Outside Inn: by Andreas Jungwirth


59E59 Theaters, New York:  October 1-19, 2008
American Days, sponsored by the Deutsch Amerikanisches Zentrum, Stuttgart:  July 1-5, 2008
Theater Rampe Stuttgart:  September 28 - October 20, 2007
Charity Randall Theatre, Pittsburgh:  September 12-15, 2007

For production photos click here
For production video clips click here
For design development photos click here

click each image for larger view

About the Play

Outside Inn is a murder mystery that leaps across three continents, including present-day Germany, a small town near the Arizona-Mexican border and Namibia (the former German colony). Paul, a disillusioned German civic engineer unintentionally participates in the death of his boss, a Svengali-like tycoon. Rather than going to the police, Paul runs away to a small town in Arizona. With his mistress Marina by his side, he steals the identity of his former boss and flees across the Mexican border. The husband and wife Paul and Marina leave behind must face a future alone and a past that continues to haunt them.

To obtain a copy of the play, please contact Gabriele Schafer at gaby@intlculturelab.org.

About the Project (see also December 08 blog entry)

The University of Pittsburgh, ICL and Theater Rampe Stuttgart commissioned Outside Inn from Berlin-based, Austrian author Andreas Jungwirth as a vehicle to explore cultural difference among the collaborators and their respective countries. The project called for four bilingual actors, two from Theater Rampe and two from International Culture Lab, to perform the play in both languages on both continents. Outside Inn rehearsed and previewed at the University of Pittsburgh in September 2007, where it played two German and three English language performances. It then traveled to Stuttgart, Germany, where it played at Theater Rampe Stuttgart in October 2007, including five performances in English and one mixed language performance. It returned to Stuttgart July 1-5, 2008, as part of the first annual American Days, sponsored by the German American Center "to further improve and intensify the transatlantic dialog," and ran Off-Broadway at 59E59 Theaters in October of 2008.

About the Process

Three features of Outside Inn make this production unique:

  1. The bilingual actors play in English and German. In this production, language becomes a tangible element that drives and shapes character development, rhythm and tone, running time, and actor/audience relationship. Audience members who have seen the same cast play in two languages have commented on how different the characters seem in one language or the other. The actors in the piece have identified differences in the ways their characters respond to the same narrative circumstances, depending upon the language they are using. Rather than minimizing language differences, Outside Inn amplifies and examines the role language can play in shaping who we are and how we respond to the world around us.
  2. Outside Inn provides a forum for examining differences in theatrical performance style between the United States, Germany and Austria. German-language theater is currently dominated by the director’s vision (Regietheater) which shapes (and can even distort) every element of production. In Regietheater, the story and the actors who tell it become secondary theatrical elements while the director’s vision and concept play the starring role. In American theater, the playwright and his/her words tend to get first consideration in mounting a play. In Germany/Austria, contemporary theater tends toward distancing the audience from an emotional experience of the play. In America, the dominant theatrical style still tends towards emotional realism, where the audience’s experience of the story and their connection to the actors hold the greatest value. Brecht meets Reinhardt meets Strasberg. Andreas Jungwirth has written the play with a deliberate combination of writing styles. Director Melanie Dreyer’s challenge is finding the nexus of these value systems.
  3. The process of producing Outside Inn is being recorded by documentary filmmakers. This project, with its meeting of two cultures, two ways of doing things, promises unexpected insights and discoveries throughout. Many of the most interesting events occur outside of the performances themselves. In anticipation of this, videographers Christopher Maxwell and James Wong are documenting all aspects of the project from auditions through the final performance. This will allow the artists to share with the audience moments in their experiences together that may not be evident in performances. It will also provide a blueprint for future work of a similar nature.

New York Production Team

Cast: Roger Grunwald*, Markus Hirnigel, Jenny Lee Mitchell*, Karen Sieber*
Dramaturgy: Nick Fracaro
Stage Management: Karin Anderson
Scenic Design:  Stephanie Mayer-Staley
Costume Design:  Pei-Chi Su
Lighting Design:  Ed Intemann
Media Design: Austin Guest
Sound Design:  Nicholas Crano
Production Management: Vadim Malinskiy
Production Assistants: Theodora Loukas, Krista Parsons

Principal Originating Production Team

Project conception and idea development:  Stephan Bruckmeier and Melanie Dreyer
Playwright:  Andreas Jungwirth
Director:  Melanie Dreyer
Translator:  Gabriele Schafer
Dramaturgy:  Stephan Bruckmeier
Stage Management:  Ashley J Martin*
Cast:  Stephan Bruckmeier (DE), Roger Grunwald* (USA), Gabriele Schafer* (USA), Petra Weimer (DE)
Scenic Design:  Stephanie Mayer-Staley
Costume Design:  Pei-Chi Su
Lighting Design:  Erick Leininger
Sound Design:  Nicholas Crano
Properties:  Ryan Howe
Graphic Design:  Nancy Young
Dialect/Voice Coaching:  Janet Madelle Feindel
Video Design and Documentary:  Christopher Maxwell and James Wong

* Members, Actors' Equity Association