Photos: Dong-Ha Choe


"Death is a mistake“  (Heiner Müller)

"The night is filled with shadows, the years are filled with early doom
I’ve been conjuring up all these long dead souls from their crumblin’ tombs“
Bob Dylan: Rollin’ and Tumblin’ (2006)

Following a renewed invitation from the berlin Academy of Arts, the UdK set design class in cooperation with the directing course at Ernst Busch and Hans Eisler-Schule conceptualize an inter-disciplinary theatre project.

GERMANIA. A ghost exorcism depicted a parcours through the buildings of Pariser Platz, rising so to speak from the contaminated earth of the Speerschen secret laboratory to the NSA interception bowls on the academy rooftops. This time our artists are journeying deep into the modern underworld at the Academy of Arts, down three levels of the underground “black box.” It is a space, seemingly predestined for voices from the underworld, which Bob Dylan evoked in his script Masked and Anonymous (2003) and serves as starting point for our prospective cooperation project.

Bob Dylan, winner of a Nobel prize for literature and member of the Academy of Arts, once described the scenarios in his lyrics as “like mystery stories, the kind that Shakespeare saw when he was growing up.”

Meanwhile, culture historians have studied the background of Dylan’s writing through philological, micro-historical and folkloric means and uncovered an abundance of genres inspired by childhood memories, citations, films, collective dreams, political prophecies, popular piety, historical criminal cases and ghost stories, while also bringing many other forgotten cultural discoveries to light. This has given rise to the picture of Dylan as a kind of Pied Piper of ghosts, a singer who acts as a spiritual medium, no longer speaking for himself but with the voices of tradition and the dead.

In the end, with Masked and Anonymous Dylan created a mystery play in the tradition of a medieval dance of death: a dictatorship shaken by global crises and corruption, a colourful carousel of figures including scoundrels and conjurers, showmen, mediums and religious representatives, politicians, jokers and two-faced monsters who stir up the storm of the last judgement with increasing force.

The literary scholar Heinrich Deterring talks about the contrasting materials that influenced Dylan as follows:

“It is the carnival vitality of the theatrical game itself, that defies death. Carnivalisation defines — and undermines — the tricky merging of mafia stories and history plays, parables and political satire, musical and mystery plays and Shakespeare-panopticon. The world stage, whose quoted modes of expression here span from Aeschylus through the middle ages to Brecht, reflects the world music of the soundtrack. […] It may be that death comes to all of them, these kings and beggars — but he does it in a musical play, dancing to Dylan’s music.”

In this new academy project, Dylan’s music and scenes serve as an opportunity for the set design students to work with new diverging theatrical concepts. It engenders a creative process whereby external material is transferred into an edited mixture of real and invented information, similar to Dylan’s original use of the work of Plato, Shakespeare to Allen Ginsberg. It is the self-inflicted job of the student to conjure up the forgotten past, but also to discover the ghosts of the present and in their own fashion, experience them anew.

Through the transparency of its source material and demand for artistic rejuvenation, this study project in the black box of the academy lends itself to a very Dylan-like new concept.

As with previous projects from this course of study, such as Heer (after Wagners Ring cycle), Germania and Fantomoj, artistic teams will develop whose visual, musical and dramatic creations merge into a collective scenic form; through the overall staging in original space new strategies and perspectives are exposed.

Premier and Performances: 5 –7 Oktober 2017 at 7 pm,  as well as 7 October at 5 pm, Akademie der Künste Berlin, Pariser Platz 4


Direction by Marius Schötz, Sanghwa Park, Anna Weber; Set and costume by Orli Baruch, Iris Christidi, Tatjana Reeh and Tristan Weber.

A production from the Universität der Künste Berlin and the Akademie der Künste.

A collaboration between set design students from Universität der Künste Berlin, the Hochschule für Schauspielkunst „Ernst Busch“ Berlin, the Hochschule für Musik „Hanns Eisler“ Berlin.


With friendly support from

KKWV Kommission für künstlerische und wissenschaftliche Vorhaben

UdK Berlin

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