after the novel by Heinar Kipphardt
in a version by David Stöhr
Direction: David Stöhr
Alexander März has spent years in a psychiatric clinic. Diagnosis: schizophrenia. Young doctor Kofler’s cautious approach enables him to gain März’s trust and he encourages his patient to write. März becomes a poet. He falls in love with fellow patient Hanna and they break out of the clinic. But then Hanna becomes pregnant and falls into a crisis. The couple returns together to the asylum where they are separated and have their child taken away from them. Insisting upon his »madness«, März refuses to function in the family, school or factory or to conform to »the torture of the competitive society«. In the end, assuming a Christ-like pose in an elderberry bush soaked with petrol, he sets himself alight.
With his international hit »In der Sache J. Robert Oppenheimer« (»In the Matter of J. Robert Oppenheimer«) dramatist Heinar Kipphardt became one of the pioneers of documentary theatre in the 1960s. Inspired by the work of schizophrenic poet Ernst Herbeck and the reports written by his psychiatrist Leo Navratil, in the 1970s Kipphardt focused intensively on the world view of a »madman«, a poetry-writing schizophrenic, but also on the human suffering in psychiatric facilities. This led to a television film, a novel and a play. With the character of März, Kipphardt – who himself worked as a doctor in the psychiatric unit of Berlin’s Charité hospital for several years – created a portrait of a highly sensitive, vulnerable man who radically questions the »normativity« of our society.
After studying directing at the »Max Reinhardt Seminar« in Vienna, David Stöhr has spent the last few years working as an assistant and co-director with Thomas Ostermeier. »März« is his first production at the Schaubühne.
Duration: ca. 105 minutes
Premiered on 13 February 2019