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How would you like to be one of the very special hotel guests at the legendary Goethe-Institut New York, located at 1014 Fifth Avenue in New York City? No doubt, many of you are confused because you know this location not as a hotel, but as the Federal Republic of Germany’s cultural institute that serves to develop and promote a wide range of German-oriented cultural events, as well as to foster international cultural exchange.
This fall, a significant international exchange is underway between the Goethe-Institut and Performance Space 22, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary with the world premiere presentation of Dominic Huber’s “Hotel Savoy.” It opened at the Fifth Avenue organization on September 30 and continues through October 31.
If you have a passionate curiosity and a keen sense of adventure; love interactive, surreal theater; are drawn to books such as the 1924 “Hotel Savoy” by the Austrian author Joseph Roth; and enjoy browsing through lavish 20th century buildings such as the Goethe-Institute, then Huber’s out-of-the box, multi-disciplinary theater experience “Hotel Savoy” is for you.
As a point of reference, the Goethe-Institut, an opulent six-story Beaux-arts townhouse is located directly across the street from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Heretofore, limited access into the Goethe-Institut has been in effect due to changes imposed by German fire code regulations. However, with Huber’s “Hotel Savoy,” 1014 Fifth Avenue has a new lease on life. And now, for you, the curious theater-goers, the real adventure begins.
Huber’s imaginative sets, atmospheric light and soundscapes, along with the Goethe-Institut’s striking architecture effectively assist to construct the framework of Roth’s novel, bringing it to life.
The main character in Roth’s book is Gabriel, whose name, for many, conjures up his namesake, the mighty archangel “Messenger of God,” who communicates the messages between the heavens and earth. The Hotel Savoy, which serves as a metaphor for the world, is a transient place for Gabriel, as well as Roth’s other characters, some of whom are rich, others poor, all of whom are facing the uncertainty of a Post World War I Europe.
Huber, who has been called “an architect of theater,” has designed an innovate theatre piece that gives theatre-goers the opportunity to more or less become the characters in Roth’s classic novel. In referring to Huber’s work, it has been said, “He builds spaces that hover between dream and actuality, and creates worlds where fiction, history and contemporary lives co-mingle. In Roth’s classic novel the hotel is a metaphor for a world out of joint; within the hotel’s convolutions a kaleidoscope of itinerant figures is caught between war and former opulence, Old Europe and the New World, nostalgia and thoughts of revolution.”
In Huber’s contemporary “Hotel Savoy,” you are the main character. As a guest, you and other theater-goers will enter one by one and commence your personal journey through the hotel, where you will meet five people, who are referred to as “the lingering employees of the hotel.” They include the elevator operator, the young maid, the hotel barber, the concierge and the bartender.
These “employees,” who have their own stories and relationships to the building, will act as “intermediaries” and “gate-keepers.” They know all the secrets of the building and will guide you and the other members of the audience through their world, all the time spinning a personalized story just for you.
What will you find out about yourself on your guided tour of the “Hotel Savoy”? In some ways, for many of the have-nots, the world is one monumental Hotel Savoy, where the lack and uncertainty of today’s ongoing recession lurks in every corner of their minds, torturing their every waking moment. As the guest at “Hotel Savoy” what will your interactions with this group of gatekeepers reveal about you? What will it teach you?
It has been said that Huber’s “Hotel Savoy” “transforms and evolves with each guest who enters the rarely visited Goethe-Institut New York at 1014 5th Avenue.” On your solo odyssey through those doors, there’s only one person who will learn something new about yourself, that will perhaps strengthen your growth and development as a human being. That person is you.
And with the close of the curtains, Mr. Dominic Huber is awarded the Casting Pearls Award for his unique, innovative perspective of partnering with the Goethe-Institut and presenting Joseph Roth’s acclaimed literary work as a living testimonial of the commonality of humanity in our shared existence in this world. In addition, we applaud him for making us venture into the Goethe-Institut and other such NYC buildings that we pass and wonder about, but never enter.
Your unique personal journey through the “Hotel Savoy” will last approximately 60 minutes. The performance schedule for “Hotel Savoy is Wednesday to Sunday, 5:30 to 9:45 p.m, Timed-entry tickets are available for the following intervals: 5:30, 5:45, 6, 6:15, 6:30, 6:45, 7, 7:15, 8, 8:15, 8:30, 8:45, 9, 9:15, 9:30 and 9:45.
All performances will take place at the uptown site of the Goethe-Institut, 1014 5th Avenue, in NYC. Tickets are $25, $15 (students/seniors) and $11 (with the PS122 Passport–limited availability!) and are available at www.ps122.org, (212) 352-3101 and at the box office.
The “Casting Pearls” series pays tribute to the brilliant professional talent of stage and screen.