Note from January 2020: This is a short post I wrote in 2015, after discovering that a full video of Rimini Protokoll’s production Black Tie (from 2008) is available online in 2013. All a long time ago… Assuming that this post was already published, I tried to link to it recently but found that it had been hibernating as a draft for some years. So I removed rotten links and put the post online, finally. I’ll try to check other drafts like this one occasionally and publish those that appear relevant. By the way, not only this one but many other videos of Rimini Protokoll’s productions are available online, too!
Within the highly diverse corpus of works by German theatre collective Rimini Protokoll, Black Tie holds a unique position. For most of their pieces “experts of the everyday” (Experten des Alltags), persons without acting training whose professional occupation (or, in some cases, private interests) relate to the respective theme of the piece: Three concierges in Torero Portero (2001/2003); a lay judge, a lawyer, a courtroom attendant, a “trial spotter” and others in Zeugen (2004); and a funeral speaker, a stone mason, a corpse washer, a funeral musician and others in Deadline (2003).
In Black Tie (2008), in contrast, the members of Rimini Protokoll hand over almost all artistic control to a single person, Miriam Yung Min Stein, the author, director, and protagonist of this highly personal piece. (Helgard Haug and Daniel Wetzel, two of the three members of Rimini Protokoll, are listed as authors of the play and stage direction, though, so maybe things are not like they seem…) Miriam Stein was born in Korea, adopted by a German couple as a child, and later, in her twenties, returned to her unknown home country in search of roots.
Throughout the piece, Stein talks about her life, presents “pieces of evidence”, and tells and re-enacts some key episodes to reflect on them, with the support of co-performer Hye-Jin Choi and musician Ludwig. I saw the premiere of Black Tie in 2008, at the Hebbel am Ufer in Berlin, and wrote a review for OhmyNews.
I was happy to find out that the full piece is available as a video with English subtitles at Vimeo. If you have one hour to spare, have a look!
See a review by Tara Forrest in RealTime. You also find a review (in German) by Elena Philipp plus a summary of German press reactions at nachtkritik.de. For an interesting take on the cultural meaning of the tie (whether black or not), see this enlightening article from The Baffler by David Graeber.
– 11 Dec. 2008 (木)
- Rimini Protokoll, Black Tie, with Miriam Yung Min Stein, Hye-Jin Choi and Ludwig, book and stage direction: Helgard Haug and Daniel Wetzel, co-author: Miriam Yung Min Stein, Hebbel am Ufer (HAU 3), 2008–12–11 (Thu.), 8–9.20 pm.