By Red Haircrow
The play is about the ethnologist Adrian Jacobsen, who traveled to the Northwest Coast to trade with the Kwakiutl, Haida and other tribes, and much of his acquired booty is still at the museum to this day. At its premiere in September, the recreation of his adventures received mixed reviews.
“Part of the audience saw it as an innovative experiment, and part saw it as a form of neo-racism against Native Americans,” said Bolz. “Imagine if representatives of these Indigenous Peoples had been present in the hall. They would immediately leave Berlin under protest and never come back!”
Other opinions were even more harsh. “Lacking in every respect; coarse, anarchic, ironic, absurd” and “stereotypical and done with low skill” said the review in the The Berliner Zeitung. It said the show was representing “the vulnerability of traditional Indian cultures through contact with the ethnologist (Jacobsen), which was interpreted with anarchic humor by Berlin puppet theater, Das Helmi, whose core brand is ‘Nothing is sacred.’”