BY/BASED ON BERTOLT BRECHT
Director: Christopher Rüping
Münchner Kammerspiele, 29 September, 1922, was the premiere of “Trommeln in der Nacht” (Drums in the Night). After years of captivity, a man returns to Berlin to find the city in a state of revolution. His first stop is a visit to his former lover. There, in her parents’ living room, he finds out that his beloved has just engaged another man, a war profiteer, who will one day modernise her father’s factory. In disappointment and anger, the man joins the socialist battles taking place on the streets and becomes an important figure in the Spartacist Uprising against the conservative government. The violent occupation of the newspaper district by insurgents is imminent. At that point, his beloved comes to her senses and leaves her new fiancé to woo back her former lover. Faced with the choice between his lover and the uprising, he hesitates briefly before making a decision: he chooses to desert the insurgency and go home with his lover. After “Der Spieler”, “Hamlet” and, most recently, “Miranda July’s The First Bad Man”, Christopher Rüping, the in-house director at the Kammerspiele, stages Brecht’s story that is set in a turbulent era. The fact that the premiere took place at the Kammerspiele almost 100 years ago is no more than a footnote.
At the premiere, the protagonist chose to go with his lover and deserts his fellow insurgents. But even while Bertolt Brecht was writing this play, and throughout his life from then on, he struggled with his ending of “Trommeln in der Nacht”. Should the war veteran opt for the revolution instead of his own personal happiness? In this production, Christopher Rüping poses the question: What would have happened if...?
The version BY Bertolt Brecht will be shown on: September 30, 2019
The version BASED ON Bertolt Brecht will be shown on: October 8, 2019
With English surtitles. For our seating recommendations please click here.
Tip: Scroll to the bottom of the page in order to obtain the programme as PDF.
Invited toTheatertreffen 2018
Premiere on 14. December 2017
has hit upon a resounding success with Trommeln in der Nacht, ‘nach
Brecht,’ offering a plausible way forward in dealing with the tentative
Brecht and discipline-ised Brecht. His approach is cerebral,
thoughtful, and precise yet emerges from a pure creative, artistic
instinct which has given us a Brecht we can use.“ (Culture Matters)
Bertolt Brecht’s “Drums in the Night,” (…) has been given a sweaty,
exciting and somewhat messy production at the hands of the director
Christopher Rüping at the Münchner Kammerspiel, the theater where the
play premiered in 1922. (...)
Mr. Rüping’s production shows you can
have it both ways, with two slightly altered versions (one listed as “by
Brecht”; and the other as “based on Brecht”) that alternate on the
theater’s schedule. Both versions, however, end with the plywood set
being torn down and noisily fed into a wood chipper, one the director’s
many inspired choices in this fast-moving and unpredictable staging. Mr.
Rüping has other tricks up his sleeve, which seem contrived to alienate
the audience as much as to engage with it. (...)
The small cast performs with admirable cohesion and intensity, (…).
the theater on the elegant Maximilianstrasse, Munich's Fifth Avenue,
you might feel shaken, spent or exhilerated. (...) the sense of
discombobulation that Mr. Rüping’s production leaves you with is a small
taste of what it’s like to be a stranger in a strange land.“
(New York Times)