Europe Lifestyle Reviews

Travel || Discovering a new art form with the Chamaeleon Theater

The whole reason for my trip in the first place was to see “Underart: Ode to Crash Landing” at the Chamaeleon Theater in Berlin. The Chamaeleon Theater functions as a sort of receiving house and commissioner for new circus in Berlin. It’s in this incredible old Art Nouveau ballroom. And because the theatre only hosts two shows a year (for technical reasons as much as any other) you can tell that the Chamaleon family gets attached to every show and troupe that comes through their house. 

Before I start talking about the show on at the moment, “Underart”, I suppose I should touch on what new circus is. First off all, it’s best to get the idea of circus out of your head altogether. I’d consider it more an amalgamation of variety with physical theatre. There’s dancing, singing, acrobatics, acting… the closest thing that I can think of in “traditional” British theatre at the moment is the work of DV8 but new circus is a bit more abstract than that. 

There’s both tragedy and joy behind “Underart”: it’s the story of a fall and how to crash but move forward. It was developed by director Olle Strandberg when at age 21, he broke his back on stage. Now recovered, he is the creative director for Cirkus Cirkor, the company performing “Underart”. The team were all incredible talented, from the two musicians on stage to the 5 physical performers, they worked as an incredibly succinct group. (The amount of trust that they have in each other must be incredible!) Their perfect timing was terrifying and exciting. There were moments in the show that caused my body to ache as I watched the performers push their bodies to the edge, yet all the movements were still very organic.

But a review of “Underart” wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the music. It was composed by the team and it really brought the show together and heightened the emotion. It definitely wouldn’t have been as cohesive and touching without it and I’d buy singer Anna Ahnlund’s CD any day. It was all very Mumford/First Aid Kit and I loved it. Another one of the most striking moments in the show for me, was when performer Methinee Wongtrakoon (in a visually arresting bright red jumpsuit) performed a tortured looking piece of modern dance. It was probably the least acrobatic section of the performance, but it was one of the most humanly connected portions of the evening. (Methinee originally trained as a contourtionanist, and you can see that in the way she articulates her joints in this piece.) 

The final image of the performance is one that will haunt you for days to come, but I shan’t spoil the surprise for anyone who might have the opportunity to see it. 

I found the whole experience unbelievably thrilling and I’d undoubtedly recommend an evening at the Chamaeleon to anyone spending time in Berlin. Tickets start at €29. You can see “Underart” until 19 Feb. 2017. 

Outside the theatre.

* This photo is property of the Chamaeleon, used with their permission.* 
* This photo is property of the Chamaeleon, used with their permission.* 
* This photo is property of the Chamaeleon, used with their permission.* chamaeleon_berlin_underart-singing
* This photo is property of the Chamaeleon, used with their permission.* 
The whole Berlin crew. 

The Chamaeleon Theater is located at Rosenthaler Str 40/41, 10178 Berlin. 

Do you have any experience with modern circus / clowning / physical theatre? 

****I was a guest of the Chamaeleon Theater, but all opinions are solely my own. ***

You Might Also Like