by Christa Wolf
In a version by Armin Petras
Direction: Armin Petras
East Germany, 1961, shortly before the construction of the Berlin Wall. Rita Seidel wakes up in hospital following an attempt to throw herself in front of a train. As she slowly recovers, she recalls the events that led to her attempted suicide. At a village fair the young Rita meets aspiring chemist Manfred Herrfurth. The two fall in love and Rita follows him to the big city. She wants to become a teacher and, as part of her training, works in a factory that builds train carriages where contact with the workers brings about her political awakening. But as Rita becomes increasingly interested in socialist ideas and ideals, Manfred grows ever more disappointed and bitter. When state economists reject one of his developments, he decides to leave for the West. Rita follows him to the flat of his aunt on Kurfürstendamm but, during the visit, it becomes clear to her that she cannot stay there. She tries to persuade Manfred to accompany her back but he refuses and she returns alone to East Germany. A few weeks later the border is closed, Germany is divided and the lovers are permanently separated.
In his adaptation of »Divided Heaven« Armin Petras tells a moving love story set against the backdrop of the founding years of the GDR and examines a time when utopias still seemed possible.
>>> Essay about the production in Pearson's Preview: An Autopsy of the GDR: Armin Petras’ Divided Heaven
Duration: ca. 90 minutes
Premiered on 13 January 2015