PS 122: Downstairs

Todays Date: 06/28/22
Last Update: 12/28/10 04:58:32 PM
Address: 150 First Ave at 9th St.
New York, NY    10009

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History of Productions View Current and Upcoming

Hello Hi There  | Open: 01/06/11 Close: 01/22/11
In HELLO HI THERE, Dorsen takes the famous 1970’s television debate between the philosopher Michel Foucault and linguist/activist Noam Chomsky as inspiration and material for a dialogue between two custom-designed chatbots: every evening, these computer programs, designed to mimic human conversations, perform a new – as it were, improvised – live talk. 

Dorsen further explains her work in an interview with, “When I first made two chatbots talk to each other, they got stuck on this ‘hello – hi there’ back and forth. The outcome is a juxtaposition of banalities. Even we humans don’t really invent anything new when we talk. It is through the re-arrangement of existing words and concepts that we create something unexpected, something new. This is exactly what the chatbots do [in this work].”

In the tradition of mediaeval mystics such as Ramon Lull and Albertus Magnus, who once strove to build mechanical men with feathers, bronze and levers, aspiring to resolve the most difficult philosophical problems, the chatbots are a contemporary answer to the question of the artificial mind. What world of thought can arise when two computers sit down together and reflect on what they have in common with usPS? The goundbreaking HELLO HI THERE is an intimate collaboration between man and machine – an intelligent and, alarmingly often, creative and funny dialogue on humanity in the age of its digital reproduction.

When HELLO HI THERE premiered in and toured throughout Europe earlier this year, Sigurd Ziegler of Morgenbladet wrote, “Annie Dorsen’s post-human performance puts our understanding of what it means to be human to the wall…the flash of humanity in these machines is not only stunning, and formally flawless, but also significant.” Helmut Ploebst of Der Standard called Ms. Dorsen’s play “brilliant.” And Kleine Zeitung said, “Can machines really entertain? In Annie Dorsen’s "Hello Hi There" they can, and furthermore they manage it in more than 80 million different ways.” 

Conceived and directed by Annie Dorsen, HELLO HI THERE has production design by Kate Howard, systems design by Jeff Gray, scenography and lighting design by Edward Pierce, and chatbot software design by Robby Garner.

Obie award–winning director and writer Annie Dorsen works in a variety of fields, including theatre, film, dance and, as of 2010, digital performance.  Most recently, Hello Hi There premiered at the streirischer herbst festival, Graz, and has been presented in Oslo, Bergen and Berlin, before arriving in New York in January 2011.  

She is the co-creator of the 2008 Broadway musical Passing Strange, which she also directed. Spike Lee has since made a film of her production of the piece, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2009, subsequently screened at South by Southwest Film Festival and The Tribeca Film Festival, and was released theatrically by IFC in 2010 before being broadcast on PBS’ Great Performances. 

 Berlin-based Ballhaus Naunynstrasse makes its American debut with two plays reflecting on Turkish migration in Germany

Ferienlager – The 3rd Generation
November 17 & 18 at 8 pm

Klassentreffen – The 2nd Generation
November 20 at 8 pm and 21 at 4 pm

9th Space @ PS122
150 First Avenue @ 9th street, NYC

New York, NY— What stories can be told about the real lives of migrants that go beyond the worn-out integration debates and stereotyped musings on identity and belonging – and how can these stories be brought to the stage?  The acclaimed Ballhaus Naunynstrasse, located in the heart of the multicultural neighborhood of Kreuzberg in Berlin, brings to New York its “post-migrant theater” with the American premieres of Ferienlager (Holiday Camp) – The 3rd Generation, on November 17 and 18 and Klassentreffen (Class Reunion) – The 2nd Generation on November 20 and 21.  Since its reopening in 2008 under the direction of Shermin Langhoff, Ballhaus Naunynstrasse has provided a platform for the children and grandchildren of Turkish immigrants to share their experience growing up in a country coming to terms with its ethnic and religious plurality.  Both plays, directed by Lukas Langhoff, are dubbed as “documentary theater,” in that all performers are telling their own stories, which are the basis of the scripts.  The performances will take place at the 9th Space located at P.S. 122, and will be presented in German with English subtitles.


In Ferienlager – The 3rd Generation, ten young German-Turks, born and bred in Berlin, muse on their lives and the many contradictions that define them.  Eight beds are arranged on an otherwise empty stage, while two angels – one with white and the other with black wings – drift by the sleepers, arguing about whom their souls belong to. The young adults wake up and begin expressing their feelings about their place in society and the pursuit of their individual interests with a candor as liberating as it is engaging.  In their hands, the stage becomes a playground for martial art freaks, wannabe singers, and misunderstood mathematical geniuses, with flashes of Bollywood and rap shows.


Klassentreffen – The 2nd Generation turns its focus on migrants who arrived in Germany together with their parents.  Culled from conversations and interviews with six German Turks – including the Green party politician Özcan Mutlu and the long-standing president of the Islamic Women’s Association, Emel Zeynelabidin (who, four years ago, took the radical step of taking off her headscarf) – the play is a collage of intensely personal sketches that reveal a lot about today’s German-Turkish reality in Berlin.  All six characters have ‘made it’ – although making it extends far beyond a professional career as they each learn how to find their way between two different, and sometimes contradictory, cultures.



Wednesday, November 17 and Thursday, November 18 at 8PM
Director/Set Design: Lukas Langhoff
Starring: Ozan Aksu, Kader Arslan, Tamer Arslan, Ibrahim-Utku Erdogan, Duygu Sebnem Ince, Eray Kaya, Esra Kirtay, Lale Mahrt, Alkim Tas, Çidem Topbas
Saturday, November 20 at 8 PM and Sunday, November 21 at 4 PM
Director: Lukas Langhoff
Starring: Tuna Basgerdan, Hülya Duyar, Özcan Mutlu, Dilek Sillmann-Bölükgiray, Ünal Yüksel, Emel Zeynelabidin

VENUE: 9th space, located @PS122, 150 First Avenue@9th Street, NY

FREE OF CHARGE - Reservations Required: or call  212-352-3101
For more information, visit:


This is not a Performance Space 122 presentation. 

About Ballhaus Naunynstrasse:
The Ballhaus Naunynstrasse is a typical Berlin ballroom dating back to the 19th Century, and since its extensive restoration in 1983 it has been a popular and unique venue in the heart of the district of Kreuzberg-Friedrichshain. Since 2008 (The European Year of Intercultural Dialogue), the Ballhaus Naunynstrasse has established itself as a theatre with a very distinct approach. Dubbing itself as young postmigrant theatre, it deals with the situation of ethnic plurality that has increasingly left imprints on the various spheres of cultural industry, both mainstream and avant-garde.


The new artistic director Shermin Langhoff has succeeded in bringing to the Ballhaus a broad range of works created by a second and third generation of artists like filmmakers Fatih Akın, Mıraz Bezar, Neco Çelik and Hakan Savas Mican, choreographers Wagner Carvalho de Pereira, Modjgan Hashemian and Kadir Memis, internationally renowned young theatre directors Nuran David Calis, Nurkan Erpulat and Michael Ronen, actress Idil Üner, novelist Feridun Zaimoglu, rap star Ceza and many others, thus combining genres and transnational/translocal contexts. While the focus remains on theatre productions, the programming also reflects the most recent developments in dance, film, music and literature.

The guest performances of Ferienlager – The 3rd Generation and Klassentreffen – The 2nd Generation are presented by Kultursprünge@Ballhaus Naunynstrasse, as part of the project Reflections on Muslim Immigration in Germany, in collaboration with Deutsches Haus at NYU, supported by the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany New York, funded by Auswärtiges Amt - Foreign Ministry of the Federal Republic of Germany.

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The W. Kamau Bell Curve:
Ending Racism In About An Hour
 | Open: 05/11/10 Close: 06/04/10
JUST LIKE SKINNY JEANS, superhero movies, and frozen yogurt, racism continues to make a comeback. In 2007, The W. Kamau Bell Curve: Ending Racism in About An Hour opened big and came out swinging against big targets. Back in 2007, it was celebrity racism that was all the rage. (Imus, Kramer, Rosie O’Donnell, Dog The Bounty Hunter, etc…) But three short years later, amazingly, America has  elected the first black president… of the Republican National Committee!!! Oh, and we also elected the first black president of the United States of America, Barack Hussein Obama. All this MUST mean racism is over. Right? We’re officially in Post-Racial America… Right?… Right?

WRONG! Racism has redoubled — no, re-quadrupled — its efforts. Because now that a black man — or a half black/half white man if we want to split not so nappy hairs — is leading the free world, the stakes just have gotten much, much higher, especially for the really racist racists. And racism hasn’t run this rampant since Martin Luther King, Jr. had that dream. While the economy fails, racism is thriving. Whether it’s Rush Limbaugh’s & Glenn Beck’s daily treason, OR tea parties that look like casual Fridays at Ku Klux Klan rallies, OR Henry Louis Gates getting arrested for having a sticky door, OR the state of Texas deciding that the only good history book is a WHITES ONLY history book, OR the continued broadcast of BET, OR Tyler Perry… being Tyler Perry, OR the one-two-three cinematic punch of The Blindside, Avatar, and Precious. Meanwhile the 2010 Census STILL wantds to know how many "negroes" are out there. And all the while black people wonder, “Did we get a black president OR a president who is black?”  Well, W. Kamau Bell is here to make (non)sense of all of it all. The Curve is a comedic exploration of the current state of America's racism, combined with a little (unknown) history, a little Powerpoint, and a whole bunch of Kamau. And because racism is always attacking in new ways and from new angles, Kamau attacks back by constantly adding new material. The Curve is a seamless mix of stand-up comedy, video and audio clips, personal stories and solo theatrical performance.

Binding  | Open: 05/05/10 Close: 05/29/10
The worlds of dance, pop music, myth, and video collide in Binding, a solo piece created and performed by JESSE ZARITT, receiving its premiere performances in the soloNOVA Arts Festival at P.S. 122.  Zaritt, a powerhouse dancer and compelling performer, will be remembered as a member of the Shen Wei Dance Arts Company (2001-2006), and has also appeared with the Inbal Pinto Dance Company in Tel Aviv.   He was most recently seen in New York dancing with Faye Driscoll at DTW.

Binding was the inaugural production of Theatre C, which commissioned the work, and is a close collaboration between Zaritt, director Basmat Hazan, and producer/dramaturge Carlos Armesto.  Violent, tender, and erotic, the dance/theater work portrays a solitary man's quest for love and connection. Breaking free from his repressions, he propels his body into a rapture of violence and tenderness.

Binding is a commission by Theatre C, created for the soloNOVA Arts FestivalBinding was nurtured and supported by LABA: The National Laboratory for New Jewish Culture at the 14th Street Y in Manhattan.

For additional information, please visit

Monster  | Open: 05/05/10 Close: 05/22/10
MONSTER is a revelatory theatrical experience which peels back the layers of humanity to reveal what's at the core of human experience.  The multi-character format intertwines 16 diverse characters surrounding a vengeful, blood-curdling, torturous murder.  MONSTER shatters the 4th wall, engages the audience and ultimately demands they confront their fundamental beliefs.