doesn't deserve it's label anymore?

I can write this openly as it is very unlikely the referred to people would ever read this. They know I have a blog, should know at least as I'm not keeping it secret, but I'm certain they never ever read one page of it. And this pretty much sums up my problem.
I'm not sure they care anymore.

4 hours we physically sat together at the same table talking but emotionally we were far away.
Our lives have developed in very different ways which is not an uncommon thing to happen.
Once we went to the same school, shared some subjects, some interest, went out together talking about the same people and issues and basically cared about similar things.
Then we studied and even then it went on well even though our subjects and approaches to student life were differing. We were friends after all.
Time went on and so did our lives.

13 years after leaving school they have "proper" grown-up jobs earning serious money, they are single, always torn between suffering from burnout and the next quick spa trip.
And there is me, happily married, still studying with no noteworthy career ambition, with little money but loads of freedom, being all in all content.
You would say this should not stand in our ways, that we could easily cross that bridge if we would only try.
I have other friends were we don't even share the same background and still are close and instantly connect when we meet again.

It is not me wallowing in self-pity and I'm sure me too sometimes lacks some genuine interest in what is going on at their jobs, but: I haven't once been asked how I am and what I have been up to in the last weeks.
They don't know anything about me anymore and I'm not sure how much I wanna know about their lives in future...I'm just not good at drawing a line under nearly 20 years.



PS: A similar but different blog post that I just read yesterday and is worth checking out too