Spring into black

Starting with a bit of "Krieg" tonight, Mar 11, the Volksbühne launches seven premieres in seven weeks for its Schwarze Serie.

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The Volksbühne puts up seven premieres in seven weeks for its Schwarze Serie.

You might think they’d slow down anticipating Frank Castorf’s departure… but no. As a kind of an anti-Easter celebration, they’re premiering seven pieces (auf Deutsch, of course) on a black-all-over main stage designed by the late Bert Neumann. 

Two have music throughout, which you’ll be able to appreciate even if you don’t get the subtleties of the dialogue. The first, Krieg (Mar 11, 12, 19, 23, 19:00; Mar 13, 18:00), an ode to a solo dying soldier and the theatre of war set to a swelling symphonic score, comes from Icelandic artists Ragnar Kjartansson und Kjartan Sveinsson – you might recognise the latter as the former keyboardist from Sigur Rós.

The end of March also features a musical offering – or rather, a “terror campaign with music” from DJ Stalingrad, the pseudonym of a Russian political exile whose first novel-cum-manifesto Exodus was used as text throughout the Volksbühne’s production of The Brothers Karamazov. Now Exodus itself takes centre stage, with music played by a “superdark doom metal combo” called Killed by Death, assembled just for the occasion (Mar 23, 20:00).

The other two March premieres, Troja and Gorki’s Sommergäste, feature the next generation of Berlin theatre makers: Troja (Mar 22, 30, 21, 20:00; Mar 23, 20:30) is led by the assistants to the Volksbühne’s old guard; Sommergäste (Mar 15, 20:00; Mar 18-19, 21:00; Mar 20, 19:00) features acting students from the Ernst Busch conservatory. Fresh new voices? We’re ready. Just in time for spring.

Schwarze Serie | Volksbühne, Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, Mitte, U-Bhf Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz