Monday, March 10, 2008


Our German theater trip was excellent. Although different, I really enjoyed the variety of German theater we saw. It is clearly very different for Americans to go to the theater there than native Germans and it was interesting trying to figure out how we were supposed to act and think in response to a piece. Some shows here require the audience to reflect, but in Germany, every show requires that. Everyday provided a fun new experience and I truly felt like I was on vacation, but still being productive. It was also nice to spend the time with people my age and to forge experiences together. I was worried in going back to Germany ( I lived there for a year) that my warm feelings for the country would have changed. But nothing has. It is still my second home and a completely natural environment.

I can't imagine having done less on the trip. I've learned so much by going to Dachau, other museums, wandering around, and even the Alps, that I can't imagine not being able to have gone!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Well, I too am starting to get over jet-lag, although judging from my sleep schedule last night, I think I am still about an hour displaced. Coming back at least lets you get up early for classes. Anyway, what a great trip! It's a bit of a pain being back here now. For about the first day or so it was really hard to speak in English, which was kinda fun, to be honest. For the last week, English had been something that I only slipped into when I didn't want to deal with the problems of speaking in German. With Germans I almost always spoke German, and Ian and I usually did too. This was an important trip for me because I really had to force myself to get into things to get around. It is very intensive. This is the first time I have truly had to navigate for myself in another country. Before, I was always either with a native speaker or looking for English speaking people. In Germany, I had only taken the subway alone once, and I immediately got lost. So forcing myself (or having Janet force me) to get into situations like that has been very good for me. And the theater was amazing. I seem to remember that some of it was up and down, but it is of course the really good ones that stick out in my memory. I particularly remember going to the ballet Der Sturm on the last night. It was fantastic. I had standing seats and have never been into ballet, but this one definitely kept my attention. It was fascinating and beautiful. It was for that kind of experience that I am most grateful for my chance to go.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

It's over, and that's sad. . .

I feel like I'm conquering the jet lag (It's always worse for me coming back home than it is going to Germany.)  We had such a nice trip--this group was a fantastic bunch of troupers.  Nobody complained, nobody got really sick, everyone was helpful!  We saw lots of theater, had a tour of part of Munich, and took excursions to a concentration camp one day and the alps the next.  I believe that this type of intense, focused immersion is one of the best ways to learn.  Through the provocation of theater (and the frequent reminders of the many sides of human nature--ranging from destructive to exploitive, to generous, kind, and good) and through the direct experiencing of a range of emotions, I find myself reflecting and renewing, and I feel reinvigorated.  For me the culture shock is always coming back--hearing people talking (and frequently complaining) at the airport here, experiencing the banality of so many interactions, and overhearing  cell phone conversations that I am trying to block out.  Europe for me is always a sort of refuge from the things that wear me out in daily life--a place where I can sort out some of my priorities, remember why some things are so important to me, and gain perspective on the hectic nature of life in the US.  Despite the constant running around and dashing to catch transportation or get a ticket, I always feel somewhat relaxed in Europe.  The pace there is a little slower.  I can choose to be impatient when waiting in line or waiting for a long red light to change, or I can accept that those times are times to slow down and stop the constant rushing.  It's always nice in Europe to take time for a cup of coffee and have a quiet conversation in a cafe, or to take time to read program notes in a quiet theater before a show starts.  This trip in the middle of the semester always provides a context for understanding and reminding myself how important it is to me to be multi-lingual, to feel as though I really fit in in more than one setting, to know that I can live happily elsewhere, and to know that I can communicate with people whose history and experience are different from my own.  I already miss Germany and am glad for the memories of this trip.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Blue skies! Lack of coats being worn!

I thought I'd post some photos...too bad we don't have pictures from the plays, that would be really cool. However, I do have a LOT of pictures that display how incredible the weather was in Munich and how happy we were to be there!

On Sunday, Feb. 24th, we intended to take advantage of reduced museum fees...but the weather was so incredible, Maraia and I really didn't want to. We came out of the S-Bahn at Königsplatz and saw all these people hanging out outside of the Glyptothek. We decided to take a walk to find the Pinokotheken and enjoy the blue skies and warm air...although blue skies had actually been frequent in Ann Arbor lately, they had come along with looooow temperatures. At the Alte Pinokothek, we saw people lying on the lawn not only shirtless—some looked suspiciously pantless.

We did go inside the Alte Pinokothek and saw the paintings in one half of the building before we felt we needed to return to the outdoors. I was excited to see Albrecht Dürer's self-portrait and Albrecht Altdorfer's Alexanderschlacht, both of which we had discussed in our German class on the Middle Ages.

Later on Sunday we ran into Drew and Ian at Odeonsplatz and walked around outside the king's Residenz a little before meeting the group at the Residenz Theater for a matinée of Brecht's Im Dickicht der Städte.

Tuesday after seeing the children's opera Der Mann im Mond, Emily, Helen, Maraia and I visited the Englischer Garten and had a picnic lunch. It was a good way to relax after walking so much every day.

The weather really helped make the trip enjoyable and contributed to a very positive attitude toward everything. And it was nice that our February "spring" break actually felt like spring!


Verbrennungen, which we saw on the first night, started out as my favorite play and it remained my favorite play throughout the trip. I don't know if it was because it was the first one I saw, which made it that much more exciting, if it was the plot (which I managed to follow quite well, a little to my surprise), if it was the actors, or if it was a combination of all those factors. Either way, I'm very glad that Janet bought us all tickets.
Some things that stuck out to me were the music, the spit that flew out of the actors' mouths (I know Janet always tells us that, but it was different actually seeing it), and the intense expressions on the actors' faces (particularly the daughter, who very effectively showed her character's sorrow). I also liked it when the actors drew on the set, because I had never seen anything like that before. The show was quite different from the few plays I have seen in the United States. The set and costumes were minimal, where as shows in the US are often needlessly elaborate. I found this to be quite nice, because it helped to emphasize what was actually happening in the play, rather than distracting the audience. If anyone happens to be in Munich, I would highly recommend seeing this play.

Monday, March 3, 2008

It's time to face reality...

Sadly, all good things must come to an end! Our trip to Munich this year was incredibly successful and I am confident that everyone had a great time! As anticipated, theater was abundant and all of it was worth our while. We saw great acting, amazing diction, wonderfully abstract (yet beautiful) sets...the list goes on! The museums were another highlight of this trip - in particular, the Glyptothek, where we saw gorgeous Greek and Roman sculpture and friezes. The Pinakothek der Moderne was another favorite of mine, housing modern art and installations (including some exhibits with which the guest was expected to interact). Furthermore, for the majority of the trip, the weather was very pleasant! I believe we may have entered the 50's and 60's (and perhaps the 70's on one day) Fahrenheit on more than one occasion! All in all, this experience was a great one and I would like to thank everyone who helped make this possible. This trip was truly unforgettable!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Going into the Alps!

day trip to Garmisch Partenkirchen tomorrow.  we'll TRY to post more. . .

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

How to add audio video using Hipcast

Log into the Hipcast website and click the AUDIO or VIDEO tabs and record your post. Don't forget the PUBLISH step at the very end. Could take a few minutes if you have a long file. SEE HELP section of website or click here to download instructions on recording audio and video to the blog using Hipcast website. You can also phone in a post (214) 615-6431 to your blog #1000. SEE Janet for PIN.

Almost half over!

By tonight our trip will be half over!  We've been so busy that there's been no time to
blog.  We have lots of pictures, but I'm the only one with computer access (small glitch!).
Wish we had a fancy phone to send in lots of stuff to the blog.  Anyhow, we are about to
go to the Gartnerplatz opera house to see "Der Mann im Mond" (The Man in the Moon).
These are tickets I'm paying for through calendar sales, so thanks to all who purchased
a lovely vintage U-M calendar from us (and thanks to Pete Shin who makes them).  We
are having a really great time.  The students are soaking up everything.  We had seen 4 plays
by Sunday night.  Kristin wins the stamina award.  She saw three art museums, went to a 
play and followed that up with a 4 hour opera on Sunday!  I'm having a little trouble posting
photos, but will try to figure out why if I ever get a chance.  We had a small side tour yesterday
about some of the architecture in the city and today after our opera, some are going to JYM
to hear a talk about Berlin.  This was an add-on to the schedule!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Saturday, February 23, 2008

A good time

It's taken two days to get to a computer.  We all saw our first performance last night--
Verbrennungen.  The set was great, the acting, as well.  Today the group learned about
Munich from Hans-Peter Söder, director of the Jr. Year in Munich program, who treated
us to a great lunch at Augustiner Keller, after which we went our own ways for a few hours.
Several of us ate at Alter Simpl (YUM!), then went to the Schauburg Youth Theater where
we saw an excellent performance of Eine Odyssee, while others were hoping to get tickets
to their first show at the Kammerspiele:  Familie Schroffenstein.  Tomorrow, it's reduced
rate for entries to museums and we're all seeing Brecht's early play: Im Dickicht der Städte
at the Residenz Theater in the afternoon.  Then some people will go to the other, and some
will go to see "Hass" at the Kammerspiele.  

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Today's the day

Drew and Ian have arrived! I heard from them this morning. They are probably sleeping by now. NOT! The rest of us leave today. Gute Reise!!!

Expectations for München!

I expect Munich: to be a lot of fun, to be full of German-speaking people, probably to involve rain, and to have lots of fascinating plays in German. I don't actually have a lot of expectations; I've never been to Germany before and haven't been able to/had time to imagine it very well. It's hard to wrap my head around the fact that I will be in Germany on Friday—which is tomorrow, a slightly unfortunate fact, seeing as Thursday is now today and I still haven't gone to bed.

But with all my homework now completed—and hopefully my dishes, too, before German Readings tomorrow—I will be able to leave Ann Arbor and school behind, get on the plane, and have a completely open, relaxed, and ridiculously excited mind for everything in Munich.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

German food...specifically chocolate!

Well, I'm up after studying for an exam tomorrow, and visions of german sweets are dancing in my Marzipan, Apfelstrudel, and Schokolade!

I'm looking forward to all of the food in Munich basically. Especially the weiss bratwurst mit semmel in the take-away delis, the sauerkraut, rotkohl, spaetzle, and pretty much anything on the menu at Andechs.

One of the many rewards of traveling with Janet, is that she knows the best places to eat in town and the best thing to order on each menu! :)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Brecht in Munich

While in Munich I plan on seeing two shows by Brecht: "Im Dickicht der Staedte" at the Residenz and "Der Gute Mensch von Sezuan" (not sure if I spelled that right) at Kleines Spiel. After working with some Lehrstuck text in DT class and seeing Brecht's "Caucasian Chalk Circle" presented by the UM Musical Theater Department this past weekend, I am very anxious to compare and contrast how Brecht's works are interpreted and presented differently by various theater ensembles. Four plays by Brecht are being performed the week we are in Munich. I think this proves how great of an impact he had on german theater, and how he continues to impact theater audiences today in Germany and all over the world, including the University of Michigan campus.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

München (I mog di!)

I believe it was the famous author (and famous Münchner, too!) Thomas Mann who once proclaimed "München hat mich." And I, for one, am taken with this fascinating Bavarian city. Once bitten by the "bug," you are infected for life. It was in the summer of 2005 that I first succumbed and I have yet to satisfy the itch generated that July. Munich is a magnificent and lively city - one with a rich culture and an even more remarkable history. I have surrendered myself to the city and have been infinitely rewarded by the aesthetic and civil beauty and grace inherent to Munich. I am thrilled and quite eager to return to an environment which I find inspiring and which, for me, only appreciates in value upon each subsequent visit. Munich has a hold of me - and I am glad that she does!

I have also been to Germany several times (the first time convincing me to learn German), but I am expecting this to be a much different experience. The only other time I was in Munich, I stayed for 2 days, both of which were spent wandering aimlessly through the streets and desperately trying to order food. I loved every minute of it, but I will understand everything much more now. It has only been in the last two semesters with Janet that I have been getting an appreciation for theater (not to mention a passing familiarity with the German language). I am very excited. Enough so that I believe I will be taking benadryl for the next few nights, because I can't afford this inability to sleep while I am trying to kick my cold.

Saturday, February 16, 2008


One of our options at the Kammerspiele, Haß, is based on a film by that title. I'm trying to link to a scene from it on Youtube.

Löwen in München

Löwen bringen Glück.  More about this on the web at

Friday, February 15, 2008


Although I have already been to München twice, this will be a completely new experience. The last time I was in Germany, I knew next to nothing about German theater, and even if I had seen a play, I probably wouldn't have appreciated it as much as I will now. I am very excited to finally have the opportunity to see an approach to theater that is quite different to that in the United States. We have talked a lot about German theater, but actually seeing it performed is a completely different experience. I hope to be able to understand as much German as possible while I'm watching the plays and to learn useful or interesting phrases. I also hope to learn from the many actors I will watch, so that I can get new ideas and improve my own acting.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Mama Medea in Muenchen

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Wait, is that water covering the stage?

Alright, I admit I don't study theater, but I have seen a lot of plays, both in the states and in Munich, and I believe the shows here will open your eyes to a new level of possibilities in set design. Things can really get over the top, especially at the opera house. I went on this trip last year (and it was amazing), and when I saw plays and operas sometimes I accidentally stopped paying attention to the actors because the set was so interesting (and sometimes just plain weird. A wall of mirrors and a toilet as a set? Huh?).
There are traditional sets as well, of course, but the crazy ones really make my day.
So yes. Weird things! Awesome things!

Oh, and here's a picture from the inside of the opera house (where I guess you're not supposed to take pictures? Whoops):

I took this from my fifth-balcony nosebleed seat. But you know what? No matter where you sit in this place, you feel kinda fancy.

-Brianne (that girl who's in Munich right now)

Sunday, February 10, 2008


We will be seeing a wide variety of theater/performances while we're in Germany. I hope to be able to start understand the German approach to bringing drama to the public and how they interpret texts. My understanding is that the first thought on how to perform a piece or the traditional performance are not necessarily the only possibilities. Thinking outside the box and manipulating certain elements can emphasize parts of a show that a viewer previously had not seen or otherwise may not have noticed. (if this was the first time seeing a particular show) I want to be able to bring back some of my observations and put them into practice too. Simply being in Germany will allow me to immerse myself in the environment in which the pieces were originally written and sometimes performed. Germany will hopefully provide a natural setting for the texts, as opposed to me reading it in my room, removed from everything.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

was und wo ich gern esse

Fleischpflanzerl at Andechser am Dom, Spinatspätzle mit Rahmsoße at Weisses Bräuhaus, anything at Alter Simpl... more later...

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Bowie does BAAL

Now you can compare Bowie's performance with the one in Munich.


This is a blog for our trip to Munich. We'll post our impressions of plays along with photos of the city here for our friends to see.