Via Berlin and our work
What happens when you use classical music as your main ingredient to convey a self-written storyline about a topical and social subject, within a theatrical setting? It might be hard to imagine, but that is what we do. ‘We’ are Via Berlin.
Via Berlin is a young, Dutch music theatre group founded in 2008, when we started off as ‘Nieuwkomer’ (newcomer) at the Dutch music theatre company Orkater. Since then, we’ve reached over 35.000 people with six productions and have grown to be an independent company.
To us text and music, as well as the actor and the musician, are two completely equal means to convey the storyline. A continuous (classical) musical line exists throughout our pieces, and often the music even gets the leading part. The text merely gives the outlines of the story, location and characters; the images and music fill in the rest.
All of the performers on stage are both actors as musicians. This way of working creates a tight unity and an organic fusion between the two disciplines, bearing in mind that the individual qualities of the performers are preserved. Making music theatre about a topical subject using classical music as the main storyteller in combination with self-written text, is unique in the Netherlands and abroad.
With social and topical subjects like ‘war’ or ‘illegal immigrants’ as the underlying theme, the plays of Via Berlin are about intimate, personal stories, which symbolize universal happenings.
Our trilogy on war was awarded with the Dutch Charlotte Kohler Prize.
Here we will guide you through our pieces.
We made a triptych about war, a diptych about illegality and a poetic duet about degeneracy and losing oneself in loneliness.
OUR WAR TRIPTYCH
Is about a Dutch pregnant woman who seeks her lost husband, a war photographer, in Afghanistan. She finds him back in the middle of the desert, but he is gaunt (uitgemergeld), dehydrated, traumatized, ánd living together with an Afghan woman. The Afghan woman, using her music, is the only one allowed to come close to him and touch him, leaving the Dutch wife left out and desperate. A mouth full of sand is about reaching the point when loving someone also means to let go.
Based on the history of Chechnya – a country where men are fighting the war and women are on the side-lines- a small group of women from different religious backgrounds is forced to work in a sewing-workshop. Every day, uniforms from fallen soldiers get repaired to be sent back to the frontline. But when nightmares and terrors enter the workshop, and prejudices seem to take over, the women no longer accept the meaninglessness of their lives. From now on your name is Pjotr is about realizing that everybody has his own personal tragedy, and acknowledging someone else’s pain can make your own suffering more bearable.
TrailerInside on location and Outside on location
The war is over. A soldier returns from battle, back home. What he finds is a bare and empty village. There is nobody. In his head is his wife alive and weaving memories, delusions, traumas, desires and hopes the days together. Till his wife really suddenly appears in front of him.
At Home Sweet Home, we go one step further and higher in our quest. Female strings against the male drummers brings tension with it which fits well with the theme of the show. In addition, the combination of the characteristic timbre of strings with those of artists offers a broad spectrum of possibilities for interpreting different spheres, such as masculinity versus femininity, violence versus tenderness, versus rhythmic melodic, from subtle to deafening.
TrailerInside the theatre
OUR DIPTYCH ABOUT ILLEGALITY
It’s like an animal that is threatened with death; instinct takes over. There is no more room for social carefree moments, everything is armed, it can be done any time.
A group of women is looking for support in a time of confusion. They are taken in tow by the hostess who proclaims a visionary look at the future.
When in their midst a refugee appears, emerges from that wonderful future prospects and the sudden occurrence reality an almost unbridgeable distance.
Dead End is a physical and musical performance between two man, created on the wide beach at the Oerol festival. We see the journey of a man symbolizing many more illegal immigrants. Coming from the sea, on the run through different countries and finally reaching a border crossing-point, where he finds himself in a trial of strength with the guard. The audience is sitting safely behind the guard, watching anonymously from the public gallery. After a heart-breaking plead sung to the audience, the man runs off, having no other option than to go and live an illegal life.
Watch trailer and interview [item starts at 03:00min]
Once there were two sisters; praised classical musicians, who played sold-out performances all over the world. They lived an affluent lifestyle and had many admirers.
Now they are old, the fame and money are gone.
With their world getting smaller and smaller, all they have left is each other for laughter and comfort.
In solitude the sisters reminisce and relive their glory days. They try everything to hide the decline that comes with getting older, but when your memory betrays you and your hands start shaking that is easier said than done.
A poetic musical performance about degeneracy and losing oneself in loneliness.
Because of the strong universal eloquence of our pieces, as well as the large share of music, the productions of Via Berlin are suitable for international performances. We are used to performing both inside and outside, on a wide variety of locations and in different languages.
We are also interested in starting up international collaborations to create new pieces together, or sharing our way of making music theatre with young people.
For bookings and further information, please don’t hesitate to contact us: