Peter Rose
Berlin Zoo

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On November 12th, 1989, the critically acclaimed Los Angeles run of Peter Rose's Berlin Zoo closed at The Powerhouse Theater in Santa Monica. On the same week- End, across the Atlantic, the Iron Curtain opened in Berlin. Coincidentally, or perhaps Prophetically, part of Peter's fantasy in Berlin Zoo had become reality. In fact, maybe His play played a small part in the wall coming down, who knows. "What is now true was once only imagined," as William Blake wrote.

Debuting in New York in 1983 and playing around the country and in Europe since then, Berlin Zoo details the manic escapades and wild fantasies of a moody young American Jew In West Berlin in 1980. One of the wildest fantasies this Dostoyevskian underground man has, at least at that time, is the crumbling of The Berlin Wall and the unification of the city. This was of course, before the wall came down, surprising everyone.

The play's timelessness is only part of why it is of interest, however. There is a powerful, highly inventive performance at ist center, a poetic text, and a theme that is not bound to a particular time or place. Jan Breslauer wrote for the LA WEEKLY: Peter Rose's Berlin Zoo succeeds at meshing the personal with the political. His is an athletic solo born of inner turmoil, less one man's journey than a meditation on the role of boundaries and limitations in all our lives."

Berlin Zoo is a work about meetings: elephant and man, artist and criminal, actor and Jail cell, doves and the Glass Dome, imagination and reality, self and other, God and man. Set in the street of West Berlin in 1980, a young actor searches for a place to perform and sleep.

Ein kämpferischer Monolog über seine Zeit in Berlin. Ein Mischung aus unnachgiebiger Neugier und gewolltem Außenseitertum. Nach seinem Rausschmiß aus einem Theater, in dem er spielen wollte- seine Requisiten Mißfielen dort- sucht er einen Platz zum Schlafen. Er erzählt von dieser Suche, von seiner Zeit mit dem Zirkus, den Übernachtungen bei der Heilsarmee, seinem kurzen Gefängnisaufenthalt, der Hausbesetzerszene. Er schlug dort stäandig mit dem Kopf gegen die Mauer - ähnlich wir Dostojewskis "Idiot" Der allein wußste, was gut war.

"Berlin Zoo" Institute for Contemporary Art  La Jolla,
California, 1986


1983 Franklin Furnace, New York City
1983 Performance Space 122, New York City
1985 Alte Oper Frankfurt
1985 Alabama Halle Munich
1985 New Cultural Center Hannover
1985 Thalia Theater Hamburg
1985 Metropol Theater Berlin
1986 Theater in der Garage Erlangen
1986 Institute of Contemporary Art, La Jolla, California
1986 Performance Space 122, New York
1989 Highways Performance Space Santa Monica, CA The Powerhouse Theatre, Venice, CA The Rose Theatre, Venice, CA

play text

... please download pdf-Version: Berlin-Zoo.pdf (80 kB)


Performance - "Berlin Zoo" by Peter Rose
Performance Space 122 First Avenue, NYC
By Sally Banes The Village Voice April 5, 1983

UP AGAINST THE BERLIN WALL, by Jan Breslauer, Los Angeles Weekly, July, 1989
Berlin Diary: Peter Rose tells his own zoo story

VARIETY MAGAZINE, Friday, August 13, 1989 Los Angeles, California

"Peter Rose Hits the Wall with "Berlin Zoo" by Jan Breslauer
The Los Angeles Times Tuesday July 4th, 1989



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