Der Palast – A Dance Competition About Gentrification

photos: Vismante Ruzgaite, GIFs: Frank R. Schröder. 

Finding a nice apartment in Berlin has become a serious hustle. You have to compete with lots of other people for a little one-bedroom apartment for 800 Euros in Wedding – if you are lucky. All these other people have better jobs, more savings and a much more stable personality than you in stress situations. But imagine that instead of having to prove your financial security you would need to partake in a dance competition in front of your landlord to get your dream apartment in Berlin?

In the newest piece by Costanza Macras “Der Palast” that premiered earlier this month at Volksbühne this absurd scenario becomes a reality. Several couples compete in a reality show competition that reminded me of Dancing with the Stars. Of course, the whole show is not linear but more like a mosaic of all kind of little stories, dance episodes, and funny group scenes.



Macras has a long history with Berlin and the local theater scene. Nevertheless, her pieces usually are about something she discovered elsewhere. With “Der Palast” she brings a topic to Berlin that is actually one of the most discussed at the moment: the rising rents and sudden hypergentrification.

In the first part of the show, there is an absolutely simplified (but very much hilarious) summary of what’s going on in many neighborhoods right now.  The actors and dancers are transformed into Playmobil characters and show how a real-estate shark sells a house to new owners that want to kick out the people who live there.



The second part of the show has the dance competition at its core where victims of gentrification compete against one another and get judged by a jury. But even if you might think that you can predict where the plot might lead to you will be wrong with Costanza Macras. There is always a new twist to her story and new characters appearing out of the blue.

“Der Palast” is an unusually long show for Macras (nearly 3 hours). But a great ensemble of talented dancers and musicians keep you glued to your seats until the last moment. 



Der Palast

by Costanza Macras

April 14,  Mai 16 & 17, June 9 & 10, 2019

Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, Linienstraße 227, 10178 Berlin


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