Sabine Rieck is a delicious
addition to the chaos at Teatro ZinZanni. She has been
astounding audiences with her comic acrobatics since the
early 1980s when she began her career in circus arts with
the German street theatrical group, Otti Complotti. Later,
as a member of the acrobatic duo The Kempowskys, she
appeared with the Tempodrom Children's Circus at the Berlin
750th Anniversary Celebration and at the European Cultural
Capital Berlin Performance, among others.
She later became a founding member of Circus Gosh,
which has toured extensively for the past ten years
throughout Europe in three different productions. In 2003
she directed a circus show in Barcelona; in 2004 she was
with Theatre Strahl in Berlin; in 2005 she toured with the
French circus show Cahincaha and directed a show at the
Battambang circus school in Cambodia. A coach instrumental
in the development of new acts with established circus
performers, Sabine also spent this past summer with two open
air variety shows in Germany.
Prost Amerika: Welcome to Seattle. Have you been here
Sabine Rieck: Yes. Hello everyone. I was here two years ago
and before that four years ago with Teatro Zinzanni in a
show that lasted four months. Unfortunately it was during
the winter. I've heard the summers are really nice though.
Prost Amerika: What differences do you find between San
Francisco and Seattle? Are the audiences different in any
Sabine Rieck: The audiences in Seattle and San Francisco are
quite different. San Francisco has more tourists and is also
more multi-cultural, so they have a less unified
appreciation. Often non English speakers come to the show
who don't understand everything. In Seattle, you feel you
are playing to a more domestic crowd and they are more
appreciative and enthusiastic.
Prost Amerika: What do you do in your spare time here
between rehearsal and performance?
Sabine Rieck: Not very much. Have breakfast, sometimes go
for walks, call home, read the papers, yoga - yeah that's
Prost Amerika: You performed in West Berlin while the
Berlin Wall held its population prisoner, what difference
does performing in a walled in city make?
Sabine Rieck: In West Berlin, the population weren't really
imprisoned, quite the contrary. We could come and go
whenever we wanted and had a really special status in
Germany. I enjoyed my time there very much since many
artists come from Berlin and it has a great culture and
sub-culture to offer.
Prost Amerika: You play a bossy uniformed security guard
in Rosa de Rio, tell us a little about the character.
Sabine Rieck: My character is a woman who dresses as a man
to do the job as a security guard. Albert (or Alberta) takes
his job very seriously, overreacts, abuses his authority to
look in strangers' pockets, snoops about to see what's going
on, and acts macho. It's a parody of authority, that seeks
to control everything even when it's not really working.
Prost Amerika: Do you have any reservations about
perpetuating the stereotype of Germans in uniform giving
Sabine Rieck: I am German and play a security guard. Many
people might see that as a Nazi, but I don't want to play it
like that. There are a variety of authority figures in
America too (eg homeland security, in Asia and in Europe. I
don't worry about confronting the past and poking fun at it.
Prost Amerika: Your act is a combination of clowning and
acrobatics; does each necessitate a different mindset and
how do you switch from one to the other during a show?
Sabine Rieck: My act is a relatively new one for me, so I am
still trying things out, and changing things. Firstly,
there's the technical training for the routine's trickery,
and then the same to rehearse my character. The body
language for the two parts is very different. On the stage,
I quietly instruct myself with little commands such as
"Concentrate and don't fool around."
Prost Amerika: You also play the accordion but that is
missing from the show. How do we persuade the management to
let you play a little? It reminds us Europeans so much of
Sabine Rieck: I don't think that I'm doing that in this
show. You'll have to wait till the next one.
Prost Amerika: In Rosa de Rio apart form yourself, what
is your favourite part of the show and why?
Sabine Rieck: Hmm, difficult to say because there are things
I don't ever see because I am warming up or changing
clothes. I enjoy watching Cesar because he does something
different every night and he's just full of surprises.