The Berlin-based acting teacher and relationship coach wanted to do her part to help refugees integrate into German society. Assimilation is a big issue in German politics these days. Her self-funded workshop, Improv Without Borders, gathers weekly to let Europeans and refugees do improvisational theater together. On a recent Thursday afternoon, about a dozen men and women from Afghanistan, Syria, France, Germany and elsewhere milled about awkwardly while Lierenfeld waltzed among them and gave out hugs. After some warmup games, they broke off into groups to perform skits. A big part of improv involves trying on new versions of oneself — an activity that, in their regular lives, can come with high stakes. Sophia Lierenfeld, 28, leads an improvisational theater class for Germans and refugees. Abulhusn has been attending her weekly Improv Without Borders class and signed up for coaching in flirtation. Gulahmad Gafuri, a medical student from Afghanistan, spoke hesitantly, if at all, until Lierenfeld assigned him a skit to tell a childhood anecdote in an improvised nonsense language. In the made-up language, it turned out he had tons to say.
Continue reading →