freely after Ödön von Horváth
Direction and Set Design: Herbert Fritsch
Ödön von Horváth. All his life fascinated by spooky phenomena and ghostly visitations, bizarre symptoms and strange accidents. Born in Fiume (now Rijeka) in 1901, died in Paris in 1938. Killed by a falling branch of a chestnut tree hit by lightning. The irony: two days previously a fortune-teller had prophesied »the greatest adventure« of his life. Horváth’s death had something of a strictly artistic consequence. It integrates quite organically into his work which »frequently jumps over the fence to the hereafter with a boisterous leap«. And in fact his characters, whether underprivileged young women or sanctimonious widows, messed-up intellectuals, Casimirs and Carolines, coppers or cutters, are all tinged with an air of melancholy, a sense of longing and, whenever there is nothing to help them here on earth, a tendency to gaze up at the stars. Or at the zeppelin that is sailing effortlessly by. And the zeppelin, the »flying aluminium sausage«, the quietly whirring colossus, this magical flying machine, is a symbol, a fetish, an idol, a kaleidoscope of contradictions and double standards, wonders and phantasmagorias. And Horváth’s characters are in everything – their speech and action – actually quite different, but so rarely have the time to show it. »Zeppelin« is Herbert Fritsch’s first production for the Schaubühne and the start of a regular cooperation. Fritsch works with texts from Horváth’s estate, ranging from bizarrely adventurous farces and magical tales to the preliminary sketches for his famous folk plays. And Horváth will be recounted here, only in quite a different way.