It‘s mid February 2021 at the time of writing this chapter in the history of Platypus Theater. There’s snow everywhere. Many of Berlin’s lakes and canals are iced over and people are lightheartedly skating on the ice, some are playing hockey, some are even taking a dip. People who don’t trust the ice are riding toboggans down the snow covered hills in one of Berlin’s many parks, throwing snow balls at each other, building snowmen or snow women, or merely walking, enjoying the blue sky and sunshine, the “thrill of the chill” and the sound of snow crunching underfoot. I’m thinking of the famous painting “Hunter in Snow” from Peter Bruegel. The colour white is dominating the Berlin landscape. It’s beautiful, it’s special and it’s a good antidote for the Corona Blues and a good way to lead into the story of the making of the Platypus play “Ach du dickes Ei” which is about two penguins who live in the ice in the South Pole.
1989. Coming up with ideas for original plays is demanding. It’s difficult to devise one original play after another. Having done two original plays, ( Kangaroo and Finkelstein) we decided to adapt a short story into a play. I found “Jean Labadie’s Black Dog” in an anthology of stories which were designed to be told aloud. In the notes at the back of the anthology it said “telling time: 12-15 minutes” and recommended it for the 10+ age group. It was a very old story, handed down orally from generation to generation.
„ If Napoleon hadn't been so tired on 18th October 1813, he might have won the Battle of Leipzig.“ Many events that have decided the course of human history came about by chance and the opposite of something completely different could just as well have happened. Chance is the greatest of all the great powers in the world.“ (Erich Kästner)
I had been in Germany for two years. After finishing a 9 month course in German, I worked as an educator in a small kindergarten with twelve 3-6 year old children. Working on a daily basis with these kids helped me to understand what makes them tick. I was forced to communicate in German. I used to play with animal puppets with the kids, tell them stories and sing songs. I was still struggling with the German language but keen to resume full time acting.
This is a very strange time indeed and even the most talented fortune teller cannot predict how the future will turn out. For Platypus Theater, it's a very difficult situation because it's our job to gather approximately 220 people in one room and have them share the same air for an hour or so. We have to cancel all our planned shows until at least the end of June. As you can imagine it's a huge financial loss.