The Great Pretender by Zachary Oberzan
Picture: Nicole Schuchardt
The Great Pretender by Zachary Oberzan
Picture: Manu Bloemen
Logo of the Hebbel am Ufer

Zachary Oberzan

The Great Pretender

Zachary Oberzan, a founding member of the Nature Theater of Oklahoma from New York, often interrogates his own identity between private person and art figure in his performances. In “Tell Me Love Is Real,” which was presented at HAU Hebbel am Ufer in 2015, he spoke about his attempt at suicide, which took place around the same time as that of Whitney Houston, except that Oberzan survived. In his new work “The Great Pretender,” the multitalented artist combines film, theatrical and musical elements into a tragicomic evening, pursuing the surprising parallels between his own life and the lives of others. It begins with an odd mix-up in which Oberzan, as “The Great Pretender,” celebrates the desire of constantly wanting to be someone else: A con man appears and tries to fool the staff at a theatre, Oberzan himself does an enchanting Elvis impersonation, the filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami reconstructs the events in a film. The story of a man torn by the problematic between his own identity and artistic creation.
“The Great Pretender" Trailer
100 minutes
Concept / director / design / adaptation / cinematography / editing / performance
Zachary Oberzan
Backing vocals
Maya Mertens, Diede Blok
Dramaturgy / production / management
Nicole Schuchardt
Light / sound / video
David Lang
Stage consultancy
Eike Böttcher
Costume design
Dorothea Andrae
German Premiere 17 March 2017
Co-production: HAU Hebbel am Ufer, deSingel (Antwerp), Beursschouwburg (Brussels), Vooruit (Gent), Black Box Teater (Oslo), Gessnerallee (Zürich), Teaterhuset Avant Garden (Trondheim), brut (Vienna), and House on Fire with support of the Cultural Programme of the European Union.