The creative team

Photo: Urban Ruths

Natalie O’Hara

Natalie O’Hara was born in Göttingen, Germany, the daughter of a German flutist and an American theologian.
She was drawn to the stage at an early age, her childhood was marked by theater groups, ballet school, church choir, piano lessons and music competitions.
After graduating from high school, she trained as a stage actress at the Stage School of Music, Dance & Drama in Hamburg. She also took acting classes with Horst Antlitz and Marianne Bernhardt, among others, and studied method acting with Lee Strasberg student Geraldine Baron.

Shortly before completing her training in 1999, Natalie O’Hara made her TV debut in the ARD series ST. ANGELA. Shortly thereafter the first theater engagement at the Ernst-Deutsch-Theater, Hamburg. Many more followed, e.g. at the Hamburger Kammerspiele, the Komödie im Bayerischen Hof, Munich, the Fritz-Remond-Theater, Frankfurt, and the Altes Schauspielhaus, Stuttgart.
O’Hara had her first leading TV role in 2004 in the Rosamunde Pilcher film DEPTH OF FEELINGS. Since then she has appeared regularly in TV productions such as TRAUMSCHIFF, SOKO 5113, UM HIMMELS WILLEN, SOKO KÖLN, TATORT, and many others. Since 2007 she has played the role of Susanne Dreiseitl in the ZDF series DER BERGDOKTOR. Since 2017, she has also been part of the ensemble of the crime series DIE TOTEN VON SALZBURG.

The solo piece ALICE – SPIEL UM DEIN LEBEN by Kim Langner about the pianist Alice Herz-Sommer was written for Natalie O’Hara as a piano playing actress. It was produced by O’Hara and Michael Hildebrandt in cooperation with the Hamburger Kammerspiele.
For the challenging task of playing over 20 roles and live classical piano, Natalie O’Hara prepared for four years with musical director Matthias Stötzel and Ukrainian pianist Olga Karelina.
In 2023, O’Hara’s piano album FOR ALICE was released, featuring music from the play.

Natalie O’Hara has been married to musical producer Johannes Mock-O’Hara since 2008.

Lilli Hildebrandt

Lilli Hildebrandt was born in Witten in 2000. At the age of 17, she shot her first own short film, for which she won awards at numerous festivals. Since graduating from high school, Lilli has worked as an assistant director and script continuity on film sets in Berlin, Hamburg and Vienna, implemented other award-winning film projects (including Bundesfestival junger Film, Jugendkurzfilmfestival Trostberger Filmtage, 33. abgedreht! Film Festival) and completed journalism training at Welt Fernsehsender.

For Alice – Play for Your Life, she assisted director François Camus.

Currently, the 23-year-old lives in Berlin, writes and researches for the film production company DARK WAYS and works on her own creative projects.

Photo: Koszki

KIM LANGNER

Kim Langner comes from a German-French family with Jewish roots and studied in Paris. She enjoyed theater training with Jacques Lecoq, interweaving various art forms such as physical theater, mime, dance, music and visual arts, a theatrical style that left a lasting impression on her.
In Paris, she worked as an actress, as well as an assistant director, including for „Un monde fou“, which won the Molière for Best Solo Play in 2008.
Since 2012 Kim lives in Berlin as a freelance actress, director, writer, as well as translator for plays.
The work she wrote, „Play for Your Life,“ was written after meeting family members of Alice Herz-Sommer and was inspired by the fate of Kim’s great-grandfather, who was also deported to Theresienstadt and survived the Shoa there.

Kim learned of Alice Herz-Sommer’s extraordinary story in 2013 through her friend the Gornstein family.
In 2018, Natalie O’Hara approached Kim and asked her to make her a line version of Alice Heart Summer’s biographical novel for a „reading with piano performance.“ Instead, Kim had the idea for „Alice – Play for your life“ and developed this special concept: empty stage, only a piano, music, an actress in all roles, a lot of pantomime, the rest, the „magic“, comes from acting and the audience’s imagination.
She had had a lot of experience with this form of theater since her training in Paris and had been planning to develop and write a work in the style herself for some time.

Kim’s research draws on conversations with Alice’s family and friends (many thanks to Ariel Sommer, Eli Gorenstein, Chaim Adler, Zdenka Fantlova, Ester Marom, and Anita Lasker-Wallfisch), the biography „A Garden of Eden in the Midst of Hell,“ various documentaries (e.g., „Everything is a Present,“ „From Hell to Paradise – Chopin Saved My Life“), and numerous written and audio recordings from friends, family, and journalists.

Although the work is based on a great deal of literature about the Terezín camp, H.G. Adler’s book „Terezín 1941-1945 – The Face of a Forced Community“ must be emphasized as a special source of information.

Daniel Sestak

FRANÇOIS CAMUS

is a French director and actor.
He studied acting in Paris and worked and learned in Germany as assistant director to Herbert Fritsch, Dimiter Gotscheff and Manfred Langner. In 2013 he celebrated his directorial debut at the old Schauspielhaus Stuttgart. Since the genesis of the idea, Camus has been part of the creative team for „Alice – Play for Your Life.“

MATTHIAS STÖTZEL

studied at the Musikhochschule in Freiburg and first worked as a conductor and répétiteur in Hildesheim and Münster. He subsequently worked as musical director at the Hamburg Hafentheater, the Deutsches Schauspielhaus, and the Burgtheater in Vienna.

Further work as arranger, pianist, composer and musical director led him to the Hamburger Kammerspiele, the Zürcher Schauspielhaus, the Altonaer Theater, Schauspiel Hannover, Ruhrfestspiele Recklinghausen, Thalia Theater, to the festival in Aix-en-Provence, and again and again to the St. Pauli Theater.

Since 2010 he is professor for the musical education of actors and actresses at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hamburg.

MICHAEL HILDEBRANDT

As a freelance producer, Michael Hildebrandt combines his love of theater and music with know-how from business administration and marketing. After studying business and holding positions at BBDO, Stella Musical and the Deutsches Theater in Munich, he spent ten years steering
Stage Entertainment’s commercial activities.

After that, new German musical productions such as „Hinterm Horizont“, „Rocky“, „Goethe“ and „Das Wunder von Bern“ were created under his aegis. Under the label „STÜCKGUT“ he developed in collaboration
with Martin Lingnau, among others, the musical „Die Weihnachtsbäckerei“ with songs by Rolf Zuckowski. Michael Hildebrandt is a lecturer in live entertainment at the Baden-Württemberg Cooperative State University.
He lives in Hamburg with his wife Corinna and three children.

Photo: Angela Regenbrecht

Studio own gray

Daniel Bandke and Hajo Rehm

Studio Eigengrau is a Berlin-based design studio with a focus on artistic, multimedia productions. It was founded by media artists and designers Daniel Bandke and Hajo Rehm, who are internationally active with their designs and video mappings, using buildings, stages and spaces as their „canvases“. Studio Eigengrau tell stories, form the connection between sound and acting and thus decisively shape the overall artistic picture.

Among the numerous projects of the past years were the 2019 opening show of the European Capital of Culture in Plovdiv, as well as the multimedia show at the Brandenburg Gate „30 Years Fall of the Berlin Wall“. 2021 „The Luther Moment“ in Worms on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the Diet of Worms, as well as the world’s first opera „Chasing Waterfalls“ at the Semperoper in Dresden in 2022, in which an artificial intelligence played a major role in the overall composition.