In the late 80s, in the communist craziness of the country I've been born too, the New Year's Eve show used to include a couple of minutes of shows from our GDR's friends. The semi-naked ladies from FriedrichstadtPalast - a copy, probably of the capitalist Place Pigalle shows - were the best of entertainment we got.
When I visited Berlin I found the location, situated in the Mitte, but very close to Friedrichstrasse, very ugly and grey. Not a good example of smart architecture and elegance. As I am not interested in revue theater, I never entered the building since today, when I saw an announcement of a free exhibition about the history of the place and of Berlin's theatre quarter. I don't know if it's something new or it used to be there for years and I didn't see it since now.
So, why not, as long as I was carrying the camera with me...While I stay there, probably 20 minutes, there were many tourists coming and going, kindly oriented by a smiling guy waiting in the lobby. Given my previous experiences with photographying in various spaces, I asked him permission to take pictures and he allowed me very naturally to do it.
What I learned new from this exhibition?
It is not too much to see: left and right side of the entrance, you have a couple of small screens displaying images from the history of the Palast, with various explanations in German about the various historical episodes: the location of a former circus, turned into an important revue theater. Closed after the war, it functioned only as an ensemble until the official opening of the current building, in 1984.
Now, it's positioned as a Broadway-like theatre, with the biggest stage of the world of 2,854 sqm.
You can read the names of those who performed here. The old massive pieces are parts of the original building saved after the end of the War. Almost a most in many historical exhibitions about buildings in Berlin.
|The red carpet|
|Cold War architecture|
I found interesting the little map with the various theatre from the quarter, some of them not re-opened after the end of the war: Alte Komische Oper, Berliner Ensemble, Kleines Theater, Berliner Theatre, Apollo-Theater.
You can admire here the famous shows - YMA is the newest production - and during Berlinale here are hosted some of the projections included in the festival's program. I was not impressed at all by the interior design and even found some of the light arrangements extremely kitsch.
But, if I would have the possibility to go to see a show once, I will definitely say 'yes'. Curiosity beats it all.