International Playwrights: A Genesis Project presents
By Mark Ravenhill
2 March - 21 March 2009
Jerwood Theatre Downstairs
Tickets: £25, £18, £12.
“I found you. You’re here. And I was over there. But now I’m over here. I’m here. You’re my brother. I love you”
OFF THE WALL: a season of new plays about Germany
When Franz’s mother escaped to the West with one of her identical twin boys, she left the other behind. Now, 25 years later, Karl crosses the border in search of his other half. As history takes an unexpected turn, the brothers must struggle to reconnect.
Mark Ravenhill’s ( Shoot/Get Treasure/Repeat, Shopping and Fucking ) visceral new play examines the hungers released when two countries, separated by a common language, meet again.
60 years since the foundation of the Federal Republic and 20 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Royal Court presents Off The Wall, a season of new plays about Germany. This includes The Stone by Marius von Mayenburg ( The Ugly One, Fireface ) and a series of readings of new plays by German writers.
Suitable for ages 16+
Read about Mark Ravenhill’s experiences in Berlin and the writing of Over There.
Read about rehearsals for Over There in The Guardian
Off The Wall Season offer: book for The Stone and Over There at the same time and save £5 on top price tickets (avail. Tue-Sat). Call 020 7565 5000
Over There is a co-production with the Schaubuhne, Berlin
In association with the Goethe-Institut
Select a Date
Dates in March
|Mon 2 Mar 2009||7:30pm||Preview||Jerwood Theatre Downstairs|
|Sat 21 Mar 2009||12:00am||Preview|
Sold out Performances
- Concessions £5 off top two prices* (avail. in advance for all matinees, and for all perfs until 7 Mar incl. For all other perfs, avail. on a standby basis on the day).
- 25s and under £62 stars (10 seats per perf in each price band. 2 tickets per booking).
- School and HE Groups of 8+ 50% off top two prices (avail. Tue-Fri).
- Groups of 6+ £5 off top price (avai. Tue-Fri). Access £12 (plus a companion at the same rate).
*ID required, not bookable online. **As above, but also bookable online. All discounts are subject to availability.
4 stars Financial Times
East meets west, things get messy
Having begun its German season with a play by the “in yer face”-influenced playwright Marius von Mayenburg (one of two of his works in the current repertoire of the Schaubhne in Berlin), the Royal Court continues with a new piece by “in yer face” godfather Mark Ravenhill, which after its run here goes straight to the Schaubhne to join the three plays of his that are also in the repertoire.
I’m not talking about cosiness, but consistency. This looks and feels very like a Schaubhne show. The combination of elegance and extremity, high concept and intense humanity, is the same as we have seen on visits to London of productions by that house’s artistic director, Thomas Ostermeier.
The white, ceilinged but doorless box set that was used for von Meyenburg’s The Stone is piled with packets of groceries and household products, from cornflakes to toilet roll. In this play about the personality conflicts of the German reunification, we dont need to consider materialism; we can see the material itself being applied – and, in the closing phase of the 70-minute piece, applied messily to the body of Harry Treadaway.
He plays Franz, brought up in the DDR by his father when his mother and twin brother Karl fled to the west, and now reunited with Karl in young adulthood, just as the two Germanies become one. The point is that they become one big West Germany: not a commingling but a takeover.
Franz’s twin Karl is played by Harry Treadaway’s twin Luke, in a so-simple-its-brilliant conceit. When “Karli” and “Franzl” speak each other’s sentences in unison and share their telepathic memories of crucial moments, our suspension of disbelief is of a different order then usual. Not that its difficult to tell them apart, even if they weren’t wearing different-coloured underwear. Luke Treadaway, whose career so far has mostly been on stage, has greater physical precision, whereas Harry who has done much screen work but here is making his stage debut, is more fluid and natural in his movements.
Ravenhill’s script (which he co-directs with Ramin Gray) plays out clearly the differences in life and outlook between (former) “Ossis” and “Wessis”. It almost amounts to a Lehrstuck, but without any condescension or priggishness in its didacticism. (To keep the ick factor raised, there is a graphic allusion to the Armin Meiwes cannibalism case.) It will be very much against the taste of many; as for me, I loved it and I really want to see how it plays over there.’
Ian Shuttleworth, 10 March 2009
3 stars Metro
The Royal Courts Off The Wall season of plays about Germany is certainly throwing up some memorable theatre. Mark Ravenhills Over There may sometimes bend uncomfortably under the weight of its political allegory but it still offers startlingly powerful imagery.
Karl and Franz (played by Luke and Harry Treadaway,) are almost identical twin brothers who ended up separated by the Berlin Wall when their mother took Franz to the West. The fall of the Wall brings them together but, despite a psychic connection, they are not equals. East Berliner Karl initially tries to ape the trappings of his brothers capitalist success but hes soon driven to dark thoughts and deeds, with increasingly horrifying results.
Ramin Gray and Ravenhill direct this fierce little play with vigour and a rough physicality that sees the excellent Treadaway brothers spending a large amount of time on their underpants (and Luke covered in an impressive amount of condiments). The pair capture the dark humour of Ravenhills set-up as they navigate their way round a stage cluttered with ominous towers of consumer goods boxes. Having them as such clear representatives of the two halves of Germany makes this fell a little heavy-handed at times as the play spins dizzyingly towards its surreal climactic events, but the subtle interplay between the Treadaways, and Ravenhills sharp empathy for the East Germans plight, makes this fascinating theatre nonetheless.’
Siobhan Murphy, 10 March 2009
5 stars London Paper
Produced to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, Shopping & F–––ing writer Mark Ravenhill really delivers in this allegorical tale about Germanys division.
However, his real masterstroke is the casting of identical twins Luke and Harry Treadaway.
As Karl and Franz, who grew up on either side of the Wall, the Treadaways are a joy. Equally hilarious and disturbing as the plot requires finishing each others sentences, chorusing lines and constantly playing with their appearances their shared chemistry is compelling.
This is theatre as spectacle, but the slapstick, condiment-throwing, drag act, masturbation and, finally, cannibalism never feel gratuitous. It is the explosion of post-Wall euphoria, which all too quickly turns sour.
Savage and hilarious; anyone who questions modern theatre needs to see this show.
Ben Wardle, 12 March 2009