“The Names /שמות” welcomes you on a sensual, musical, literary journey. How can religious or cultural practices and experimental performance enrich each other? From Arnold Schönberg’s opera “Moses und Aron” to traditional Yemenite sounds to Madonna’s “Like A Prayer”, Ariel Efraim Ashbel and friends arrange (pop-)cultural references into a rousing show. Following the traditional Jewish practice of weekly scripture readings, the group takes a passage from the Torah as the basis for a full-length spectacle. A new text by the author Senthuran Varatharajah is brought together with the sound of Studio LABOUR, the voices of the Berlin “Show Choir” and a visually powerful lighting concept by Joseph Wegmann. The result is a new gospel that not only tolerates but celebrates diversity and complexity, renewing the age-old promise of a community that is constantly in the making.
“The Names /שמות” opens a programme cycle to mark the tenth anniversary of Ariel Ashbel and friends. The year 2023 marks 10 years since Ariel Efraim Ashbel and friends first showed their work in Germany with “All white people look the same to me” – and this anniversary will be celebrated with several upcoming occasions at HAU, highlighting the potential of articulating contemporary performance through the lens of Jewish tradition: After starting the year with “The Names/ שמות”, two holiday salons for Purim and Pesach will take place during spring, culminating in a large scale musical-esque, shenanigan-rich Jewish extravaganza in December.