Imitating the Dog

First Person: A New English Theatre of Berlin (Berlin, Germany)

A bomb goes off, a telephone rings in the darkness, the lights flicker, and a thin tract of stage slowly reveals the actors standing dreamily at a hotel’s front desk. But this is no ordinary stage, and it is no ordinary theatre. The world of Hotel Methuselah is a reflection, a refraction, and a hinting at a world that lives somewhere between theatre and film. The stage is a narrow 6-meter long slit — a seriously wide widescreen — allowing us glimpses of actors below the neck and above the knee. Around them, a lush and well-crafted film offers us our only look at their faces, or hands, or whatever else the directors want us to see, while hinting back to lush noir films, French New Wave, and even some old Stan Brakhage. It is not always successful at merging the worlds of T...