It is 1942, on the battlefields of North Africa, in a gold sequin gown, Marlene Dietrich takes to the stage to launch her own offensive against the German Reich. For the next three years she would fight the war her way, with an irresistible mix of songs, sequins, sex and sympathy.
This real life tale of a legend takes us through the Weimar Republic, the Golden age of Hollywood, the rise of Hitler, a world on the edge of collapse, and a long journey back to Berlin where it all began.
Created for VAULT Festival 2018, Dietrich: Natural Duty sees actor and theatre maker Peter Groom explore the life of screen icon Marlene Dietrich. Through a heady mixture of theatre, live cabaret and drag, this one-(wo)man show uses music, stories and songs to reveal an extraordinary woman’s commitment to duty.
Born in Berlin in 1901, Marie Magdalene “Marlene” Dietrich soon became a Hollywood legend, and the most famous German woman in the world. However, when World War II was declared, she was forced to choose between the country that she loved, and what she knew was right. Renouncing her German citizenship, Dietrich joined the American Army and fought against her homeland in order to free her people from Hitler. With an American smile and Prussian discipline she would entertain GIs in an evening dress, then put on a combat uniform and head to the front.
As our political landscape becomes more polarised this timely story of duty asks questions about our own moral and ethical obligations, and explores how the fight for freedom can take many forms; whether in a sequin gown, combat uniform, or as a man in a wig.
Supported by Curious and Northern Stage.
Peter is an actor, dancer and choreographer working mainly with dance and theatre. Graduating Guildford School of Acting in 2013, he has worked both here in the UK and internationally (One Side to the Other Akram Khan Company, MEAT Schaubuhne Berlin, Romeo and Juliet /Sherlock Holmes Aquila Theatre NYC) Alongside this he began to create his own devised work. Peter has been supported as artist in residence at Battersea Arts Centre, received commissions from IdeasTap, Royal Philharmonic Society, Random Acts, and recently completed a residency as Associate Choreographic Dance Maker at DanceCity, Newcastle for 2016/17. Peter’s latest work ‘Go Away Johnny’ , funded by Arts Council England, premiered at DanceCity, Newcastle 23rd March 2017 and will tour nationally in late 2018.