'You can find freedom in death, if you're brave': Theatre director Jamie Harper discusses Heaven in Berlin
Jamie Harper is a theatre director whose theatre credits Invasion (Tooting Arts Club) and Roundabout (Bush Theatre). His latest production Heaven in Berlin is being performed at TestBed1 this month. He spoke with Alexandra Rucki.
AR: What is Heaven in Berlin all about?
JH: Its always tough to answer this question but if I had to boil it down I would say this play is about how people find freedom. You can get freedom by running away from family responsibilities, you can find freedom in love and great music but can also find freedom in death, if you're brave.
AR: Hobo Theatre perform in unconventional spaces, how does this piece respond to the environment in Testbed1?
JH: When we first visited Testbed1 the raw aesthetic immediately made us think of Berlin in the 1980's. The space is big and we've designed the show as a promenade experience with lots of things happening around you, to give a sense of the bustle of the city.
We asked Jess Hamilton of Imagem Music to draw up a list of interesting music from Berlin in the 1980's. Then we started working with musician Ollie Pash to pick out certain songs from which we've built the overall soundscape.
AR: Why did you chose to use choreography and promenade performance in this piece? Is that a regular feature in your work?
JH: Testbed1 is big and has lots of interesting features and the promenade journey allows us to use the full range of the space. The work of the cast is more like 'organised movement' rather than choreography. I like promenade experiences but its not a regular feature of my work, it just depends on the space you're working in.
AR: Although set in the past, do you think the story will have resonance for modern day audiences?
JH: Yes, because its human behaviour and basic human needs and fears don't change that much even if historical circumstances do.
AR: Who would be in your dream cast, if money was no object?
JH: I don't really have any desire to work with 'big name' actors. I just like actors who are good and nice to work with.
AR: Where else would you like to stage a performance?
JH: Pericles in a flooded Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern
AR: What else have you got lined up for 2013?
JH: Teaching the MA Course at East 15 Acting School then I'm going to the U.S. for 3 weeks to do a research project on the similarities between games and drama, as part of a Churchill Trust Travelling Fellowship.
Heaven in Berlin, TestBed1, Parkgate Road, Battersea, September 25-October 30, tickets £16-£14.50, doors 7.30pm, visit www.hobotheatre.co.uk or call 020 7223 2223
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