Saturday, 13 March 2010

Theatre Exchange - Karlsruhe to Nottingham - 2006

Karlsruhe Theatres visit to Nottingham. April 2006

When the Karlsruhe groups arrived in Nottingham in early April 2006 some of their group came early enough to witness the last night of the LMT production of Anna Karenina in which I was playing Levin with Alison Hope as the title role. Most of the others from Germany arrived mid morning on the Sunday morning. The Karlsruhe groups use individual cars and a van to travel and journey via ferry through Hull. It was good to see some familiar faces again and some new folk too. The Die Käuze group were performing Blauer Bahnhof by Kerstin Rothe and Jakobus performed a two person farce by Ray Cooney and Gene Stone with the German title of Bleib doch zum frühstuck or Why not stay to breakfast. Each show had three performances.

Blaue Bahnhof was a multi-media piece played by a young cast with Larissa Kaufmann in the lead as an unpopular girl learning some life lessons. Bleib doch zum frühstuck was very funny and quite raunchy in parts. Peter Grünewald , Christian Müller and Ana Purwa played the parts to perfection. With each play we got a sheet explaining the plots as both were in German. Fun and laughter translates as the same in both languages and there was plenty of that.

Scene from Blaue Bahnhof
Previous to the visit there was a lot of background organising to be done and we planned an official visit to the matinee of Blaue Bahnhof by the Lord Mayor of Nottingham and his wife. I recall that there was a lot of protocol involved regarding behaviour around and particular addressing of the Mayor and Mayoress. You certainly couldn’t just call him “You and your Mrs.”

As it was in Germany, various families and members of the Lace Market Theatre hosted our guests from Karlsruhe and there was lots of inter cultural socialising in terms of going out for meals at Pizza Savai, La Tasca and having a drink or two at the club bar and The Trip to Jerusalem. Our Karlsruhe friend Markus Künstler was very taken with the old Nottingham pub at the foot of the castle and he has told me since that going there was one of his fondest memories of the visit. For the historical aspects, natürlich!

During this visit I helped with the catering side of things, doing the teas and coffees, washing up and helping Max one day in the kitchen. It was great to be involved in it all and to be looking after our guests.

On the Friday we took a coach to Leicestershire for the big trip out and visited the Abbey Victorian Pumping Station – thus reinforcing the idea that the British are obsessed with toilets - and then to the National Space Centre for a fascinating look at space exploration and everything planetary including the 360⁰ planetarium experience. After all this excitement we called into an Indian restaurant at 139 Belgrave Road called Curry Fever and enjoyed an Indian meal with our guests. There was a little spare time after the meal and many of us went for a look around the Indian clothes and accessories shops. On speaking to our friends from Karlsruhe on our next visit in 2008 they loved the Indian food at Mr Sunil Anand’s restaurant and the ethnicity of the area.

On Friday night we gave our guests a fantastic party and they entertained us with the Die Käuze performers performing a jazz dance routine and Markus Künstler played the piano and sung some songs. There was live music from a jazz quartet too. More presentations and heartfelt speeches were given including a nice one from Carl Kaufmann saying how welcomed he and his family felt during their stay with us in Nottingham.

During the week Markus and I swopped tongue twisters in German and English. One of his that I remember was “In Ulm und um Ulm und um Ulm herum.” To this I countered with, “ She stood up in the balcony inexplicably mimicking him hiccupping and amicably welcoming in him.” He did give me another one with lots of words containing the letter F, something about Frisches fisch. I have forgotten it alas. One of the funniest things was trying to teach Manfred how to say “Ey up me duck” and explain what it meant colloquially. I assured him you cannot say “ Guten Tag meine Ente” unless you actually want to say hello to a duck.    

Once again the following day meant that our wonderful friends from Karlsruhe had to return home and after a group photo outside the theatre and some fond goodbyes several packed cars full of smiling, waving Germans disappeared around the corner of Halifax Place and onwards to their homes in Germany. Like us they had a long journey ahead of them and we heard that they had plans to visit a particular place en route that allegedly sold great Fish and Chips!

Some of our German friends on their way home.

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