Tim Spencer's 'Berlin' - Synopsis
6 Male and 2 Female main characters, 2 Male and 1 Female sub characters
Chorus (to play various small parts)
11 : Piano, Keys 2, Elec Gtr, Bass Gtr, Kit, French Horn, Trumpet, Trombone, Wind 1 (Flute, Oboe), Wind 2 (Clt, Ten Sax), Cello ; optional Perc/Keys 3 part
ACT ONE - 1966
EAST BERLIN - March 1966. The people of East Berlin sing of how oppressing and low morale is in the city's east side since the erection of the Wall in 1961, whilst the FD Regiment sing of how the country is strong and praise the system and the flag (Hammer and Sickle). We see the head of Arbeitsgruppe 6, Paul Freidrich, as he intimidates a man, Lutz, with threats unless he gives up his friends, who have 'traitorously' planned to escape through the Wall. Lutz is forced to agree and will return later with the information Freidrich requires.
In a bar we hear a cabaret singer (Always drink the wine) as two friends and Lutz wait for the last piece of the puzzle. Elin enters and apologises to her husband, Gustav, his best friend, Beppo, and Lutz for her tardiness and they discuss the final plans for their break through the Wall. Later, when the three have left Lutz sings of how the system is unfair, and how he has to give his friends up, just so he can live in peace. Freidrich meanwhile, back in his office, sings of how he found Communism and his beliefs that it is the only system that works (The State and I). Lutz returns to the office of Freidrich and relays the plans. Freidrich is pleased.
The next evening Elin and Gustav talk of the new life to come and, now she is pregnant, how it will be fantastic to raise a family in the West. They decide that if the child is a boy they will call him Joshua. They also look forward to meeting in the park on the west side the night after the escape.
March 19th 1966 and the friends meet. They will travel in two cars, in a compartment in the trunk, but as they approach the wall both cars, at different checkpoints, are stopped. Elin and Lutz are arrested but when Beppo and Gustav get out of the car Beppo makes a run for it. Gustav follows a couple of yards behind. The guards open fire and Beppo is shot dead, somehow Gustav makes it to the other side where he collapses. A passing couple, Rando and Olga realise he has come through the wall and decide to take him home to look after him.
Elin is taken to the jail in Bautzen where a jailer, Hans, introduces himself. He is a kind man who believes in the system but also wants to make the world a better place. He is surprised to learn that the jailbreak included Beppo, who he believes may be his estranged brother. Suddenly he is empathetic to the situation. He goes to learn more leaving Elin alone (Take a Dream)
Gustav has gone to the meeting place, the park, but Elin does not arrive. Rando tries to bring Gustav away but he is a devastated man as he has lost his best friend and now his wife has not shown and he has no idea what has happened to her. (Always through Always).
Hans goes to see Freidrich to ask what happened to the other escapees. Freidrich tells him that they were both shot dead. Hans has also disclosed that Elin is pregnant and this is not acceptable to Freidrich. He tells Hans that when the baby is born it must be killed. No traitors will have children to grow up and pollute the country. Hans is stunned and disbelieving, but Freidrich threatens him should this not come to pass.
Back at his home Hans and his wife, Marietta, discuss the situation and decide that they will steal the baby and raise it as their own. This will have to be their secret, Elin cannot know, until a time comes when it is safe in the state to tell the truth.
In West Berlin Gustav is stuggling to come to terms with what has happened so Rando tries to cheer him up explaining all that is good in the West, to get on with his life and make something for the day that Elin will see him again. (The West in the East).
In Bautzen Jail the baby is born. Hans and Marietta enact their plan and steal the baby, Joshua, whilst all are led to believe that the child has died. Elin is told of the death and is heartbroken. Marietta and Hans sing of how impossible the situation is and wishes that Elin might know the truth. (When the Dream is Gone)
ACT TWO - 1989
The second act opens with Beppo's Ghost on the Berlin Wall singing of the Chant of the Wall an echo of the cries of those lost that seems to sound in the dead of the night around the Wall.
In East Berlin Elin is working in her flat on some new art work. She has finally secured an exhibition (Elin's art). She was released after twelve years as a political prisoner and has learnt to keep her mouth shut. She tells of how she tried to find Gustav but that maybe he was killed at the Wall that night, but she doesn't believe so.
Gustav has made a life for himself in the West and drinks with his friend Rando as they sing of the good times they have had (Berlin belongs to me) although Gustav still thinks longingly of Elin and after the song makes his way to the meeting point of the park, just in case.
It is Joshua's 23rd birthday and having put off telling him the truth for two years Hans and Marietta finally decide that tonight Joshua will be told the truth of his parents. Marietta does not know how Joshua will react and is frightened that he may shun them after keeping the truth from him for so many years (Judgement Day).
Elin bumps into Lutz in a shop in East Berlin. She never knew that he was the informer that has cost so much of her life so when she suggests they have dinner some time, he is slightly taken aback. Nevertheless he agrees to the meeting.
Hans sits Joshua down and finally comes clean about the last 23 years (Joshua). Joshua is stunned, when he finally is able to speak he tells Hans that although it may have had to be done he now would like to find his parents (Just your son).
Elin, Gustav & Joshua sing a Trio of their feelings at this moment. (Trio)
Hans has an address for Lutz, one of the people with Elin on that fateful night which he has gained from the Stasi offices. He and Joshua go to Lutz's house to see if he knows where Elin is. They happen to have chosen the night that Elin goes for dinner and therefore Hans is ill prepared for Joshua and Elin coming face to face. Hans has to explain the story to Elin who somehow has to deal with what Hans did and that the son she thought was dead is stood facing her as a 23 year old man.
Hans has been summoned by Freidrich, not surprisingly as Lutz is still an informer. After Freidrich confronts Hans with the truth he has now heard he produces a gun from a drawer. Hans fears the worst but as Freidrich raises the gun he turns the gun on himself and commits suicide. Hans, stunned, runs (Run)
Hans returns home in a panic. He is sure he should be dead, and barring that, why would Freidrich shoot himself. Marietta, Joshua and Elin are already at the house and un-noticed by Hans people are gathering in the streets. Marietta turns Hans' attention to the television where it has been announced that the Wall is open, the link between East and West is open. Freidrich had realised that the world he knew was at an end and saw no way to carry on. Hans begins to realise that maybe he won't have repercussions and the four of them decide to join the throng at the Wall. (Freedom I).
Elin's first thought is that of going to the meeting place from so long ago. She takes Joshua with her and sure enough Gustav is waiting patiently. (Hold me, Love Me). They return to the Wall to celebrate with the masses and the whole family is reunited the night the Wall came down on November 9th 1989. (Freedom II)