November 04, 2007

The Birmingham News (Birmingham, Alabama) November 4, 2007

Direct from Germany:
By Alec Harvey

Though not as prolific or famous as Shakespeare, another foreign playwright was front-and-center in Birmingham this week.

Roland Schimmelpfennig wrote "Start Up," a play performed in an airplane hangar on Tuesday night. Yes, an airplane hangar.

It was all part of the German Theatre Abroad Road Theatre USA program, with five actors and two video artists traveling the U.S. presenting the play in sometimes unusual circumstances.

About 125 people enjoyed the troupe's performance, said Trish Coghlan, executive director of the AlabamaGermany Partnership, which brought the play here.

"It was very different, but everybody really liked the play a lot," she says. "They incorporated pre-shot video and then used a video camera to shoot from different perspectives, and projected that on a screen. It was something that no one had ever seen before."

Audience members, both German and American, commented on how much they enjoyed "Start Up," which was performed in English.

In seven weeks, German Theatre Abroad will hit 24 cities from New York to Los Angeles. Birmingham was the fifth or sixth stop, Coghlan says, and "this was the largest crowd they've had."

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