Christoph Gosepath – Doctor and Director

Christoph Gosepath – Doctor and Director

Invitation to the theatre, to a particular place. Turkish shops, fruits and vegetables nicely decorated. All tables and chairs in front of the restaurant occupied at this mild summer night. Peaceful living together of Kreuzberg people from Turkey, from Swabia and other German countries. A lot of young folk, lightly dressed, headscarf wearers as well. A Theater at this place? Read the directions again: “Kottbusser Tor, Neues Zentrum Kreuzberg, Galerie 1st floor, entrance through external at Adalbertstraße 96”

Finally arrived. A prosaic studio with pillars of concrete and “technical” ceiling, otherwise mostly used by performances of the “Fourth World”. At the entrance the audience is welcomed by the boss itself, by the director and principal author of the “multimedia performance” entitled “paradise Caribbean“. Many of the spectators he knows personally. They are members of „club tipping point“ for artists of all kinds which he has co-founded in 2007 and whose artistic director he is. Who is “HE”? And what is a journalist of BERLINER ÄRZTE doing here?

Director Christoph Gosepath is also a doctor, sometimes both at a time, sometimes alternating. Born in 1961, he got a master’s degree in philosophy and literary studies, followed by another degree in medicine. The fledgling Doctor, however, was neither working in a hospital nor in an office of his own in the 1990ies, but at the theatre exclusively fo seven years: as an assistant director of Robert Wilson at the Berliner Schaubühne, of Peter Stein at the Salzburg festival, of Leander Haussmann at the Schauspielhaus Bochum.

Among the various stagings of his own (Lessing, Sartre, Kroetz as well as projects at home and abroad), some attract attention by their issues: “Sexual Neuroses of our Parents” of Lukas Barfuss and “The Case of Schreber” after the “memorabilities of a mentally ill person“ by the doctor and inventor of the “Schrebergärten” (garden plots). For it was not an accident that they were performed during Goespath’s qualification to become a specialist on psychiatry and psychotherapy, a period quite prolonged due to his theatre work. Most of this qualification he completed in the Protestant Hospital Königin Elisabeth Herzberge, where he afterwards became head of the ward for psychotherapy within the department of psychiatry and psychotherapy – for a short time only, because he needed space – play time – for the theatre, his passion. As a consequence, he became a freelancer: as a psychotherapist in behavioural therapy, as a doctor for shortages at night and at weekends, as a lecturer at the Berliner Akademie für Gesundheit and at the Wannsee-Akademie.

Christoph Gosepath, as a director, discovers many parallels between working with patients and with actors: you have to empathise with every one of them as an individual to lead them to success. Obviously this is what has happened in Kreuzberg. “Paradise Caribbean”? This holiday postcards’ stereotype went astray soon when a couple from the big city went on a cruise.

A Berlin workaholic and his girlfriend who is mad about shoes begin to lose their illusions right on the ship: a storm, sea-sickness. Soon after arrival stolen luggage. Their lodge not at a beach with white sand and palmtrees, but close to the menacing jungle. Bugs, traveller‘s diarrhoea, boredom and plenty of rum. There comes the „black man“, singing, dancing, talking about the natives’ lives, about to tell about his vodoo-father … And that’s the end of the „multimedia-performance“.

This description might sound pretentious, much effect is created by simple and imaginative means, though: in the middle of the room some tables with models of the Berlin bungalow in winter, of the cruise ship, the jungle, and puppets dancing on a turntable, the protagonists as tiny little figures, directed on metal sticks by both human actors.

Together with the whole ambience the puppets are projected onto two screens while performing, the actors’ heads sometimes appearing in large size. Words are rare (the traveller’s diarrhoea, for example, is only indicated by the noises of a subsequent flushing of the toilet), the soundtrack fits to the action with its classical music, jingle bells, Caribbean music and noises of the djungle. – A phantastic overall impresseion. “Approaching the cultural space of the Carribean”, as it was intended, has been successful. But why especially the Caribbean? Because a member of “club tipping point” inherited a cottage on a Caribbean island. And there the club would love to play theatre. A utopia?

(Rosemarie Stein in: Berliner Ärzte, September 9, 2013, p. 34)

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