BERLIN PORTRAIT # 16
Having grown up traveling the Australian outback with her family, artist Gabrielle Miller meets Splendid Berlin Magazine to contemplate life in the German capital.
Portraits & Words: Heike Schneider-Matzigkeit
Where are you originally from?
Australia. I grew up traveling with my family in a caravan, living in tiny towns. Since leaving home, I have kept up the gypsy lifestyle moving every couple of years.
Explain what you do…
In Berlin I study at the ‘Atelier für physisches Theater – International School for Movement acting’ (www.apt-absurdacomica.com). I study mask, mime, dance acrobatics, clown, tragedy, commedia del arte, personage, cartoon and more. Out of school hours I work as a freelance performer of various forms, from twisting balloons on the street, to performing children’s shows, cabaret and vaudeville shows.
What do you particularly like about Berlin?
The wide streets. The hand paved stoney paths. The willows. I feel a sense of liberation here, this surprised me as normally I feel this when I am out of a city.
Berlin is a lovely contradiction of myself. It is my Gotham City.
Which projects are you currently involved with?
I have just finished a science-fiction film called ‘Adventurados’ which will be released at the end of this year. I also play in a band called ‘Zap’, combining music and vaudeville style performance. I do tap dancing, physical theatre, comedy, puppetry, play the ukulele and sing. Most of the music is original swing jazz style.
Tell us about future hopes and plans?
To be able to continue to do what I love and move to the next professional bracket, meaning to be employed by more international theatre companies, make a successful living from my art and to continue to grow and be pushed in the way that I have since studying in Berlin.
To be able to travel the world with this art but base myself in a quiet, beachside forest somewhere in my time off. To challenge reality and the everyday narrow minded norm.
To inspire people, allowing them to escape into another world with me. To make people laugh. Last summer I toured 16 countries in Europe with a cabaret act from Australia, I saw so many faces being lit up, surprised, confused, so many varying emotions… evoked from what we created on stage, that was amazing! The most incredible thing about doing physical theatre is that there is no language barrier!
Your favourite Berlin places to go…?
The canals in summertime, the sauna in wintertime.
Which is your favourite Berlin landmark?
Where can you be found hanging out in the evening?
Keller Klänge and Primitiv Bar. I don’t have a regular bar and normally they are a hole in the wall so I never know what they are called or where to find them again.
What is your favourite Berlin gallery?
Contemporary Fine Arts Galerie.
Which is your most treasured theatre or arts venue?
All cinemas in the ‘Yorck Kino Gruppe’ are fabulous. Love ‘Villa Kuriosum’ for performance art.
Where do you like to eat out?
I cook at home mostly, but living in Neukölln, I constantly discover new dishes from different cultures that I have never tasted.
Your favourite Berlin shop?
Anything secondhand or found on the street.
Which movies do you most love?
Children of Paradise, Melancholia, Some Like it Hot, Strictly Ballroom.
Who are your favourite directors?
Wes Anderson, Darren Aronofsky, Stanley Kubrick.
What is your favourite Berlin era?
Now. It’s all I know.
What is your least favourite aspect of Berlin?
My glass is always full.
Which artists have inspired you?
Everyone. In one way or another.
What else inspires you?
Silent films. Nature.
Have any paranormal things occured in your life?
When I was 13 I saw a ghost. The ghost was a giant, a woman, standing at the foot of my bed in the early hours of the morning. She had very long hair and was as tall as the ceiling. I couldn’t see her eyes but was very calm and felt safe with her. She stood still and swayed her body sometimes.
Do you believe in the afterlife?
Yes I believe in life after this life… for the soul.