In a "Tessa State of Mind"

Tessa Kim played a Nazi in Robert de Niro's The Good Shepherd, and a lesbian corpse on Law and Order. She also lent her sonorous voice to a meditation CD for pet owners. Hence, it was only a matter of time that she would produce a one-woman show, "about Identity, Guilt and the Wurst in all of us." The Bad German is currently premiering at the 19. International Fringe Festival in New York City and all her shows have sold out.

"You know, a solo show must be by far the most uncomfortable thing I could imagine doing. So I did it." And this is not any old solo show. This is the depiction of the transformation from a young woman that was plagued by self-doubts and identity troubles, into a mature New Yorker - because Billy Joel was right.

For about an hour Tessa describes what it means to grow up a sensitive person in the land of Wurst und Kraftwerk, and the effort it takes to leave just at the right time, before you are completely losing your mind, that is. Arriving in the city of liberty and being confronted with the fact that the Tessa is allowed to leave the Wurst, but supposedly the Wurst will never leave the Tessa.

That's ok though, because all you need is a sense of humor about it. With her newly achieved taste for individualism, creativity and gusto Tessa develops an on-stage-character that shows the absurdity of prejudice, the need for historical awareness, and the humanity in all of us.

The education of teenage Tessa begins in some remote U.S. town. "Heil Hitler", she is greeted with, a chef in an Italian restaurant recommends, "Keep her away from the ovens." American High School girls inquire, "So, what is the biggest penis you've ever seen?" Awkward questions can sometimes call for awkward answers, "Don't Dad's? Apparently I had found a way to make an entire room of people speechless," she remembers. But her overall take-away, before she has to leave and travel back to gloomy Germany is, "There is absolutely no need for a depressed outlook on life."

And here she is, at the Fringe Festival in New York City, entertaining a bunch of people that show up at the Spectrum on the Lower East Side, night after night, bringing out the best in Tessa, while Tessa is bringing out the best in us. Life as a work in progress.

The link to the German original of this article published in the weekly "Freitag" you can find here.