Sunday, November 20, 2011

zum 200. Todestag - Heinrich von Kleist

It is the 200 year anniversary of the German poet/writer Heinrich von Kleist's death. It ended with a carefully orchestrated murder-suicide out in Wannsee, outside of Berlin.

Kleist wasn't very well-received during his life, and only wrote a small number of plays and prose pieces, but he is very popular today among scholars of German studies, also because his writings often theorize writing itself. He has a unique style, with lots of long, complex sentences, and brutally violent scenes. If you want to read something, you can get The Marquise of O and Other Stories in English. The title story, for instance, begins with a raped woman who, finding herself pregnant, puts an ad in the paper to find the father of the baby. Yes, crazy stuff.

from Hermannsschlacht production
In honor of this anniversary, there have been lots of events going on...including a theater festival at the Maxim Gorki Theater. I went to three plays: Hermannsschlacht, Penthesilea, Die Familie Schroffenstein. I have to admit, it wasn't really my kind of theater...people stripping down naked...yelling at the audience...cutting down the script.... I'm also not a connoisseur of modern theater and don't really go to productions like this very often, so I also had trouble judging the merits of the stagings. 


Die Familie Schroffenstein

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