(Photo credits: Entity Theatre Facebook page)
Trying to find one's way when moving to a big city can be difficult, so I was grateful for the invitation from some American friends to an evening of English language theatre, two one-act plays from Pilot's Thumb Theatre called Inner Chimp and Eddie.
I decided not to look into the plays before I arrived and followed instructions to meet my friends at the PEP Centre in Neuperlach Zentrum for a bite to eat before the show.
What I had not expected was the very peculiar entrance to the theatre - through a Starbucks cafe and then down some stairs to a rather delightful and seemingly very well equipped little basement theatre called the Pepper Theater, which was run by a very agreeable bunch of people. And it was full! There were even one or two familiar faces from the time when I last lived in Munich in 1990, and most of those faces had aged better than I had.
According to the very informative literature, Pilot's Thumb Theatre was founded in 2010 by Beth Scott Hewlett (right) and Cassie Williamson (left in the photo above), as an outlet for their love of theatre and expression of personal issues through drama. They were joined shortly afterward by Danny Strike (above, middle) as a writer and director, and, subsequently, actor. Danny is also the co-founder of Entity Theatre in Munich (visit their website here). Pilot's Thumb is known for its complex characters, compelling narratives, pithy humour, and stimulating debate and discussion on topical issues. The name 'pilot's thumb' is an expression of hope and adventure, reflecting the thumbs-up symbol used by pilots, particularly during World War I.
The first play was called Inner Chimp, and saw the girls perform an extraordinary number of roles and personalities in fast moving sequences through a sleeepless night. The plot:
The term 'inner chimp' originates in Buddhism and is widely used today in sports psychology. It refers to the part of the mind that is wild and difficult to control.
Meet Charlie. All she wants is a good night's sleep. But Chimp is having none of it. Fantasy follows fantasy as Charlie is swept up in her Chimp-inspired knockabout romp through a hen party, haunted room, drug smuggling, and finally a spy ring. Staying in a hotel room may never be the same again!
After a short break for refreshments, it was time for the second play, Eddie, whose main character was played by Danny Strike. It did not take long for me to work out that Danny is something of a Munich legend for his work with Entity Theatre and elsewhere, and his performance as a troubled bigamist was spell-binding. I could have listened to his woes for hours. The plot:
Then there's the unforgettable and incorrigible Eddie - compulsive gambler, boozer, ex-boxer, accidental bigamist. Follow him as he stumbles from one misadventure into another. But nothing's ever really his fault! Once you've seen the world through Eddie's eyes, who knows? You might start embracing as ordinary the outrageous, chaotic and unpredictable!
A really nice double bill and an excellent evening, made all the more remarkable as it emerged after the show that Beth and Cassie had been collected from the airport at 16:00 (with the show starting at 20:00) and had been rehearsing without anything to eat right up until the show began. Their performance was flawless.
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Coming soon at Entity Theatre: The Memory of Water by Shelagh Stephenson, 20:00 at Pepper Theatre in Neuperlach - April 15-17 and 23-25.