Le Pustra’s Kabarett der Namenlosen (Cabaret of the Nameless) is an immersive theatrical production and contemporary interpretation of the scandalous 1920’s in Berlin. The show is staged at the historical Ballhaus Berlin in Mitte and conceived by International performer, Le Pustra.
In Kabarett der Namenlosen, Le Pustra reimagines the Weimar Republic Cabaret Culture through his own unique point of view. The show explores the sexual and artistic freedom enjoyed during those years and the aim of the production is to recapture the exhilarating Zeitgeist of the 1920’s. This celebrated period in Berlin still fascinates us today and is more popular than ever with tourists, bohemians, artists and historians visiting from far and wide in search of that illusive but well documented “divine decadence”.
Le Pustra says “I want to offer our audiences a voyeuristic glimpse into the surreal world of smoky late night “Nachtlokals” of the fabled Golden Twenties where you might meet Anita Berber and Sebastian Droste. Anything was possible and everything was available.”
The story of Kabarett der Namenlosen consists of various intertwining “flashbacks” from the past as told by its enigmatic and often menacing conférencier, Le Pustra and the performers who frequent the Kabarett. The show starts in 1933 when the Nazis started closing the Cabarets and gay venues in Berlin which led to many artists leaving Berlin. The show is set in historical context but from the view of point of the Kabarett's habituées . Various characters appear throughout the evening in short vignettes, comedy turns and poignant performances. The intimate Ballhaus Berlin provides the surreal mise-en-scène and the audiences are invited to enter a "smoky hallucination of sex, art, beauty and to dance the night away with The Beautiful and The Damned."
Kabarett der Namenlosen includes selected music from Frederick Hollander, Kurt Weill, Rudolph Nelson, Mischa Spoliansky, Willy Rosen, Noël Coward and Bertolt Brecht.
Kabarett’s artistic director and creator is the iridescent Le Pustra, a celebrated International performer, bon vivant and muse. His unique theatrical vision evokes a decadent dreamlike world of whimsy, beauty and melancholia. He has appeared in publications such as Vogue, i-D Magazine and Vanity Fair.
In Le Pustra's own words/background:
Whilst visiting Berlin in 2012, I discovered the Kabarett der Namenlosen (Cabaret of the Nameless) and was instantly intrigued by the title alone. Originally created by Jewish Conférencier, Eric ‘Elow’ Lowinsky’ in 1926, Kabarett der Namenlosen was infamous for presenting only the worst possible talent, in order to satisfy the perverted pleasures of a cruel audience.
The Cabaret was very successful and popular at the time. But i wanted to offer something dreamier and poetic by fusing some of my influences such as Fashion, Cinema and Theatre. I had no idea what would happen and how people would respond. I was TERRIFIED of failure. So i began my research into the dark and dirty 1920’s in Berlin and found so much material: beautiful music and interesting characters/cabarets and facts. Most people have only one idea of “Weimar Berlin” which usually includes Liza Minnelli in ‘Cabaret’ or Marlene Dietrich in ’Der Blaue Engel’. I wanted to offer something new, something exciting and something that represents me as an artist.
Teri Darnell’s photography series is influenced by the works of Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, Rembrandt, and Georges de La Tour.
La Tour, a French painter of the 17th century, composed startling geometric simplifications of the human form, and created theatrical interior scenes lit only by the glare of candles. Like these painters, her images focus on dramatic situations and subjects, and a high contrast of light and dark (chiaroscuro).
Kabarett Der Namenlosen is not about the glorification of the 1920’s, but about the dream, the excess, and the intoxication which one would like to surrender to today, with all its consequences, without thinking of the morning.
One hundred years ago, cabarets began to flourish in Berlin, and performances included political satires. In the 1920’s, Nazi power repressed this intellectual criticism. Performers were imprisoned and murdered in concentration camps. While in the camps, the artists continued having cabarets to lift everyone’s spirits until they were executed.
The music in the video, Das Lila Lied (The Lavender Song) was written by the cabaret composer Mischa Spoliansky (under the pseudonym of Arno Billing), and songwriter Kurt Schwabach in 1920. It is now considered to be the first ever Gay Rights anthem. This first version of the song is from the Marek Weber Orchestra from 1921.