Photo by Arno Declair
Nestled in a surprisingly quiet courtyard a few blocks from Friedrichstraße, the space the Deutsches Theater calls home has watched Berlin shift, break apart and come back together again since it was first built in 1850.
The Deutsches Theater itself was founded in 1883 and is thereby one of the longest-running cultural institutions in the city. While the choice of works tends toward traditional, text-heavy, Teutonic theater, in this case traditional does not mean predictable. The talented directors that have rotated through the calendar have each left an indelible, unique impression: Frank Castorf and Thomas Ostermeier – now artistic directors at the Volksbühne and the Schaubühne, respectively – both spent time in this historic theater.
The German theater world is generally director-oriented and structured around repertory and ensemble theaters, and the Deutsches Theater is no exception. The style of acting can lean toward a kind of Schreitheater, in which all emotions are expressed through screaming or yelling, but this is usually more than compensated for by the experience and finesse of the actors who’ve been working together for years.
The three spaces (the main stage, Kammerspiele and Box&Bar) accommodate a varied program that also includes readings, lectures and musical performances often featuring guests from the English-speaking world. All theater devotees should pay a visit.