Burlesque Loves You: Berliner Luft – It’s In The Air! Premieres
By Andrew Cottrill . January 19, 2015
Berliner Luft isn’t just swallowable mouthwash for the personal hygiene–conscious alcoholic, it’s also a sexy celebration of cabaret, burlesque, vaudeville and variety in the form of Immoral Babylon Productions’ new play Berliner Luft – It’s In The Air!, which premieres this Thursday at Ballhaus Berlin.
The play recounts to the story of two vaudeville actresses from 1920s New York who, seeing that attitudes surrounding women on stage are much more liberal overseas, take a pilgrimage across the Atlantic to find fame and acceptance performing in Paris and London, before finding their true home in that most romanticised Mecca of immorality, ‘20s Weimar-era Berlin.
Still relatively new to the burlesque and vaudeville scene, I had my first real taste of it recently at one of Primitiv’s Sunday Soiree events and so far I’m hooked. Voice hoarse from whooping and hollering, face aching from guffawing, I was still buzzed days afterwards. After hearing about Berliner Luft – It’s In The Air! I quickly got in touch with Immoral Babylonian and “shimmy shakin’ stripteaser”, the inimitable Champagne Sparkles to find out more.
Aside from “feathers, fringe and fancy feet”, what’s Berliner Luft – It’s In The Air! about?
The underlying theme of the play is the liberation of the female body on stage. We give a bit of history about how female nudity on stage evolved, along with telling the play’s story. Essentially, it’s a cabaret show nested inside a play, so it is a combination of dialogue and storytelling, with variety acts from various periods of history interspersed throughout. A mix of dancing, singing and comedy within a storyline through history!
Why do you think modern audiences are still going crazy for variety shows?
I think the reason modern audiences enjoy variety shows is that it’s a winning combination! We live in a complex, busy world and I think variety shows give the opportunity to step out of that and be entertained. These shows offer a wonderful mix – dancing, singing, comedy, and, if you’ve got burlesque in there as well, a little bit of sensuality, nudity and sexiness.
In my life, any time ‘sex’ has become ‘comedy’ (unintentionally or otherwise) it’s been a harrowing experience for all involved. Don’t ask. Do you ever mix the two?
Yes, I definitely think sexiness and comedy are a fabulous mix, and we put them together all of the time in a variety of art forms – ranging from subtle, cheeky humour to downright hilarity.
Berlin in the ‘20s… what made you set the play there? And how do you think modern Berlin’s culture compares?
When we looked at where, when and how the evolution of female nudity on stage happened, it was clear the characters in our play had to end up in 1920s Berlin. It was certainly a time of creativity and liberation! Of course, we all live in Berlin and love the city, so I think therefore that helped us choose to bring the characters here, as a chance to explore the history of the city, along with the history of our art form.
Modern Berlin still attracts creative people, and it seems like it especially brings people who are interested in experimenting, crossing disciplines and exploring multiple facets of art. My main experience is within the burlesque community here, and that is a strong community with a willingness to work together and share. I’ve also found that people here tend to go out and see art, even if they do not have a lot of money. They use what they have to help support the arts and other artists!
You say that Berliner Luft – It’s In The Air! is suitable for Germans and internationals alike. How will this work?
We have a mix of German and English in the play (along with a tiny bit of French). The actor playing our central character is (thankfully) multilingual! He is able to shift between the languages easily. As we follow the performers from city to city, the language of the setting changes and our host provides the essential details in English and German, so everyone can follow the story.
Additionally, many of the acts are dance, singing and physical comedy, so they tell stories without the need for any specific language. If someone speaks no English or no German, they may miss some of the fine details in the dialogue, but we do not think that will detract from understanding the overall story or enjoying the show!
Thanks a lot, Champagne Sparkles!
Immoral Babylon Productions is Champagne Sparkles, Little Miss Piss, Lucky LU, Johanna Blackstone and Syren Joey (plus the rest of the crew!).
Berliner Luft – It’s In The Air! runs between the 22nd, 23rd and 24th of January at the Ballhaus Berlin.
Aftershow-Party mit DJ Don Rogall – Ein Vintage-Vinyl Feuerwerk!
Tickets VKK 22€ / AK 25€ – get yours here