Sztuki teatralne

Winterreise (Winter Journey)en

Franz Schubert composed his Winter Journey in 1827, a year before his premature death. Elfriede Jelinek, who started learning the piano when she was five years old and later studied various instruments, has been haunted by this song cycle since her childhood. No work of art, has ever meant more to her, as she says. Now she sets out on her own 'winter journey', which leads her, like Schubert's restless wanderer, to strange and inhospitable places. However, Jelinek's journey is an inner voyage, migration as a form of passive movement, given that an anxiety disorder has forced the author to withdraw from the world over the last few years. Jelinek takes a winding route, writing her way towards the seat of pain, raising existential questions about life, love and death. At the same time, she draws on recent events, such as the abduction of Natascha Kampusch, which help her to formulate her own condition of isolation and estrangement in words. She examines her biography unsparingly – her memories of an overpowering mother and the father who suffered from dementia –, exploring areas of great intimacy.
(Deutsches Theater, Berlin)

Responses to the play:

'Estranged in the world and estranged from her own life, Elfriede Jelinek uses her new play to trace the tracks of the wanderer in Franz Schubert's Winter Journey. Her itinerary begins in the madness of the immediate present (banking scandals, abduction victims whose incarceration sends them plunging out of time) and leads ever more clearly to stations in Jelinek's biography: the complicated relationship with her mother, her father's commitment to a psychiatric hospital and the judgement, just as unsparing as it is ironic, Jelinek passes on her own role as an author who "always grinds out the same song."
Like the stretto of a fugue, Winter Journey invokes once again with impressive clarity and almost uncanny density all the themes that have engaged Elfriede Jelinek over the last few years and decades. The result is one of her most personal and touching works ever.'
(Rowohlt Theaterverlag)


'The author unfolds her poetics in this text with such mastery that it can be understood as an introduction to her whole oeuvre. What is characteristic of Elfriede Jelinek's drama is the tension between the "private" and the "political". That is to say: The topics dealt with in her plays are well known from the media but, regardless what this author writes about, it is always a Jelinekian play that emerges in the end. And regardless what masks the text assumes, it is always quite unmistakably Jelinek who speaks out of it as well. […] The essential elements of Jelinekian theatre are gathered together in this work in a compact form; in some scenes, other plays by Jelinek reverberate again like echoes. Jelinek likes to draw on iconic works by great poets and thinkers as frames of reference or templates for her texts, German philosophers for instance or Greek tragedies. This time, the "pianist" has written her way along Franz Schubert and Wilhelm Müller's life-weary song cycle Winter Journey. […]

Nor does this Jelinek play have any scenes or roles in a conventional sense; the author left dramatic form behind her a long while ago. But it has never been clearer that it is ultimately Jelinek herself who is the protagonist of her drama.'
(Wolfgang Kralicek, Mülheim Theatertage 2011 programme)

Technical data:

Premiere 3 February 2011, Munich Kammerspiele
Director Johan Simons
Personenzahl Variable
Rights Rowohlt Theater Verlag
Hamburger Str. 17
21465 Reinbek
Postfach 1349
21453 Reinbek
Telefon: +49 40 7272270
Telefax: +49 40 7272276
theater@rowohlt.de
Translations Theatre Library