Inclusive theater “No Limits” in Berlin: Why are doctors allowed to smoke?

Inclusive theater is often fun. For the tenth time, the festival “No Limits” for Disability & Performing Arts invites you to Berlin.

Several actors stand in a row, their arms with plates stick out of the row

Juggling Plates Like a Many-Armed Deity: The Thikwa Ensemble in “Leap into the Unkown” Photo: David Baltzer

The plates rattle softly. A trampoline is covered with a tablecloth and on it seven actors constantly rearrange the white porcelain, build dangerously swaying towers, whirl and stagger around the table like drunken waiters with a neat clumsiness.

Soon they are spinning the plates on the floor: the fall, the shattering of the porcelain is imminent. But it doesn’t break down, the choreographic arrangements are reversed to protect the fragile. Sleeping bodies are quietly covered with plates, hands and hair are arranged on plates.

“Leap, into the unknown” is a concert performance by the Thikwa Theater and a touching play with the tender and the fragility. Dreams and fears are told – fear of spiders, of the death of the parents, of the looks of others – and captured in the pictures and joint actions.

Shards scratch in the music, other actors beatbox, a band is formed. The trampoline is actually used later in jumps, everyone climbs up and flies for a moment. Images of the circus are very close in the piece that the choreographer Camilla Milena Fehér has developed with the performers of the Thikwa Theater.

Barriers are recognized and efforts are made to break them down

The Thikwa Theater in Kreuzberg and that Ramba Zamba in the Kulturbrauerei have been working in Berlin with performers with a wide variety of disabilities for many years. Both theaters show their own plays and host other groups at the Disability & Performing Arts Festival No Limits, which will take place in Berlin for the tenth time until November 19th. The Hebbel Theater and the Ballhaus Ost are also there.

A lot has changed since 2005, when Andreas Meder, the director of the festival, organized “No Limits” for the first time in the Kulturbrauerei at Ramba Zamba and in the Volksbühne. On the one hand, the rooms in the Kulturbrauerei were cheaper to rent back then and the invited groups could stay for several days for workshops, but now there is no money for that, says Antje Grabenhorst, who has been doing public relations for No Limits from the start.

On the other hand, the boundaries between the forms of theater have become more fluid and awareness of the disability of those referred to as “disabled” has grown. Performers from Thikwa and Ramba Zamba also play in the Berliner Ensemble or in the Deutsches Theater, for example, while houses like the HAU are working more on accessibility for viewers and artists. And this year became the Australian “Back to Back Theatre”which was a guest at No Limits in Berlin in 2011, was awarded the Ibsen Award.

That is often a guest in Berlin Theater Hora from Zurich, which on Tuesday and Wednesday (November 16th and 17th) at Ballhaus Ost together with the theater collective vorschlag:hammer will be showing the funny play “The sick house”. With wit and passion, the actors celebrate scenes from doctor TV series, which, accompanied by sentimental music, tell of difficult decisions, goodbyes and a lot of love.

The successful parodies of the hora players, at which they occasionally burst out laughing, come up against factual stories and experiences from hospitals. The memory of the real sick house is shaped by the stress of the doctors, the tired nurses and the tired colors on the walls.

Ask good questions

Questions are asked: Why are patients not allowed to smoke? Why are doctors allowed to smoke? Why don’t doctors invite the nurses? But the nurses are already inviting the doctors over. This creates a picture of the sore points in the everyday hierarchies of the hospital.

The actress Julia Häusermann is standing at a table with a dice cup

Julia Häusermann looks to the future with dice in “No Gambling” Photo: Holger Rudolph

The actress belongs to the ensemble of Hora Julia Hauserman, who developed “No Gambling” with the Berlin choreographer Simone Aughterlony and the performer Nele Jahnke, which ran at the HAU last Wednesday for the opening of No Limits. Thibault Vancraenenbroeck built a mobile for the stage out of ladders, springs, a fish and neon light, which constantly circling gave the performance a never-ending restlessness, a constant rearranging of the props, boxes and lengths of fabric, warning lights and furniture: as if the work never happened come to an end.

And right in the middle, Julia Häusermann sets up a table to use dice to look into the future of the viewers – mostly frightening – to present herself on a catwalk or to dance seductively like in a striptease show.

In this way, “No Gambling” becomes a piece about gambling itself, about the joy of self-empowerment, the attractiveness of transformation and the possibilities of the as-if.

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