JAHRESTAGE (Anniversaries). Part One

based on the novel by Uwe Johnson
Project by Anna-Sophie Mahler
With a reading of Uwe Johnson’s “Jahrestage” as the point of departure, director-in-residence Anna-Sophie Mahler sets out on a research excursion into the 20th century. The director and her team take an investigative journey towards the author and his novel of the century. What is the history lurking behind the story? History as well as stories about a disjointed century and a family disjointed by war and time, whose centre remains mysterious and sealed-off, somewhere between Mecklenburg and New York City.

Every morning, Gesine Cresspahl opens her newspaper outside the subway entrance. Every day over the course of a year, she makes an entry into her book, starting with a quote from the New York Times, the paper that provides daily, matter of fact coverage of wars and global upheavals from around the world. Across the muffled screams of a troubled era, the narrator descends into the quiet of memory. Memories of tempestuous anniversaries that show parallels with the present ones and are still different. The memories take on a life of their own, a character enters and exits, traversing into another time on the other side of the ocean. Through the urgent questions of the daughter and a new generation, memories acquire a new currency, surrounded by the noise of New York in the epochal year of 1967/68, in the midst of the Vietnam War and the student protests. What unfolds is a copious panorama of German-German 20th century history, a journey into the eventful New York present of the year 1968 – and at the same time, the story of a family. Stories of life in Mecklenburg during the Weimar Republic, during the time of the National Socialist regime, the Soviet occupied zone and the first years of the GDR resound and ebb away again.

How strongly do these recently concluded chapters resound in our present times? How do you process, sort and tell a story from a supposedly safe position – this complicated, interwoven family story full of cracks and subsidence in the face of a future that was as insecure in the old times as it is now? Feelings of the world’s fragmentation, of overload as well as the impossibility of illusion and utopian dreams arise. Do these continual experiences of upheaval even allow us to believe in stability?

Director-in-residence Anna-Sophie Mahler studied directing at the Hanns Eisler School of Music in Berlin. Her artistic interest is mainly focussed on experimental, and especially documentary, forms of musical theatre. She has worked as a drama and opera director at theatres including Theater Bremen, Münchner Kammerspiele or Deutsche Oper Berlin. Since 2006, she has also been working in the field of documentary theatre with her independent company CapriConnection. At Schauspiel Leipzig, she has previously staged “Eriopis – Medeas überlebende Tochter erzählt alles”, “La Bohème. Träume // Leipzig“ and “Undine”.
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Premiere on 18.03.2023
Dernière on 04.05.2024

Große Bühne


ca. 2:50, one break

Strobe lighting is used in this production.


Sonja Isemer as Gesine Cresspahl
Paula Vogel as Marie Cresspahl
Thomas Braungardt as New York Times / Uwe Johnson
Paulina Bittner as Lisbeth Papenbrock, später Cresspahl
Andreas Keller as Albert Papenbrock / De Rosny
Bettina Schmidt as Louise Papenbrock / Schwester Magdalena
Denis Petković as Horst Papenbrock / D.E. (Dietrich Erichson)


Michael Wilhelmi, Martin Wenk


Director: Anna-Sophie Mahler
Script and concept: Falk Rößler
Stage Design & Costume: Katrin Connan
Music: Michael Wilhelmi, Martin Wenk
Dramaturg: Benjamin Große
Sounddesign: Albrecht Ziepert, Rafał Stachowiak / Stachy
Light: Carsten Rüger
Theatre pedagogy: Amelie Gohla

Extended Team

Video: Kai Schadeberg
Sound: Anko Ahlert
Stage Manager: Ute Neas
Prompter: Christiane Wittig
Assistant to the Director: Johannes Preißler
Assistant stage design: Stella Vollmer
Assistant costume design: Carolin Schmelz
Make-Up: Cordula Kreuter, Julia Markow, Ute Markow
Props: André Sproete
Stage Master: Patrick Ernst
Intern Dramaturgy: Juliane Knopik, Tabea Papritz
Intern Costume: Mona Hamman
Intern stage design: Ahn Phoung-Anh Pham