Charlotte Engelkes

Charlotte Engelkes


She is the directors wife – and everything is a question of timing.

Especially when you are stuck in a birthday surprise cake, waiting for the perfect moment to pop up. Thus traumatized it is no surprise at all that soon she starts a worldwide campaign to fight the sugar-conspiracy.

Especially when you are stuck in a birthday surprise cake, waiting for the perfect moment to pop up. Thus traumatized it is no surprise at all that soon she starts a worldwide campaign to fight the sugar-conspiracy.

If you find me unconscious
But able to swallow
Feed me something SWEET.
Feed me my memories
Of better times than these.
If I drop something while im falling
Leave it on the street.
Nothing can be as SWEET
As a loss of a memory.

Immensely funny, breathtakingly intense, truly engaging; Charlotte Engelkes, performance artist, singer, dancer, and actress, works in a unique stage language somewhere between stand-up and revue. Exploring the many facets of the human spirit, Engelkes solo and ensemble pieces have gained her critical acclaim all around the world.

Sweet tells a story of passion, about the fear of sugar, about having a past in the light entertainment business and about doing something positive!

Charlotte Engelkes mixes text, movement and singing with simple stage techniques to create the magic of Sweet. The core of the performance, an ongoing theme in Engelkes’ work, is the role of women in society; explored, analyzed and turned inside-out. Centered around a fictive character, the wife of the director, Sweet draws inspiration from Engelkes’ own background, creating a truly engaging meeting between stage and audience.

Sweet had its world premiere in the Deutsches Schauspielhaus in Hamburg November 2000. It has been touring in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Germany, The Netherlands, France, Canada, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Singapore, Iceland, Taiwan.

Performance Charlotte Engelkes
Text Marina Steinmo, Charlotte Engelkes
Music Mats Lindberg
Light design Andreas Juchheim, Susanne Ressin

Music from the production

Mats Lindberg – Sweet


FRANKFURTER NEUE PRESSE, 2nd of February 2001

In each box of chocolates there is a surprise waiting

(…) She does not search far from her own experiences, her own life. Not even, as it seems, when she is telling fairytales. Because where fiction and biography mix, you can also feel, that even stories have their origin in reality – or at least tell something about human longings.

(..) Charlotte Engelkes shows herself in “Sweet” as a true multi-talent. Stand-up-comedy, singing, dancing and acting, full of surprises – like a fine selection of chocolates.

GIESSENER ANZEIGER, 6th of February 2001

Virtuoso plays of vanity and admiration

(…) Matter-of-fact critics classified “Sweet” after the Hamburg premiere in autumn as a variant of stand up comedy, after all there are songs, there are jokes, there are meandering stories. Others mainly male reviewers focused on the erotic aspect of sweet, the tempting. Theatre-theoretically nobody approached the performance, too Spartan appeared the except for three microphones naked stage, too easily accessible the play, as if there was a second plane to uncover. And still the feeling remains after all reviews. Something is missing here, there is a point that the attention missed.

This point circles around Engelkes’ approach towards theatre, the attempt of the subject to make stage situation one’s own, the dialogue between performance author. It is characteristic that “Sweet” in Frankfurt was shown in the solo-duo-series, a series that is aiming to document dialogues. Dialogues that in classic dance are performed as “pas de deux”, which in a solo performance are represented in the relation between play – representation, is to say: author – performer.

At this point becomes clear, how clever Engelkes’ one hour work is constructed.

“Sweet” is a virtuoso play with nearness and distance, the performer Engelkes is playing with her vanity and answers with it to the admiration of the author Engelkes, et vice versa. The author, a character who seemed to be completely through in post-modern times, thus suddenly appears back on stage and starts an argument with the representation. You do not have to push ahead to far in the theory to be able to relish this evening, but it helps to understand why you like this evening. But you can also just give away to admiration: Engelkes is an artist, that does not really require of her performance, why not.

Just that this remains artistically fruitless. Two years ago “Dialogue with charlotte” at least failed as a collaboration with the Dusseldorf dancer Raimund Hoghe. Because that work was beautiful, honest and mature. And carried only by admiration, which made it foreseeable. “Sweet” runs not this danger, the dialogue who keeps the performance alive is too bitter, to evil. Wonderful.

Photo: Arno Declair

Photo: Arno Declair

Photo: Arno Declair