Back to Back Theatre / Bruce Gladwin

Ganesh Versus the Third Reich


100 minutes

The story begins with the elephant-headed god Ganesh traveling through Nazi Germany to reclaim the Swastika, an ancient Hindu symbol. As this intrepid hero embarks on his journey a second narrative is revealed: the actors themselves begin to feel the weighty responsibility of storytellers and question the ethics of cultural appropriation.This fantastical story was conceived by Back to Back Theatre, who were founded in Geelong, Australia in 1987. As people with disabilities, the actors would not have survived the Nazi regime. Cleverly interwoven in the play's design is the story of a young man inspired to create a play about Ganesh, god of overcoming obstacles. He is an everyman who must find the strength to overcome the difficulties in his own life, and defend his play and his collaborators against an overbearing colleague.The actors, who speak German in parts of the play, and who were integral in its development; make jokes about the Nazis and argue over how to divide the play's roles "You get to play Hitler. I want to play a Jew". Ganesh Versus the Third Reich is poignant, heart warming, beautiful, disarming, full of vulnerability and sly transparency. It is the 'making of' a Holocaust fairytale, and a panopticon of unsettling questions about power. Ganesh Versus the Third Reich is made before our very eyes and takes on its own life. It explores our complicity in creating and dismantling the world, human possibility and hope.

Production: Back to Back Theatre. With the support of: Australia Council for the Arts, Arts Victoria, Melbourne Festival, Malthouse Theatre, City of Melbourne, Sidney Myer Fund, Keir Foundation, 2009 Kit Denton Fellowship, the National Theatre Studio (London).


Director:: Bruce Gladwin (Back to Back Theatre) / With:: Mark Deans, Simon Laherty, Scott Price, Brian Tilley, David Woods / Concept:: Mark Deans, Marcia Ferguson, Bruce Gladwin, Nicki Holland, Simon Laherty, Sarah Mainwaring, Scott Price, Kate Sulan, Brian Tilley, David Woods / Costumes:: Shio Otani / Light Design:: Andrew Livingston, Bluebottle / Composition:: Jóhann Jóhannsson / Set Design and Construction:: Mark Cuthbertson / Design and Animation:: Rhian Hinkley / Make-up:: Sam Jinks, Paul Smits / Translation:: Karen Witthuhn, Greg Bailey / Script Consultant:: Melissa Reeves / Script Development Collaboration:: Brian Lipson, James Saunders, Sonia Teuben / Set:: Alice Fleming / Collaboration:: Jo Leishman / Sound Engineer:: Marco Cher Gibard


  • Past
    Thu 18.4.2013, 20:00 / HAU1
    Fri 19.4.2013, 20:00 / HAU1
    Sat 20.4.2013, 20:00 / HAU1


Stresemannstr. 29, 10963 Berlin

There are two marked parking spots in front of the building. Access to the Parkett by means of a separate entrance with lift when necessary. Barrier-free restroom facilities are available. Wheelchair users are kindly requested to register their attendance at least one day before the performance. Thank you for your understanding. If you need help, please contact our Ticketing & Service team at +49 (0)30 259004-27 or send us an email to

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