Eroticism, alternately languid and frenetic, was a stock-in-trade of the Weimar-era Berlin that Foreman's imagery often summons up. Naturally, it also plays a central role in Mark Nadler's I'm a Stranger Here Myself (York Theatre), which treads the much-traveled ground of pre-Hitler German cabaret culture in a manner every bit as anomalous in its way as Foreman's. A nightclub act that is also a theater piece, a survey of period songs that is also a confessional autobiography, Nadler's solo performance would seem far more everyday if it had turned up in the avant-garde confines of Foreman's old Ontological Incubator instead of a cozily traditional Off-Broadway house like the York.

Nicolas Noreña and Rocco Sisto at the Public.
Joan Marcus
Nicolas Noreña and Rocco Sisto at the Public.


I'm a Stranger Here Myself
By Mark Nadler
York Theatre at St. Peter's Church
619 Lexington Avenue

While violinist Jessica Tyler Wright and accordionist Franca Vercelloni slink Foremanishly about, often in shadow, Nadler, at the piano or working the room, goes through a bundle of songs, mustly by Kurt Weill and Friedrich Hollander, known from prior excursions through Germany's tragically brief first venture into democracy. His intriguingly jagged, almost Cubist arrangements often battle the fraught emotionalism of his singing, producing an effect wildly far from the deadpan "new objectivity" out of which these songs were born. His talk follows equally disparate trails, alternating paeans to the sexual and intellectual openness of 1920s Berlin with plaintive reminiscences of his isolation as a kid in Iowa. A revelation that unites the show's schizoid halves renders it unexpectedly moving—less about Weimar than about "Why me?"—and distinctive among shows of its kind.

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