Volksbühne Berlin am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz


A European tour de force adapted from a novel by Curzio Malaparte

“When Germans become afraid, when that mysterious German fear begins to creep into their bones, they always arouse a special horror and pity. Their appearance is miserable, their cruelty sad, their courage silent and hopeless. And that’s when Germans start to become a threat.”

This is how the half-German Italian Kurt Erich Suckert known as Curzio Malaparte, who was raised by foster parents (“I’m proud to be a bastard!”), has diagnosed the situation seventy years ago. Once a fervent supporter of Mussolini himself, having participated in the Black Shirts’ march on Rome in 1922, Malaparte takes part in World War II as a writer-reporter and “embedded officer” of sorts. The stuff he writes as frontline reporter for Italy’s biggest newspaper Corriere della Sera later serves as material for his novel “Kaputt”.

He is as close to the annihilating, life-destroying forces of the front industry as he is to the decadent circles of the fascist political elite. Due to his proximity to the Nazis Malaparte was discredited, just like his fellow writers Ferdinand Céline, Ezra Pound, Knut Hamsun or Ernst Jünger, but the highly controversial bestselling author keeps fascinating people. În 1989 Heiner Müller wrote the introductory preface for a new edition of Malaparte’s frontline reports published as “The Volga rises in Europe”.

“Kaputt” is a panorama of the European theatre of war during the first global civil war. It tells of the history of the Germans and whatever holds their collective psyche together “in its inmost folds” beyond moral stereotypes. And what is even more terrifying is that, like a glance through a kaleidoscope, Malaparte’s egregious and uncanny visions can shed new light on our present. In times of renewed fears of a looming disaster and threat coming from the East, Frank Castorf has rediscovered and adapted the novel for the stage.

Duration: 5h, one break



With: Jeanne Balibar (Curzio Malaparte), Margarita Breitkreiz (Marioara/ Prinzessin Eugenia von Schweden), Frank Büttner (Boxlegende Max Schmeling/ im Ritual gebärender Cicillo), Georg Friedrich (Colonel Jack Hamilton), Patrick Güldenberg (Hans Frank), Britta Hammelstein (Brigitte Frank), Horst Günter Marx (Graf Augustin de Foxa), Mex Schlüpfer (Franco Vegliani), Axel Wandtke (Kaarlo Hillilä) and Harald Warmbrunn (Haraldescu)

Director: Frank Castorf
Stage Designer: Bert Neumann
Costumes: Bert Neumann
Light Design: Lothar Baumgarte
Video: Andreas Deinert, Mathias Klütz, Jens Crull, Wolfgang Urzendowsky, Christopher von Nathusius, William Minke
Dramaturgy: Sebastian Kaiser

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Inspiration by

Sherrill Milnes / Giacomo Puccini - Minnie, dalla mia casa son partito
Aphex Twin - White Blur
North Mississippi Allstars - Rollin’n Tumblin
Wolfgang Urzendowsky - The Ulcer
Irwin Schmidt - Im Wald
Wolfgang Urzendowsky - La Peste
Ennio Morricone - Tortures
Wolfgang Urzendowsky - Slate Scratches
Wiener Glasharmonika Duo - Pari intervallo
Dea Garbaccio - Rosamunda
North Mississippi Allstars - Sugartown
Dresden Philharmonic
Orchestra / Richard Wagner - Siegfried Idyll
Krystian Zimerman / Chopin - Ballade #1 In G Minor, Op. 23
Orchestra of St. Luke's John Adams / John Adams - Fearful Symmetries
Chopin / Artur Rubinstein - Piano sonata #2, op. 35- Scherzo
Anne Schwanewilms, Falko Steinbach / Richard Wagner - Wesendonk-Lieder-Träume
Yehudi Menuhin, Glenn Gould / Arnold Schönberg - Fantasy op. 47 - Grave
Chamber Orchestra Of Europe / Alfred Schnittke - Concerto Grosso #1 – Postludio
Chamber Orchestra Of Europe / Alfred Schnittke - Concerto Grosso #1 – Cadenza
Chamber Orchestra Of Europe / Alfred Schnittke - Concerto Grosso #1 – Rondo
Chamber Orchestra Of Europe / Alfred Schnittke - Concerto Grosso #1 – Preludio
Irwin Schmidt - Exit West
Wolfgang Urzendowsky - Melting Ice
English Baroque Solists / L’Orfeo - Rosa del ciel aus L’ Orfeo Akt 1
Wolfgang Urzendowsky - Forest Of Spirits
Adrian Raso & Fanfare Ciocarlia / Adrian Raso - Café Con Leche
Adrian Raso & Fanfare Ciocarlia / Adrian Raso - Charlatans’ Waltz
Adrian Raso & Fanfare Ciocarlia / Adrian Raso - Birellis Waltz
Samy el Bably - Ana Bamasi Al Haba Doll
Irwin Schmidt - Tears
Blind Willi Johnson - Jesus Make Up My Dying Bed
Blind Willi Johnson - Dark was the night
Irwin Schmidt - Fresco und Finale
North Mississippi Allstars - Boogie
Yo La Tengo - Acera Or The Widges’ Dance
Irwin Schmidt - Flavia Theme
Ernst Reijseger - Dank sei dir Gott
Ernst Reijseger - In search of a hospital place
John Carpenter & Dave Davies - Angel Of Death
Astor Piazolla - Milonga del angel
Astor Piazolla - Verano porteno
Maria Tanase - Pana cand nu te jubeam
Fred Frith, Sally Potter - Jocob and the angel
Sebastian Piana, Homoro Manzi - Milonga triste
Basil Poledouris - Chopper
Ernst Reijseger - Child’s Footprint Duo
Wolfgang Urzendowsky - Death Throes
North Mississippi Allstars - Snake Drive