Production / Live stream | The 10 Selected Productions

Show Me A Good Time

by Gob Squad

A Gob Squad production. World premiere co-commissioned and co-produced by HAU Hebbel am Ufer (Berlin) and La Jolla Playhouse Without Walls Series (San Diego). Co-produced by Künstlerhaus Mousonturm (Frankfurt/Main), Schlachthaus Theater Bern, International Summer Festival Kampnagel (Hamburg).

Live stream premiere 20 June 2020 (HAU Hebbel am Ufer, Berlin and La Jolla Playhouse Without Walls Series, San Diego)

Video trailer © Gob Squad

A twelve-hour live performance by the German-British artists’ collective Gob Squad.

After-show talk
on 15 May at 12:00

A performer is standing on the stage of an eerily empty theatre, an abandoned auditorium can be seen behind her*him. But she*he is not alone: Other Gob Squad-performers are connected with her*him via video-link. From noon to midnight, they travel through the city on foot or by car – or sit in a living-room thousands of miles away … In “Show Me A Good Time”, everyday observations give rise to eminent reflections, condensing the passing time into a celebration of the single moment again and again.

Theatertreffen-juror Cornelia Fiedler about the production
Now is the time to persevere. Not in the sense of military drill, of course. It’s more like a commitment to keep going that these seven tottering characters have somehow gotten themselves into. They have landed in an obscure loop and they’re just going to have to deal with it. All of us seem to have gotten ourselves into something like this, one way or another. One year ago, when the pandemic took away large parts of our lives for the foreseeable future and gave us the gift of home office with a big Janus-grin.

Revealing our society‘s mechanisms and abysses by means of taking an amusing detour into the private sphere has been the Gob Squad-method for over 25 years. For the Corona Midsummer’s Night at HAU Hebbel am Ufer, the collective created a congenial marathon performance: “Show Me A Good Time” is a mourning rite for unwanted theatre and a tragi-comic attempt to stick together and stay awake across borders and time zones.

For a total of twelve hours, one performer at a time has to persevere onstage, faced by an empty auditorium – not system-relevant, left to their own devices, alone with a semi-intelligent camera. The rest of the company swarm out and stay in touch via live video. Tasks and locations change according to a strict schedule. Improvisation is the prime directive of this night – with no fear of embarrassment and no safety net – and so nothing will ever be repeated: Not the way Sarah Thom quietly sings “You’ll Never Walk Alone”, all by herself outside the football stadium in Sheffield, the scene of the Hillsborough disaster; not how Sharon Smith lies down in her sleeping child’s bed and imagines their future on our planet with a mixture of sleepy love and guilt; not the way Simon Will cheerfully walks through the eschatological night on his way to an airport that no longer has any purpose – as if he were taking a walk into the past.

At the same time, the performance is a kind of funhouse-mirror of the very self-management strategies that everyone enduring the COVID pandemic uses in an attempt to give some kind of structure to our chewing gum-like days. Ruled by a tight schedule, there are tasks to perform every 15 minutes: on the half hour, collective laughter is dictated; for the full hour, a spectator must have been located in the empty streets of Berlin. In all its humour, the increasing desperation of this quest for an audience has a bitter aftertaste. After all, who can promise for sure that they will make theatre again after the pandemic, or who can promise that they will watch? With “Show Me A Good Time”, Gob Squad have created an intelligent, funny and moving piece of distance theatre for a world where the coordinates of time and space are dissolving.

Artistic Team

Gob SquadConcept and staging
Noam Gorbat, Miles ChalcraftVideo design
Sebastian Bark, Jeff McGrory, Catalina FernandezSound design
Emma CattellCostume design
Max WegnerLighting design and technical management
Christina RungeDramaturgy and production management
Amina NounsSet assistant
Clemens ZollerIntern
Alexandra LauckCommunications / PR
Eva HartmannGob Squad management
Mat HandTour management
Ayla SuverenUK producer

Sean Patten, Tatiana Saphir, Sharon Smith, Berit Stumpf, Sarah Thom, Laura Tonke, Bastian Trost, Simon Will

Supported by Fonds Darstellende Künste with funds from the Minister of State for Culture and the Media. Gob Squad is funded by the Berlin Senate – Department for Culture and Europe.