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Gertrud

schauspielfrankfurt
Based on the novel by Einar Schleef
adapted for the stage by Jens Groß

Directed by Armin Petras
Stage design Olaf Altmann
Costume design Katja Strohschneider
Video Niklas Ritter
Dramaturgy Jens Groß

Friederike Kammer Gertrud 1
Sabine Waibel Gertrud 2
Regine Zimmermann Gertrud 3
Anne Müller Gertrud 4

Premiere 21 December 2007
Length 1h 45, no interval
– with English surtitles –

Talk with the audience
Moderation Barbara Burckhardt
Tue 6 May app. 21:45

Einar Schleef’s monumental novel “Gertrud” has been adapted for the stage several times, including a version by the author himself. But this great lump of a book – that Schleef called a “pyramid for my mother” – has never before been the basis for such a stringent stage narrative. This production takes the character of Gertrud and turns it into a reflection of German history, with a lower middle-class woman from the town of Sangerhausen in a state of intense solitude, remembering the past and looking defiantly to the future. In this adaptation, Armin Petras and dramaturg Jens Groß decided to concentrate on the first half of the last century. Four marvellous actresses play four Gertruds, who confirm each other, contradict each other, and egg each other on, replaying past experience in such a way that Schleef’s stream of consciousness monologue is opened up to produce dialogue and light, intimate theatre. When the older Gertrud begins to dig around in her past and literally lifts up the floor of the stage, then the audience gains access to the broom cupboard of history where the other Gertruds dwell. Friederike Kammer plays the old woman, exhausted but defiant; Anne Müller is the youngest, full of life; Sabine Waibel dreams so comically and touchingly of the Empress Sissi; and Regine Zimmermann is also both witty and moving in her search for the right man. There are no overbearing images or ironic comments, and the production makes an imaginative use of props and of just a few videos. In presenting a search for identity this play makes for magnificent theatre with magnificent acting.