Maria, half Swedish and half Japanese, was brought up in Sweden. At a young age she became restless and went to Paris and Milan to pursue modelling work, and then onto London to study drama.
How and why did you move to Berlin? What was your first impression of the city?
I was always fascinated by Berlin and it’s dark history. When I lived in London, I didn’t have any money so I used to stay at home and watch History channel, which might as well be called World War II channel. My situation there was getting quite unbearable. Because of my Theatre work I had managed to amass huge debts. To survive I had about 3-4 different jobs. I was working early mornings at Heathrow Airport with security and customer service, guided tourists, promotion work and wrote some articles for a Swedish Rock magazine.
It was my interest in German heavy industrial Rock that brought me to Berlin.
The magazine I used to work for got me an interview with the drummer in Rammstein so I came over here to report on them. I just fell in love with the city. Never had I been to such a unique place. It is like it is newborn. Constantly changing and growing out of the ruins from the 20th century. You never get bored here. There is always something going on, it’s vibrant and creative. I returned several times and for awhile I was almost commuting from London. My situation there was getting worse so after awhile I thought: It’s time for a change and it’s in the EU so I can work there and make a fresh start. During my visits I had also met a guitar player who turned out to be a jerk but love is blind. After a few years I realised but my love for the city remained.
You studied theatre and worked as an actress. Do you attend much theatre in Berlin? Do you have a favourite venue?
I am ashamed to admit that I haven’t been as much to the Theatre as I would like to. My music interest has taken over and I am writing for another Swedish magazine now, Slavestate. All my free time is being taken up with attending Rock festivals and gigs. When I first arrived I went to the Berliner Ensemble and I also went to some smaller youth theatres because friends were performing there. My favourite venue is still the Berliner Ensemble because of the quality of their work.
|Berliner Ensemble around 1908 |
You travelled a lot before settling in Berlin, and still do travel a considerable amount. What has kept you in Berlin?
Travelling is my life and I usually get a bit restless when I stay in the same place for too long. I still travel but I think Berlin will be my base from now on. The place doesn’t feel stagnant and there is so much life here. What kept me here is the creative scene and the energy of it. The city is cheaper than most western capitals and because of this, people can afford to express themselves. Other big cities have become so expensive and money oriented, that all people do is running around trying to stay afloat. Here it is not so important to have a car or a flatscreen TV which makes it feel so more relaxed.
Your knowledge of the city is really impressive. Do you have a specific story or figure from Berlin history that has inspired you?
The 1920’s before the Nazi’s came to power, when the city went through an unprecedented wave of creativity and decadence is my favourite era. My inspiration is the playwright Bertolt Brecht. His concept of the epic Theatre that broke down the fourth wall towards the audience was a new and brave concept. The style and music by Kurt Weil made his plays into a unique experience. My very first Theatre experience was Brecht’s “The Good Person of Szechwan”. I think I was only 9 years old and it blew me away! I was so impressed with how you could tell such an engaging story in such an abstract way that I decided to become an actress. Then I saw “Cabaret” when I was twelve and my obsession with Berlin started seriously. Unfortunately it took me a long time before I got here but I am so glad I finally did and I think I am staying.
|Bertold Brecht, Lotte Lenya, Kurt Weill|