Monday, June 17, 2013

A musical evening

Last Thursday I went to the school musical: Milchstrasse 2, Stinkfisch und Killertomate.

As you might imagine, a musical put on by fifth, sixth, and seventh graders including the terms "stinky fish," "Milky Way Galaxy," and "killer tomato" is at the same time adorable and a bit difficult to follow. In brief, the follows a businessman who is grumpy that he's only the second-richest man in the galaxy, and that he's being beat by a woman named Emily Petemily. He decides that the way to beat Emily is to buy the hotel on Milchstrasse 2, currently run by two sisters who haven't had a guest stay there in thirty years, and turn it into a dog-grooming salon. The hotel's signature dish is stinky fish with killer tomatoes, made by a chef who is in love with her vegetables and has a special favorite: Paul, the mushroom. The chef is devastated that no one wants to come eat her food, since the vegetables are so wonderful; the sisters are sad that no one wants to stay at their hotel, but don't want to sell, so the businessman hires a spy/film noir type to trick them into signing over the lease. She successfully tricks one sister into selling the property, but somehow someone manages to get the paper back and rip it up. Problem solved.

At various points in the play we also met a scientist, a singer, a troupe of dancing constellations, two green aliens, a thief who sets off bombs Roadrunner-and-Coyote-style, and a policewoman. It was never really clear how their stories interacted with the main story, except incidentally.

A friend of mine noted that we find incompetence charming in children, and this was certainly true. The students often dropped things when changing the sets, whispered loudly and shushed one another, started playing the wrong scene, forgot lines, spoke unintelligibly, and tested the microphones in the middle of another scene. All was cheerful chaos. And the audience mostly refrained from laughing at the "no, it goes over there!" instructions the children gave one another. Or maybe, given the typical German response to jokes, it was a normal rather than a refrained response.

At the end of the play my students were very concerned that I'd understood everything, and I assured them I had. Waiting at the train station with several German friends, I confirmed that they hadn't understood everything either, so the confusion does not stem from language. Very reassuring.

A cute evening, all things considered. And I've seen posters up around town for "Kiss Me, Kate," so I may be stepping up my theater attendance at the end of my time here in Europe...

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