No Limits Festival: Das Helmi Theater HORA — American Beauty

Thursday night. No Limits Festival. Two of my favourite theatre groups get together for one night of three productions: Berlin’s Das Helmi and Zürich’s Theater HORA. Together, they are a force for theatre equal to Castorf in the Volksbühne. Nah, seriously, if I was Staatsministerin für Kultur und Medien I’d kick out the illiterate appointment of the Dercon-Charmatz clique, keep Castorf and add the Helmi-HORA supergroup. That’s how good they are.

A little (hopefully correct) backstory: After their first collaboration in Zürich, Mars Attacks! they came together again for two this past summer for Ding Dong Dom in Berlin’s Holzmarkt, creating and performing five new works. Now it’s November, and the awesome No Limits Festival, so they’re back together for Schlafe kann ich, wenn ich Tot bin, three “anarchic theatre seances”: American Beauty, Hunger Games, and Ein Bett mit 1000 Kerzen. (And if Jennifer Lawrence ever reads this, Gianni, who directed Hunger Games and plays Katniss, was kinda upset your crew was so slack when you were in town.)

I was also slack, only staying for American Beauty. Which has a priceless insert of Dasniya Sommer doing Nijinski’s L’Après-midi d’un faune—about the only thing my poor camera managed to make look half-decent (one day I’ll blow some euros on a proper rig that laughs at fast movement and theatre light). Matthias Grandjean is there, also Gianni Blumer, Julia Häusermann, and Tiziana Pagliaro plus the Helmi mob, Cora Frost, Solène Garnier, Brian Morrow, Felix and Florian Loycke. Total supergroup.

What else? Mars Attacks! is on tonight in Balhaus Ost, it’s fucking legendary; the HORAs have shows on almost every night—a retrospective of their work since Jérôme Bel made Disabled Theater with them they’ve called Jérôme doesn’t ask the actors anymore (burn much?); and No Limits Festival runs ’til the 15th. Go to all of it. Berlin’s festivals are small and it’s easy for one to be over before you’re aware it exists, but they are gems, especially this one.