The Gray Cloth

The Gray Cloth

The inconspicuous title THE GRAY CLOTH is deceptive. The musical theater, which premieres on July 18, 2024 at 7:30 pm, is a colorful 360° fulldome show with live acting and orchestra. It will be performed for an audience at the Jena Planetarium and streamed live around the world. The play is based on the novel "Das Graue Tuch und zehn Prozent Weiß" by German poet Paul Scheerbart, published in 1914. The plot is set in an imagined future that could be our present. The play, with its sometimes not entirely unabstruse adventures, is being produced by the Jena Fulldome Festival Foundation, with Bauhaus-Uni students from Weimar (Immersive Media), together with artist teams from Jena, Berlin, Wiesbaden, Heggelbach, Hamburg and Los Angeles.
The theatre is part of the celebrations to mark the planetarium's centenary. It is therefore only logical that the International Planetarium Society (IPS) conference taking place in Jena and Berlin will open on July 18 with THE GRAY CLOTH. The German premiere "Das Graue Tuch" will follow three days later.

18.07. 19:30 English language premiere, live stream (not valid for visiting the Planetarium)

21.07. 19:30 German language premiere in the Jena Planetarium

21.07. 19:30 German language premiere, live stream (not valid for visiting the Planetarium)

IPS-Konferenz in Jena

What will the guests experience during the planetary performance? They are taken around the world in a luxurious airship, accompanying Edgar Krug, a famous glass architect, and his organ-playing wife Clara on their honeymoon. What is considered a happy ending in conventional stories - the marriage - takes place in the very first chapter of THE GRAY CLOTH. The other episodes based on the novel by Paul Scheerbart are no less fantastic.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) considered the works of Paul Scheerbart (1863-1915) so groundbreaking that it published THE GRAY CLOTH - Paul Scheerbart's Novel on Glass Architecture in English.



Although the story ventures far ahead into the realm of possibilities, it spares us a completed utopia. Instead, we are led from building site to building site, everywhere there is planning and work in progress, rarely is anything finished, many things don't work out, and we see less Edgar Krug's buildings than his building. In between, there is a conspicuous amount of partying and dancing.

Between Chicago, Borneo, Antarctica, Japan, India, the Churiya-Muriya Islands, Sardinia, Lüneburg Heath and Mont Blanc, the project manager tour around the world offers plenty of fuel for aesthetic controversies and interpersonal confusion.
The fact that the women's outerwear should be subordinate to the primacy of the colourful glass walls is asserted on the one hand, but ironized at the same time. Nevertheless, the programmatic core is clearly expressed.

Firstly, Scheerbart's architect Edgar Krug is convinced that there is no place in the world that could not be embellished with colorfully ornamented glass architecture. Secondly, he argues that the aesthetic impact of the colorful glass architecture can be emphasized by nothing better than a contrasting grey costume with ten percent white.



Provided this premise is accepted and tiresome erotic trifles are disregarded, Edgar Krug's marriage to organ player Clara - she was only introduced to him shortly beforehand at an art exhibition in Chicago - is a mere formality, as she agrees to wear only grey cloth with ten percent white in future. Barely two hours pass between their meeting, the marriage contract signed over dinner and their departure on a luxury airship for their honeymoon.

THE GRAY CLOTH is subtitled a women's novel and we also get to know the antagonists who stand up to Edgar Krug's costume dictates. They are Clara's friend Amanda Schmidt and the Japanese marquise Fi-Boh with her entourage, who start a small rebellion in provocatively colorful silk dresses.

The fact that this world dominated by artistic debates revolves around the aesthetics of glass architecture on the one hand and the aesthetics of costume on the other is one thing. The fact that there are no nation-state conflicts, no border controls and no military in this world, because the globalized terrestrial society has long since ceased to need these ancient measures, is another. It seems strangely normal. Independent as Scheerbart is, he eludes both the utopian and the dystopian pigeonhole.




The parallel world depicted is stragely different to ours, but in its modernity it seems familiar in many ways. We experience a light party in a North Indian zoo reminiscent of the Burning Man Festival, we hear Clara playing future music on the ten-tower organ, we witness gossipy Telegram chats from girlfriend to girlfriend and we experience the star cult surrounding a globally acclaimed architect. The plot is peppered with bright color and garish comedy, irony and innovation. It is actually impossible to realize a novel so rich in capers in the media. Unless you make use of hybrid means of presentation consisting of digital projection, literary radio play and all-round performance.
Just as Karl May had to wait for the film version with Pierre Brice and Lex Barker to popularize his works as much as possible, Scheerbart has to wait for the production in the immersive Fulldome Theater.

It's great that the time has finally come!

Anyone who has followed the delicate growth of the genre may have noticed that there have already been two Scheerbart premieres in fulldome format at the Jena Planetarium: Kometentanz (2014) and Ich liebe Dich! (2016).




It is not as if the visionary value of Scheerbart's treasure chest had not been noticed before. The early Weimar Bauhaus teachers, above all Walter Gropius, were avowed Scheerbartians.
Scheerbart was never really popular, but his influence on artists, architects and the debates of the avant-garde cannot be overestimated. Scheerbart has a small but stable and now international circle of fans who have been sustainably inspired, or at least amazed, by him. Translations are available in Italian, Turkish, Spanish, French, Japanese and English. Scheerbart's reception in the USA has gained momentum through numerous new translations, to which the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has made a not insignificant contribution with the publication of The Grey Cloth. The introduction by John A. Stuart states: "All architecture must, in some sense, be imagined before it can be constructed".

Scheerbart is a master "imagineer". He does not write non-fiction books; he creates his future architecture in a casual, conversational tone without being imprecise. As his editor Mechthild Rausch writes, he practises "the staging of architectural ideas with narrative means." She continues: "Scheerbart was the first to call for the glass house and glass architecture as a universal architectural style. He also called for something new in formal terms. Instead of window glass and sober functional forms, he propagated colorful, ornamented glass and richly structured, variably designed buildings - in a word: "glass palaces".

In Scheerbart's own words: "The house of the man of the future was to be furnished like a palace with the most precious enamel and mosaic, with the most delightful stained glass. Glass, the most brilliant building material on earth, was to play the leading role in the houses of the future."

Bruno Taut, the architect who would later become famous, envisioned the future of the glass architecture imagined by his friend Scheerbart in such a way that "the surface of the entire globe would be transformed into a large, compact architectural work of art". The development begins with the individual crystal house and culminates in the globe-spanning earth crust building, which radiates into space like a cosmic diamond.

The single crystal house actually existed, inspired by Paul Scheerbar it was built by Bruno Taut as a wondrous glass palace of color at the Cologne Werkbund Exhibition in 1914. The outbreak of World War I not only ended this dream.

When the Jena FullDome Festival team discussed how to open the International Planetarium Society (IPS) conference appropriately, two decisions were made: Firstly, the focus should not be on the past one hundred years of planetarium culture, but on the next one hundred years. Secondly, nothing is better suited to the opening of the conference than a visionary-scuryllabic full-dome theater. Paul Scheerbart wrote Das Graue Tuch at a time when Zeiss engineer Walter Bauersfeld and Munich museum founder Oskar von Miller were beginning to conceive the modern projection planetarium.
Today, one hundred years later, the seemingly separate strands of technical innovation and literary imagination are posed to form a unified work of art, a Gesamtkunstwerk.


After turtle soup, oysters, and caviar, the four of them ate green pike that had been caught half an hour ago in Lake Michigan and was a first-class delicacy. They ate thoughtfully and didn't say anything for a while.
Then Mr Krug picked up a piece of pike liver, stood up and said to Miss Clara Weber, "My dear lady, would you be willing to wear only gray costumes with ten percent white for the rest of your life?"
He ate the piece of pike liver, and Miss Amanda whispered very softly, "That almost sounds like a marriage proposal."
"That's exactly what it is!" remarked the architect.
Miss Clara also stood up and simply said, "Yes!"


Paul Scheerbart, Author

Bruno Taut, Architect


1914 Glass Pavillion, Bruno Taut / Paul Scheerbart


Immersive Music Theatre Live: THE GRAY CLOTH / DAS GRAUE TUCH
Based on Paul Scheerbart’s Novel Das Graue Tuch und zehn Prozent Weiss. Ein Damenroman. München / Berlin 1914.
Produced in English and Deutsch by Fulldome Festival Foundation, Jena 2024

Chapter 1. Chicago Glass Palace and Marriage Contract
360-Design & animation: Sergey Prokofyev
Original soundtrack: Jojo Büld
Actors: Lucie Schöne, Chriseldis Langbein, Florian Tepelmann, Amadeus Krämer
Art exhibits: Natalia Gay Pintado, Xenia Günther
Director Chapter 1: Sergey Prokofyev

Chapter 2. Airship Travel from Chicago to Borneo
360-Airship design & animation: Mohammad Jaradat
Airship sketch & modeling: Kai Ting Chang
Original soundtrack: Aurélien Bello
Director Chapter 2: Mohammad Jaradat

Chapter 3. Kinibalo Bath on Borneo Island
360-Design & animation: Chiara-Sophia Cammarota
Live music: Jojo Büld
Actors: Chriseldis Langbein, Florian Tepelmann
Director Chapter 3: Chiara-Sophia Cammarota

Airship travel from Borneo to Antarctica
Original soundtrack: Aurélien Bello

Chapter 4. Painters‘ colony in the Antarctic
360-Design & animation: Claire Dorweiler
Costume asset curation: Ece Sungur
Actors: Chriseldis Langbein, Florian Tepelmann
Director Chapter 4: Claire Dorweiler

Chapter 5. The Cosmic Postilions – Star Theater on Celebes Island
360-Design & animation: Sascha Kriegel, Claire Dorweiler
Dance of the Comets original soundtrack: Rodrigo Diaz
Dance of the Comets dome animation: Claire Dorweiler
Director Chapter 5: Sascha Kriegel

Chapter 6. From Japan to India
360-Design & animation: Mohammad Jaradat
Live music: Jojo Büld
Actors: Christel Schöne, Chriseldis Langbein, Florian Tepelmann
Director Chapter 6: Mohammad Jaradat

Chapter 7. Clara plays the Tentower Organ – North India Lightparty
360-Design & animation: Briam Rolón
Original soundtrack: Jojo Büld
Live percussion: Adalbert Böhm, Haotian Sun, Felix Graser, coordinated by Alejandro Coello Calvo, Franz Liszt Music University Weimar
Actors: Christel Schöne, Lucie Schöne, Chriseldis Langbein, Amadeus Krämer, Liese Endler
Dancers & Costumes: Modetheater Gnadenlos Schick
Director Chapter 7: Briam Rolón

Chapter 8. Ceylon – International Society for Atmospheric Research
360-Design & animation: Lan Nguyen
Construction site plans: Phan Huy Cuong
Original soundtrack: Aurélien Bello
Director Chapter 8: Lan Nguyen

Chapter 9. Aral Sea – Experimental Station for Maritime Architecture
360-Design & animation: Natasha Yiu Lok Man
Kazakhstan original footage: Natasha Yiu Lok Man
Sound Design - Maria Boua
Director Chapter 9: Natasha Yiu Lok Man

Airship travel from Aral Sea to Churiya-Muriya Islands
Live music: Jojo Büld
Director: Haoxing Li

Chapter 10. Mr. Li-Tung on the Khuriya-Muriya-Islands (1)
360-Design & ballet animation: Luka*s Friedland
Sound design: Luka*s Friedland
Director Chapter 10: Luka*s Friedland

Chapter 11. Mr. Li-Tung on the Khuriya-Muriya-Islands (2)
360-Design & kinetic glass architecture animation: Peechana Chayochaichana
Director Chapter 11: Peechana Chayochaichana

Airship travel from Churiya-Muriya Islands to Sardinia
Director: Xenia Günther

Chapter 12. Sardinia – Orchid Palace and Glass Flower Comets
360-Design & animation: Johann Karl Jasper Joesten
Original glass dream soundtrack: Aurélien Bello
Director Chapter 12: Johann Karl Jasper Joesten

Airship travel from Sardinia to Lueneburg Heath
Director: Parisa Salimi

Chapter 13. Mont Blanc light towers – End of a Marriage Contract
360-Design & animation: Haoxing Li
Light tower plans: Maria Susanne Malkow
Live music: Jojo Büld
Actors: Lucie Schöne, Chriseldis Langbein, Florian Tepelmann, Amadeus Krämer
Director Chapter 13: Haoxing Li

360-Airship design, modeling & animation:
Exterior & interior, around the world: Kai Ting Chang & Mohammad Jaradat

Airship Light & Color Signal Language
360-Design & animation: Kevin Blackistone
original ambisonic composition: Kevin Blackistone
Plans by Juyoun Oh

Transition Animations
360-Design: Thao Uyen Nguyenová

GRAY CLOTH Greenscreen Tech-Team at Bauhaus-Universität Media Point
Mohammad Jaradat, Lola Heyse, Chiara-Sophia Camarota, Haoxing Li; Kai Ting Chang, Peechana Chayochaichana, Briam Rolón, Johann Karl Jasper Joesten, Lan Nguyen, Liese Endler, Chroma Key D.P. Kevin Blackistone, Equipment director Jean-Claude Schwab

GRAY CLOTH Acting-Team / Modetheater Gnadenlos Schick
Marquise Fi - Bot - Christel Schöne
Clara - Chriseldis Langbein
Walter Löwe - Amadeus Krämer
Amanda Schmidt - Lucie Schöne
Japanische Tänzerinnen - Elena Sophie Junk Rausch , Nele Heise, Ivana Buhl, Lilia Kurz, Rebecca Heintz, Laleh Anbari
Edgar Krug: Florian Tepelmann

THE GRAY CLOTH Narration, all chapters,
English voice: Kate McKallum

DAS GRAUE TUCH Narration, alle Kapitel
Deutsche Stimme: Katja Eberhardt

Bauhaus-Universitaet Weimar Teaching Team
Immersive Media Class Towards the Immersive Gesamtkunstwerk. 2023/24: Mohammad Jaradat, Liese Endler, Kate Ledina, Prof. Micky Remann

Music director, live musician and original composition: Jojo Büld

Original Glass instrument composition: Aurélien Bello

Costume design: Modetheater Gnadenlos Schick

DAS GRAUE TUCH & Paul Scheerbart Conception Team
Micky Remann, Liese Endler, Kate Ledina, Mohammad Jaradat, Claire Dorweiler, Musia Heike Bus

Direction assistance: Lola Heyse

Photo & Video documentation: Haoxing Li, Xingyu Zheng, Peechana Chayochaichana,

Immersive overview & direction: Micky Remann

THE GRAY CLOTH team says thank you, thank you thank you!
for support and sponsorship by:

Kulturstiftung des Freistaats Thüringen
Toskanaworld AG
Zeiss-Planetarium Jena, Sternevent GmbH
Institut für Aqua Wellness Musia Heike Bus
International Planetarium Society, IPS 2024 United under the Sky
Robert Metzner and everyone from the Jena Planetarium Team
Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

Big thank you to all who stabilized the production team wirth their kindness & trust, patience & love
Special thanks and apologies to everyone we unwillingly forget to credit
Of course we thank Paul Scheerbart and Bruno Taut for building the world of the GRAY CLOTH first in their creative minds, then in our minds too.

The „credit-dome“ is modeled after the real Scheerbart / Taut‘s Glass Pavilion of 1914.
360-design, modeling and animation: Sergey Prokofyev
The prismatic dome structure oft he Glass Pavilion was a landmark at the Cologne Deutscher Werkbund Exhibition in 1914. The brightly colored glass pavilion was popular with the visitors but had to be dismantled with the outbreak of World War I.
The Taut / Scheerbart Glass Pavilion lives on as an icon of avantgarde architecture and as a reminder of a world that could have been.