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Sabine Rieck Speaks To Prost Amerika


     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 before?

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 way?

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 about it.

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 orders?

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 Paris.

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.



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