What is left to say when catastrophic developments multiply and the world as we know it is quite simply about to perish? An unnamed narrator orbits the desolated earth in a space capsule and believes himself to be in a dialogue with a female rat who tells him about the downfall of humankind and the dominance of her own species on the planet. Does the rat only exist in his dreams? On the contrary, she says: It is he, in fact, who no longer exists, just like the entire rest of humankind, who first robbed themselves of their natural resources and ultimately self-destroyed in a “Big Bang”. The rats, she assures him, have survived, just like they survived the Great Flood even though Noah refused to take them along on his Ark. And now they are about to build a civilisation of solidarity on the ruins of mankind.
Despite this post-human vision, the narrator develops his own stories. Among others, he drafts film scripts about a man called Oskar Matzerath who has become a media mogul and will soon turn 60. And so characters like Sleeping Beauty and Rapunzel, the German chancellor, the female captain Damroka, the art forger Malskat and 130 gothic punks are thrown together in a blithe polyphony. Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm collect personal data and temporarily take over governmental rule. A search for the chancellor’s children Hans and Margarethe is organised after they have run off into the woods. And a research ship that set out to sea to measure the jellyfish-density as an indicator for ecological imbalance is looking for the sunken city of Vineta as the location of a female utopia.
Throughout his life, novelist Günter Grass (1927-2015) spoke up as political moralist. His novel “Die Blechtrommel (The Tin Drum)” brought him international renown in 1959. “Die Rättin” was published in 1986, only a few months before the nuclear reactor disaster of Chernobyl. Literary critic Marcel Reich-Ranicki called the book “unpalatable”, Fritz Joachim Raddatz described it as a “prose outline of nothing less than explosive imagination, a prophecy of doom of secular dimensions”. In 1999, Günter Grass was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.
This dispute between the rat and the narrator marks the point of departure for this production by Leipzig’s director-in-residence, Claudia Bauer
, who will open the 2021/22 season on the Main Stage. Andreas Auerbach and Vanessa Rust, her established creative team, will design the set and costumes. Most recently, they have worked together at Schauspiel Leipzig on “Meister und Margarita
” and “Süßer Vogel Jugend (Sweet Bird of Youth)
” (invited to the 2020 Berlin Theatertreffen). The production’s musical director Hubert Wild is also well-known at this theatre: You know him as the director of the David Bowie-musical “Lazarus
”, as musical director of productions including “Wolken.Heim
” or as a singer in the musical theatre project “La Bohème. Träume // Leipzig