The Berlin production of the musical Space Dream closed on April 1 after a 13 month run. The producers "Art Performance" had filed for bankruptcy two days before, and negotiations with a new un-named investor proved unsuccessful.
Space Dream played to 300,000 spectators in the specially-renovated Hanger II at Tempelhof Airport. A futuristic foyer doubled as a techno-disco on nights when the theatre was dark. The costs of turning the airport facilities into a theatre totalled over seven million dollars.
The musical opened last year to universally unfavorable reviews, and attendance never consistently rose above 50%. To make up for lack of revenue, the chorus was cut in size and the number of performances per week reduced to three.
For the past two months, the performers had received no paychecks. Backrent owed to the airport reached 500,000 dollars, and finally the utilities were cut off, effectively capping the most steady source of revenue: the techno evenings.
Space Dream is the creation of a Swiss advertising specialist Harry Scharer. Several years ago, he composed a series of songs and a scenario involving an intergalactic race between two warring cultures, responding to a commission by a local savings bank. This modest production was so well-received that Scharer expanded on his initial sketch, and was able to present Space Dream in a full-length form in Baden, Switzerland. It is the most successful musical production in Switzerland, and it is still running strong after three years. --By Scott Lawton