Markus Berger grew up in Switzerland, in Möhlin AG. After the teacher seminar in Zug, he attended the theater academy in Zurich. He staged plays, an opera and some operettas with professional, laymen and school groups at homeland and abroad. For several years he taught at schools for children with learning difficulties. He teaches speech, storytelling and theater at universities in various departments.
- Awards at festivals in Nancy (F), Varna (Bulgaria) and Switzerland.
- 1996 appointment as university lecturer for theater arts at the Theater University St. Petersburg (RUS)
- Producer of numerous radio plays and school radio programs on Radio DRS, now SRF
- Head of the Deaf Theater in Zurich for four years,
- Founder of the Dalbelochspiele and the Basel theater
- spectacleDirection of numerous productions with students: DMS Basel-Stadt, high schools, OS, small classes, etc.
- Masquerade trainer at the Bavarian State Theater in Munich
- Instructor for drama training at the Avignon Theater Festival
- The art of speech, courses for law and theology students from the University of Basel
- Various trips to theater anthropological studies
- Festival director of 800 years of the city of Liestal and 450 years of Paracaelsus in Basel In 1992, on behalf of the Federal Office of Public Health in Bern, he directed the cantonal project “take it” (a musical for AIDS prevention) with students from Basel, author: Hansjörg Schneider
- Seminar leader for speech and storytelling, among others on behalf of the Association of Swiss Narrators.
- Head of courses at various universities, including at the St. Petersburg Theater University (RUS).
- 2018: Head of a seminar at the EITB (École International de Théâtre du Bénin) Topic: Scenes from Euripides’ MEDE
– Choir speaking in the hexameter
– Playing with masks
– Inclusion of specific African dart skills
Studies – teaching – teaching method
As a passionate methodologist, Markus Berger is constantly looking to expand his arsenal of exercises and techniques within the scope of training: How can the practitioner be lured out of his reserve, how can his slumbering powers be awakened and implemented? How can the field of perception be expanded? These concerns form the basis of his work, both for students with language deficits and for professional performers.
At the then stage studio in Zurich, he learned the classic Stanislawski method. Despite further studies on this method, he considers it more than just a first step in a training process to become a performer. He was already looking for his own way in the 1970s. The aim was to find an efficient method for performance training. At the seminars in Avignon, he worked with the Afro-Brazilian dancer Clarice dos Santos. There he began to develop his own method: The participant was supposed to reach the “player” in humans through rhythms and body resonances. The participants developed their role figures and scenes directly from the Afro dance.
Another milestone on the way to becoming a performance trainer was the training in the Jerzy Grotowski method. His lecturer was Stanisław Scierski from the Cracow Theater Laboratory. From then on, this method formed the basis of his teaching activities. Both the University of Theater in St. Petersburg and those in Denpasar (Bali) commissioned him to teach the Grotowski method, although over the years more and more his own method determined Berger’s teaching activity. Today it operates under the name TRANSGRESSIONS METHOD (see link: My method).
Markus Berger still travels to troops, indigenous tribes and schools in homeland and abroad. Anthropological studies of trance and mediation techniques in rituals and performances form the core of his research. He started in the 70s with the Taniko-No-Te troupe (Nô-Theater), did Zen meditation for four years with Arno Finger, attended schools for Dervisch dance in Konja and Istanbul, Kathakali in New Delhi learned at various tribal rituals in Mexico, Morocco, Ladakh, Kerala and Indonesia. Many of these techniques flow into the practice and improvisation area, as well as into the technical implementation of ideas and content in the art form of performing.
Berger’s first premise is to achieve authenticity and sovereignty in speech, storytelling and acting: the instrument “body” should be developed in such a way that breath and sound can flow freely, that gestures grow organically from within. “Artificialities” in speech and presentation behavior, ticks – often stuttering – disappear during this exercise process. In this way the performer is open and empty to acquire new registers of the art of representation. He discovered the “player” in himself, his performance has become credible, he has found his own performance profile.
Markus Berger has used similar approaches in teaching children who have deficits in language behavior. Targeted sound training can, for example, reduce reading difficulties. He is currently working on a didactic textbook with the working title “Prosodic exercises for reading lessons”.
“Teacher” in the area of directing:
Benno Besson, Dieter Dorn, Hans Hollman, Hans Neugebauer, Peter Brook, Isaak Stockband,
Authors (collaboration on productions)
Friedrich Dürrenmatt, Eugène Ionesco, Adolf Muschg, Pavel Kohout, Ernst Eggimann, Hansjörg Schneider.