WiseMan has insisted that we go to the theater more often instead of vegging out on the sofa with Tatort or Wallendar. He's right, we both actually love theater, it's just the hassle of a) finding an evening and b) deciding which one to go to, Berlin has so many theaters.

We used to belong to a theater club (Freie Volksbühne), it was kind of neat. The cheapest subscription was "we give you two tickets to a theater about every six weeks, we choose the day and the theater". You had to pay more for just Friday nights, or just a specific night, or a certain amount of opera included. We really loved this, as the seats were actually rather good. We've sat way down front (and gotten wet at the Schaubühne, but that's another story) and seen some great plays - and some rubbish. We feel free to leave at the break if it's bad - we've already paid for it. That's also the thing - we would make time for the play, because we had already paid for it.

Anyway, all sorts of stuff got in the way and we canceled our subscription. "We'll just choose the plays we want to see and go when we please." And we never seemed to get out to the theater. So we are restarting a theater-going phase, and WiseMan decided it needed to be Lulu by Frank Wedekind.

The city is in some kind of Wedekind fever. Two theaters are playing Lulu and one is playing Frühlings Erwachen (Spring awakening). WiseKidGirlFriend had to read the latter in school and they went to see the play. She hated it.

We had seen Lulu in Hamburg in 1988, the year of the world premiere. Wedekind had spent more than 20 years on this, putting together two of his other plays, Erdgeist (Earth spirit) and Büchse der Pandora (Pandora's box). Since most of his plays have to do with death and sex, he never actually was able to get Lulu presented while he lived. Peter Zadek did the production in Hamburg with the divine Susanne Lothar playing Lulu.

It was the first time we were at the Deutsches Schauspielhaus in Hamburg, and we went there many times. Get on the train in Kiel, get off at Hauptbahnhof, have dinner at the steak house across from the station, go down a block or so to the theater, see the play, get the last train back to Kiel. Easy-peasy.

I had already been in Germany for 12 years, so I thought my German was good, but I didn't understand much of what was happening, other than Lulu died. They passed out Loulou perfume to all the women, and I liked that so much that I actually wore it after that for years.

Anyway. We chose Robert Wilson's production of Lulu at the Berliner Ensemble with the 65-year-old beloved German actress Angela Winkler as Lulu, Brecht's theater and got our tickets. Then the reviews started to pour in. They hate it. FAZ finds subtle words for her displeasure, Tagesspiegel declares it a failure, the Berliner Morgenpost tries to figure out why the audience seems to like it, Berliner Zeitung focuses on the music by Lou Reed ("Lulu-Lala mit Lou"), heaping scorn on the rest.

Oh well, we can leave at the break. The tickets are paid for.

We got ticket to the Monday evening show, in which someone from the theater gives an overview of what will be happening and answers questions. We had none other than Claus Peymann, the artistic director of the Berliner Ensemble, telling us about Lulu and answering our questions.

And now to the play - did I understand it now? No. Wilson repeats the death scene a few times to make that abundantly clear. The figures are like marionettes, there is not much of a plot visible. The little old lady who runs across the set on occasion muttering funny things is golden! The music is excellent and does remind at times of Laurie Anderson :) Most of the actors can't really sing, but they do give it a try!

It was not a thought provoking evening, but it was not bad enough for us to leave. One was fascinated to see what was going to happen next. Oh, and the shows are all sold out, so damn the critics, full speed ahead!

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