Witty, earthy tones in a cozy atmosphere are on display in the north section of Englisch Garten
Munich, Englischer Garten. During the first two-weeks in August, witty, earthy tones are spoken in English by members of Entity Theatre e.V., and it helps create a most charming setting under the open skies for free performances at Englischer Garten Amphitheater.
On opening night a nice sized crowd for this environment arrived with picnic baskets, blankets and cushions, placing them on the grass seats, creating a cozy intimate atmosphere. These comfy amenities nicely compliment the viewing of four short one-act plays - which are all about intimacy, of one sort or another. 'The Rental' kicks-off the show running, and tries to get the audience to feel those odd static emotions sometimes experienced during the first intimate moments of any relationship. Sonya, played by Pardis Rostami, receives a surprise birthday present from her girlfriend: a Rent-A-Boyfriend. This is exactly what it sounds like it would be.
One of her most memorable lines is when Harold, played by Rudi Perkins, asks her, "Do you have love?" She responds, "Yes I do, I have my whole family, they drive me crazy, but they love me!" Not the correct answer to the question, but a good one nonetheless. Later, Perkins's best moment is in response to Sonya when she says, "You're just like all the other men!" To which Perkins quips, "No, I'm not! I'm a trained professional."
Perkins told The Munich Times after the show, "The funny thing is that when I was a teenager, while visiting Munich, I sat on these same grassy seats and watched a Shakespeare play. Never at that point was there a thought that one day I'd live in Munich and be acting in a play exactly in this same amphitheater... life can be funny," he added.
The chance to hear someone's mind think in 'Overtones', literally lets you hear what other minds think - the good and the not-so-good. Both this and 'The Rental' are directed by Marc Lachance, and he says, "A large stone has fallen from my heart. Now, I know what every director feels...but the important thing is that they (the actors) did a great job! My job was to help them bring out their best."
Ross Howard directed 'A Matter of Husbands,' and 'Breaking News,' both which center on husbands and how to handle them, and apparently this is not an easy task. "The challenges of outdoor theater limits the props used, and logistically, other problems, like where to create places for actors to change. But in the end teamwork made it all possible, including the great acting; I directed, but they did all the work," says Howard.
The test is in the tea pot
'Breaking News' is the closing act. Christina Richardson plays Jenny, the wife, who tries delicately to deliver some important news, she's expecting. She hides the pregnancy test in a teapot, waiting for just the right moment to deliver the news. Eventually, after a few close calls, she breaks down and screams, "I'm pregnant!" Tom, her husband, played by John O'Donnell, calmly replies, "So what exactly does that mean?"
In answer that, Richardson's character delivers a very snappy reply, which you won't want to miss. When asked about her thoughts on the play, Richardson says, "I think it's a realistic look into what and how we think about planning families."
All four plays are about 15-minutes each, and it's truly the sincerity of the delivery which makes even the bizarre believable. Ultimately, this is what pulls the audience into their world of drama on the stage- or in this case-on the grass carpet.
"Show times start promptly at 19:00 and end about 20:00, there is no intermission. Planned performances are August 1st through 3rd and 8th through 11th, weather permitting, of course," said David Godden, Artistic Director. "It's free summer theater at its best, however donations are gladly accepted," concludes Master of Ceremonies, Benjamin Bechhofer, with a grin. The amphitheater is located in the northern part of the Englischer Garten, and referenced on park maps as point or Nr. 64, the Neus Amphitheater. The closest U-bahn station is Alte Heide. Bring a snack, a cushion or blanket, and, of course, you and your open mind. Please note, you are welcome to imbibe drinks during the show, however it would be very much appreciated if one refrains from eating, smoking or using mobile phones during the performances. Further information can be found at: www.entitytheatre.com
Dan Roccapriore is a contributing Arts & Entertainment writer, and can be reached at USEuroWriter@aol.com