Vivid Grand Show is an impressive production with ultra-talented actors, singers, dancers, and acrobats. Everything shines from the performing artists to the magnificent stage design, lighting, and costumes! The production premiered at Friedrichstadt-Palast last month, and sold-out performances continue to “WOW” Berlin!
The Friedrichstadt-Palast was where Berliners went to see the “most spectacular shows in the reunited German nation”
Friedrichstadt-Palast history goes back to the 19th century when it was a “covered market and circus arena”. Before the GDR renamed it, the Nazis called it Theater des Volkes – Theatre of the People. Construction defects and damage from WWII air attacks resulted in the theater’s demolition. A beautiful new building opened in 1984 as “a significant emblem of Germany’s divided history”.
Vivid is a “visual narrative”. Powerful images and sound tell the story with German spoken during key parts of the performance.
The story is about a young woman – R’eye – played by actress Devi Ananda Dahm. R’eye becomes separated from her father and transformed into an android – half human, half machine. The audience accompanies androidin R’eye in her quest for freedom “while bathing their eyes in images of glittering variety”. Vivid graphically takes us through the process of R’eye becoming who she really is. We follow her as she learns about life and gains the courage to face her challenges and fears.
“Although R’eye’s android life becomes subject to external control, her yearning for freedom lives on as she begins moving to a different beat. With the wonder of a child, she beholds the world with new eyes and perceives the overwhelming beauty of things we often overlook in life.”
“Who can you be? What’s your true ID? VIVID is a hypersensuous journey of self-discovery and a declaration of love for life.”
Creative Team and Performing Artists
Vivid’s budget of 12 million euros makes it the most expensive production in Germany’s history. The spectacular costumes and stage sets are “unparalleled” works of art. As R’eye discovers her hidden identity the color theme progresses from black and white to the vivid bright “colors of life“.
Stage sets like “a magical jungle garden with huge butterflies and a science fiction world take the audience into a magnificent fantasy world”.
Vivid’s exemplary design team includes Philip Treacy, the famous milliner who creates hats for Queen Elizabeth II, Karl Lagerfeld, Ralph Lauren, Lady Gaga, and others. Renowned US production designer Michael Cotton created the extraordinary stage scenery. English audio engineer Cedric Beatty orchestrated sound, and Stefano Canulli – Italian film, opera, and fashion designer – created the elegant costumes. Set design animations are by Germany’s talented Jan Wünsche.
Actors, Singers, Dancers
Over 100 amazing international artists performed in the flawless production, each showing perfection, love, and dedication of their discipline with physical and “artistic-artistic excellence”. Actor and singer Andreas Bieber was “The Entertainer” and narrator. This is a list of Vivid’s amazing cast and creative team.
Contortionists, Gymnasts, Aerial Acrobats
The Contortion Act by Mongolian Troupe Ayasgalan was amazing as was the Aerial Pole Act by award-winning Ukrainian gymnast Artem Lyubanevych. Words cannot describe the Duo Sky Angels Iron Jaw Act by Uzbekistan’s Kristina Vorbeva and Rustem Osmanov! The stunning Ecuadorian Navas Troupe starred in their highly dangerous, breathtaking daredevil Double Wheels of Steel Act. The Navas perfected the double wheels during Cirque du Soleil performances and at Radio City Music Hall!
It was fun chatting with the mostly German audience during break in the Palace’s beautiful foyer. So much activity on the stage made it almost impossible for one pair of eyes to absorb. The all-inclusive theme and production are very Berlin. Can’t imagine a more entertaining evening!
Learning to navigate a large city requires patience and perseverance – ha… Berlin’s heated pace is both daunting and exhilarating. I’ve gone from being hopelessly lost to feeling ecstatic while blending with locals and making successful transport connections!
As a point of comparison, Istanbul’s 14 million population makes Berlin’s 4 million seem small, but to me, Istanbul’s public transit system is easier to learn. Switching between the U-Bahn (subway) and S-Bahn (suburban train) is confusing. My U-Bahn station is Gneisenaustraße – still trying to pronounce it correctly. During my first subway outing a Berliner helped by providing directions involving a U-Bahn to S-Bahn transfer. There are various transfer options and this one turned out to be complicated (for a tourist), somehow leaving me in the middle of nowhere at night, terrified!
When will I learn the lesson about not asking locals for directions – a basic rule that continues to elude my travels? Essential elements of getting around seamlessly and independently in foreign countries include MapsMe or Google Maps and a power charger for your smartphone. In Berlin, speaking German is also helpful…
I’ve booked some interesting tours and decided to make “dry runs”, to eliminate 11th hour drama reaching the starting point on time. Berlin is a city of striking images, but I haven’t taken many photos – dangerous while still getting your bearings.
Yesterday I joined a six-hour walking tour led by Berlin Like A Local. As with most of these outings, there was too much detailed information provided. The tour lasted most of the day – with a 30-minute lunch break and a few moving caffeine stops. We walked at a fast pace with little time for photos or chit-chat. Since then, I’ve downloaded self-guided tours to my smartphone. The next walking tour will be at my pace, and I can replay the commentary as many times as necessary :o).
The group included tourists from Amsterdam, Zürich, London, and New York City. They were in their 20s – 30s and good fun. Most of them were visiting Berlin to experience its vibrant techno nightlife scene. The Londoner shared pointers about Albania – possibly my next stop. One young couple was on their way to Prague.
Our Australian guide from Melbourne had lived in Berlin for over 4 years while attending university. He majored in subjects which make him an expert on European history and a powerhouse of information. His commentary was funny at times, e.g., he told us “you can take a dog or a beer anywhere in Berlin”…
Attractions and Landmarks
Some of the sites we saw are listed below – more for my benefit than readers of this post. Each site has its own unique history and compelling story. We began in the east near River Spree at the Tränenpalast Museum (Tears Palace) and ended at Brandenburg Gate in the west.
The stark Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe designed by Peter Eisenman is graphic and impressive. It consists of 2,711 cuboid concrete stelae (slabs) and encompasses an entire block near the Brandenburg Gate. We walked respectfully through the controversial memorial. It’s difficult to describe the feelings of isolation and helplessness as the concrete blocks grow taller and a slanted pavement adds to the disorientation. Eisenman’s brilliant work gets your attention and makes its brutal point.
We took a break on top of Hitler’s underground air-raid bunker where he and Eva Braun committed suicide. It’s now blended with the landscaping of a modern apartment complex. Another interesting spot was the exterior of Angela Merkel’s flat in Prenzlauer Berg where she no longer stays. Trendy Prenzlauer Berg has old Wilhelminian-style buildings and fashionable cafés and shops. The apartment rents for € 65 per night.
During the 1990s, the fall of the Berlin Wall brought extreme euphoria, wild partying, and a “chaotic, anarchistic mood”. Since then, Berlin has experienced major change! This was a cursory tour. Over the next few months I will look deeper and gain a better understanding of Berlin’s fascinating past and bright future. Although not always immediately obvious, Berlin’s dark past and present intertwine.
- Brandenburg Gate
- German Cathedral
- Topography of Terror – Nazi regime Gestapo and SS Headquarters
- The Missing House
- Checkpoint Charlie
- Berlin War Memorial
- Tränenpalast Museum
- New Synagogue
- German Historical Museum
- DDR Museum
- Boulevard Unter den Linden
- Berlin Castle
- Pergamon Museum
- Pariser Platz
- Museum Island
- Neue Wache Museum – New Guard House
- Berlin State Library
- Remains of Hitler’s Berlin Bunker
- Nazi Book Burning Memorial
- Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
- Schloss Charlottenburg
- Berlin TV Tower
- Berlin Cathedral
- Reichstag Building
Clear autumn weather in the 70s is to continue this week. I’m besotted with Berlin and the adventures so far. Happy to be staying in the Kreuzberg / Neukölln area, a vibrant community rich in diversity and character.