Music theater by Wolfgang Böhmer and Martin G. Berger, adapted from »Eine Mordgeschichte« by Tankred Dorst in cooperation with Ursula Ehler
World premiere on January 31, 2019 with additional performances through March 3
How can she does this to him, Mr. Steinheuer? He has such a good soul and so much authority as a teacher. And she’s a wife and mother! People are saying she’s having an affair with Mr. Dechant, the music critic, in his apartment with the blue window frames. And with Mr. Griebel, the electronics wholesaler. And Mrs. Hallwachs, the surgeon’s wife, said…
The whole city is talking about Elfie. But she really doesn’t care. Because it’s not true, because no one understands, because no one is interested in what drives and what suffocates her about these people and this city. How quickly one is used who doesn’t behave “according to the rules”, who seeks closeness, where distance is expected and mediocrity has become the norm. How quickly is someone like that “washed up”, all the way at the bottom of the ladder (or even dead)? With her individuality, her moods and provocations, the teacher’s wife Elfie Steinheuer asks the question of how much freedom can we bear, as individuals and as a society.
Written in the 1980s, Tankred Dorst and Ursula Ehler painted an impressive portrait of German middle class society and alluded to Georg Büchner’s Woyzeck, except her the focus was placed on the wife. As happened so often with Dorst’s work, the piece was adapated numerous times; one version celebrated its world premiere as Die Freude am Leben (The Joy in Life) in 2001, an earlier version was written as a screenplay with the title Eine Mordgeschichte (A Murder Story).
The text came to us in this form. Bernhard Glocksin, artistic director of Neuköllner Oper and a year-long friend of the authors, had it pressed into his hands with a smile one day: Would you like to read it? I didn’t even remember that we had written it…” And asked if he would like to read it. Such material with characters and dialog like this belong on stage, at best in the form of music theater. And in the hands of a successful team, like the one who created Stella. Martin G. Berger transformed the screenplay into a dense libretto focused on eight characters that Wolfgang Böhmer translated into diverse, atmospheric, vivid music. With Elfie, we pay tribute to the playwright who left us in the summer of 2018 and was long-time friend, loyal visitor and, yes, we’ll go ahead and say it, fan of Neuköllner Oper.
Tankred Dorst/Ursula Ehler What a body of work: almost 50 plays, prose, screenplays, liberetti (Yolimiba was produced at the NO, music by Killmayer), over the decades one of the leading voices in German drama and produced throughout Germany and around the world, directed by the greatest in the field (Zadek, Chereau, Wilson and many others). They expanded the genres named diversely with prose, surrealism, poems, songs, directed themselves, including the Ring Cycle in Bayreuth, 2006 – 2010, and, as a writing team, always served as supporters and teachers of the next generation. Martin G. Berger Director of the prize-winning Stella and popular guest at numerous German theaters and, amongst other honors, nominated for the Faust Prize. Wolfgang Böhmer For non-Berliners: one of the leading and most diverse composers at the Neuköllner Oper with hits like Das Wunder von Neukölln, Leben ohne Chris, and Stella, recognized as “The Best Musical of 2016”. He’s already been around the block with Dorst.
Composed by Wolfgang Böhmer | Text Written and Directed by Martin G. Berger | Music Direction by: Oliver Imig | Dramaturgy by Bernhard Glocksin | Scenography by Sarah Karl | Video by Roman Rehor
Featuring: Jana Degebrodt, Regine Gebhardt, Clemens Gnad, Inka Löwendorf, Guido Kleineidam, Isabella Köpke, Victor Petitjean, David Schroeder