Acting German

Having been told, on more than one occasion, that I have a flair for the dramatic – it wasn’t meant as a compliment – this week, I decided to put this theory to the test and try out “German with Theatre Games”.

The lesson was to take place at 77 Kastanienallee, which is right at the opposite end of the city. I left myself plenty of time (as usual), found 75, walked past 77, which is a cinema, and hit 79. Huh. Guess it must be down that dark alley somewhere. So I trotted through the darkness until I came to a courtyard. Nope, nothing to see here. So I headed through the second dark alley until I came to the second dark courtyard.


I followed the signs to the third floor and pushed at the door. Locked. I had managed to arrive before the teacher even got there. I stood for a couple of minutes admiring what I hoped was my artistically mysterious, all-black clothing, shoving at the door every now and then.

Knock, knock...
Knock, knock…

The teacher showed up right on time, but I wasn’t allowed in until I had removed my boots. Crap. This was about the time “artistically mysterious” went awry.

Don't you judge me - it's winter...
Don’t you judge me – it’s winter…

When I walked in, Traudl the Teacher had also removed her socks. Great. A hippy. And I hate feet. Still, I tried to make polite conversation for a few minutes until, finally, Claudio showed up. With two people, we could get started. The theme of the “lesson” was drinks and restaurants, something I felt I could get on board with.

But first, we had to move “freestyle” around the room to music, which, as I’m sure you can imagine, is one of my all-time favourite activities…

I chose to shuffle around glaring accusingly at my non-mysterious pink socks. As the room was roughly the same temperature as the streets (0 Celsius), this activity was probably more for survival purposes than anything else.

Next Traudl put a “Ja” card in one corner, and a “NEIN” card in another. We had to ask each other questions to get to know each other a bit.

Me: Können sie singen? (Can you sing?) 

Traudl: No, no, there’s no “sie” in this space, only “du”. (The informal “you” in German.)

Me: OK, but I’m asking two of you so then it would be the plural, “ihr”. “Du” doesn’t make any sense. 

Traudl: Please use “du” in this space. 

Me: Mutter… 

We threw a massive workout ball around for a bit with me trying not to aim for Traudl’s head. Two more girls had shown up in the meantime.

Run free...
Run free…

Next up was a “game” where we had to pretend to be something else. Traudl showed off her acting skills by pretending to be a worm and lying on the floor, wriggling. I wondered why she wasn’t in Hollywood. Claudio ran over and pretended to be a bird and another girl became a tree. The bird took the worm and it was game over. Seemingly we were practising our article forms. This continued for some time and, while I’m not sure it helped my articles much, I’m pretty sure I could be a convincing worm now…

Traudl gathered us all into a circle and it was time to shout, “JA, NEIN AND DOCH”, with various hand gestures,  at each other. After a while, these three words were replaced with DIE heiße Schokolade, DER frischgepresste Orangensaft, and DAS alkoholfreie Getränk. The shouting and gesturing continued for a further ten minutes or so. Admittedly, I’ll never forget the articles that go with these drinks, but can this really be counted as learning the language in any sort of meaningful way?

After what seemed like an eternity, we were put into groups of three (two more people had shown up 30 and 40 minutes late) and instructed to write a drinks menu. After a while, Traudl bare-footedly bounced over to inspect ours.

Traudl: But wait, what’s this? 

Me: Weißbier.

Traudl: Oh no, that’s not a thing. You mean light beer. 

Me: No. I don’t. 

Traudl: (Scribbling out my word) 

Me: No, obviously you have light beer and dark beer but Weißbier is something different. 

Traudl: No, no, you mean light beer. 

Me: Sure. And “DU” can kiss my white Irish Arsch.

It wasn’t like I needed much convincing at this point, but seriously, what can I possibly learn from a GERMAN who knows nothing about BEER? She’d also never heard of Hoegaarden.

Yes, that also exists, you numpty.
Oh look! Things you’ve never heard of DO exist…

Finally, we had to act out a couple of “ordering in a restaurant” scenes, which luckily, we all knew how to do anyway as we’d had zero input in this respect in the preceding 75 minutes.

Seemingly it had taken Traudel – professional actress and German teacher – three years to “perfect” this teaching technique. I’m pretty sure I could have beaten her by 2 years, 364 days and 23.5 hours. She even made two spelling mistakes AND an article mistake in the “useful language” .pdf she posted the next day.

Clearly, I would not recommend “German with Theatre Games”, unless maybe you have a foot fetish. However, Hollywood, you there? If you’re ever looking for a convincing worm, I’ve got just the woman…





123 thoughts on “Acting German”

  1. LOL – I followed over here because you replied to a comment I left on another site. And boy am I glad I looked here. Not only am I intrigued by an Irish (?) expat’s view on my native country, but hey – I am more or less living the reverse (German expat living in Ireland – I even used to write a blog about the experience, now sadly un-updated for many many months). And this piece was just hilarious – although I am utterly shaken that a German with the most teutonic of names does not know Weißbier… shocking.
    Definitely subscribing here. Hope you continue to enjoy Börlinn.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha, that’s so cool! I’ll be sure to check out your blog! I used to have one on Latvia when I lived there too – before they ran me out of the place 😉 MUCH happier in Berlin!

      Her name wasn’t really Traudl but still – HOW can any German not know about Weißbier!? I knew about it long before I moved here! Maybe she’s just acting German too – badly 😉 Hope the croci are starting to bloom in Ireland too – it’s a beautiful day here!


      1. Oh, just saw you followed back – just FYI, that is not my expat blog (but a rather specialised slash fanatic blog for fangirling purposes only *blushes*). So unless you think Richard Armitage is hot, it’ll bore you to death. (I won’t be offended if you unfollow after this amazing retention effort…)
        Ha, can imagine you enjoy Berlin! Just back from a short visit to the city myself.
        And the croci *are* long in bloom, but this morning Dublin was covered in snow. (Ok, only for a quarter of a centimetre for about 20 minutes, but well…)

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I do think Richard is quite hot but I just discovered that his middle name is Crispin, which is a bit of a turn off 😉 Did the whole city come to a standstill? Dublin is great for that – quarter of a centimetre and a state of emergency is declared. “Take care of your old people and children – don’t leave the house unless it’s an emergency!” 🙂


          1. Luckily, Dublin still stands. (Nice opportunity for you to butt in with a Stillstand pun???)
            Re. Crispin – ha, would not have occurred to me that that is a turn-off. Sounds classy to me. But there you have it, that’s cultural or language interference.
            Oh, and have just checked my old blog – not updated since 2013 *eeek*. And not nearly reaching the level of humour that your expat eye blog exhibits. But then again, I am German… Here:

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Cool! Good practice for my German too! I’ll start trundling through some posts 🙂 Crispin sounds a bit poncey – like Cecil or Nigel. My English friend is still mad at me for calling him ‘Nigel’ in the blog haha!


  2. You’re a brave soul dressed all in black, searching for an address down dark alleys. I guess if someone attacked you, you could just pull off your boots and blind them with the glare from your socks 🙂 Actually, I love your socks 🙂 And, actually, I’m surprised you didn’t kick Traudl’s ass across the room …. especially when she tried to correct you on the beer …

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The temptation was very strong, believe me! NOBODY corrects me when it comes to alcohol! But her green-tea-sipping ass possibly could have kicked my beer-swilling one 😉 And at least I got a chance to be scathing about something in Germany for once – too much stuff is good here haha!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. A green Hanseatic (and I won’t blame green tea) isn’t capable of giving satisfaction in all matters relating to beer or wine.
        Or as the Germans say: “Was kümmert es die Eiche wenn sich die Säue an ihr scheuern?!”. :mrgreen:

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh, there was something almost nostalgic in your post … The tone reminded me of your Latvian “adventures” ;). Maybe you couldn’t have kicked her butt, you could (and did) skewer her in English quite well 😉

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Ha, and I do enjoy doing that 🙂
          Ah, the Latvian blog – I do get nostalgic for it sometimes! I’m (slowly) working on putting a book together though – they’re going to love it… 😉

          Liked by 2 people

                1. I bet your taxes are a blast to do ;). We’re easy so far but when I think about self-publishing, the thought of those taxes makes me want to pull my multi-colored hair out!

                  Liked by 1 person

                2. Ha! I don’t think anyone could survive in Germany without a tax consultant. I’ll be keeping mine busy for sure – when you’re freelance, it’s complicated! Money coming from different sources. And the online system is impenetrable 🙂 At least to me haha! I have zero interest in figuring it out!

                  Liked by 1 person

              1. You are a freelancer! Freelancer pay +++nothing+++ without a receipt or an invoice. At least this payments could be potentially deductible costs. Demand a receipt with emphasis!


              2. A “German acting” event for €5? And the course was led by a “professional actress and German teacher”?
                For €5 you can’t complain neither 0 Celsius nor Weissbier. 😆


                1. 15€ sounds “better”. Because the Finanzamt dislikes courses if they are too cheap.
                  On the other hand: A one way ticket to Prague cost only €19 …
                  Maybe these are “Fahrtkosten” because you have a vocationally arranged meeting? 😎
                  And maybe you should book courses like “How to mould my tax declaration” instead of dubious sessions in frightening dark streets?

                  Liked by 1 person

    1. I knew she was a fraud from the get-go 😉 I stalked her online CV a little – for a ‘professional actress with more than 15 years experience’, she doesn’t have much to show for it 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Traudel is a South- German name. If this is here real name, she MUST know what kind of beer it is. Even if only the Bavarians say “Weissbier”; the other South- Germans say “Weizen”. Maybe she is an evil alcohol- hating bigot?
    Doubtless there are other opportunities acting German. Probably there is a community theatre in your Kiez. Or just read a drama like “Faust” from J.W. Goethe or “Wilhelm Tel” from F. Schiller.
    You German profoundness runs off like a rocket! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Funnily enough, the next lesson is actually on animals – Claudio’s suggestion. I guess this time tomorrow, they’ll all be running around or wriggling on the floor 😉 I will not be there to see it!

      Liked by 1 person

                1. I just hope my girlfriend will be able to find a job to pay the bills. she’s gotta be the breadwinner ;). Getting ahead of myself here, I’ve known about this degree for a day. Oops!


                2. Does she speak any German? It’s possible to find jobs without it, but there are a lot more opportunities if you can speak it! But again, getting ahead of ourselves 😉


                3. Ha, well, that’s what I do! You’d be surprised – not every German speaks amazing English! Some barely have a word! It’s definitely an option – though she’d need a certificate. Ze Germans like ze paperwork… 😉


                4. Can you be my Berlin guru? Someone from the university just told me it’s 800 euros a month to live there, do you think it’s possible to live cheaper than this? For the first time I might actually know what it’s like being a broke student :(. Also, any good websites to look for apartments? Thanks in advance!

                  Liked by 1 person

                5. Would renting as a couple not save on rent? Oh man 800 euros as a student sounds a lot! The fact neither of us have Facebook probably won’t help either… SHIT

                  Liked by 1 person

                6. Get on FB haha! There are some really useful groups on there. Advice, rentals, etc. You could probably find somewhere for around €500 a month, depending on where you want to live. It’s hard to get flatshares as a couple so you’ll probably have to look for a flat for just the two of you. Buy a bike and save yourself €81 a month on transport 😉


                7. Definitely! It’s really bike friendly. Loads of cycle lanes and mostly flat! Just back from a nice bike ride actually 🙂 Yeah, 500 for the flat. To be honest, it would be hard to find a cheaper capital city in Western Europe! And Berlin is awesome 🙂


                8. Not too bad at the moment. In the beginning I was up at 5am every day. That was not so pleasant! Starting a new venture this week though… 🙂 I’d start learning a bit of German now if I were you! Give yourself a headstart 🙂


                9. Yeah the uni have said they expect a working knowledge of German. I’ve told them my best mate speaks it fluently and would be willing to do classes. I’m trying to learn some Chinese currently, my monolingual brain is gonna meltdown

                  Liked by 1 person

  4. A had a bad feeling about the whole paragraph about ‘birds’ and their ‘wiggling worms’, but after you said ‘The bird took the worm and it was game over.’ I knew that something unspeakable had happened there. Unspeakable even for Germany. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

Let me know what you think

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s