Artists Calla Henkel and Max Pitegoff’s New Theater originates from, amongst other things, the desire to reimagine relational art in the particular context of a niche American art world in Berlin, whose ecosystem is already under the gentrifying influence of the city’s increasing popularity as a destination for creative transplants. The twenty-something Cooper Union graduates’ (mainly photographic) practice foregrounds the social networks and economic activities underlining art production and amplified in the globally mobile expatriate community, which have led them, quite logically, to the practice of theater.
Opened in Kreuzberg in 2013, New Theater functions as a bar, social space, and independent theater, staging plays built on and reflective of their collaborative processes, from writing and acting to set and costume design. Titled Apartment (Mother Courage) and performed at the new Whitney Museum over two consecutive weekends, the duo’s latest play chronicles an unsuccessful fundraiser on a May Day to save a Berlin watering hole—the last vestiges of an earlier, more radical/alternative time that the regulars grumpily reminisce about. Featuring a roster of friends and frequent collaborators, an eclectic set, kitschy music, and DIY aesthetics, the performance delights with goofy acting, dry humor, and self-conscious one-liners that alternative between cliché and piercing, Brechtian analysis of the precarity and complicity of the young artist’s life and community.
Q&A with Calla Henkel and Max Pitegoff: New Theater in a New Context
Feb 1, 2016 via https://whitney.org/WhitneyStories/NewTheaterInANewContext