René Pollesch

René Pollesch - © Thomas Aurin
© Thomas Aurin

René Pollesch, born at Friedberg/Hesse in 1962, devoted himself from 1983-89 to Applied Theatre Studies at Gießen with Andrez Wirth and Hans-Thies Lehmann, and to Stage Projects with guest lecturers Heiner Müller, George Tabori, John Jesurun, and others. In 1996 he had a working scholarship with the Royal Court Theatre in London inclusive of seminars with Harold Pinter, Caryl Churchill, etc. During the 1999/2000 season he was house author at the Lucerne Theatre, and in autumn 2000 at the Deutsches Schauspielhaus in Hamburg.
From the 2001/2002 season until 2006/2007 Pollesch was artistic director of the Prater at the Berliner Volksbühne (manager: Frank Castorf). In 2002 Pollesch was voted the best German dramatist in a critics’ survey by “Theater heute”. He produces in Berlin, Stuttgart, Munich, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Vienna and Zurich.

Prizes and Awards:

  • 1997 Grant from the Akademie Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart
  • 2001 Mülheim Dramatists Prize
  • 2002 Invitation to the Mülheim Theatre Days
  • 2007 Nestroy Theatre Prize for The Purple Birthmark
  • 2012: Invitations to the Berlin Theatertreffen and the Mülheim Theatertage with Kill Your Darlings! Streets of Berladelphia

    Theatre Library - Translations

    Translated plays by René Pollesch in the Theatre Library


    Gasoline Bill

    The crisis begins with us ourselves. With the insolent gaze of the Other in the mirror, which makes plain that not inwardness but rather the external is what counts, and that the always traumatic experience of love can be endured only as long as we manage to remain strange to one another. More ...

    Kill your Darlings! Streets of Berladelphia

    René Pollesch has been talking about love in the age of capitalism in his plays ever since the 1990s. In doing so, he packages his social theories in monologues that escalate into screamed tirades, stage designs reminiscent of soap opera sets, live video streams and glittering, vulgar costumes. More ...

    Ich schau dir in die Augen, gesellschaftlicher Verblendungszusammenhang („I Am Looking Into Your Eyes, Social Blinding Context !“)

    René Pollesch developed this theatrical monologue for and together with the actor Fabian Hinrichs; the title is taken from a conference held at Frankfurt University in 2001 that featured papers on the 'constitution of the subject and production of ideology' (Ich schau dir in die Augen, gesellschaftlicher Verblendungszusammenhang: Texte zu Subjektkonstitution und Ideologieproduktion, Ventil Verlag).More ...

    Fantasma (Phantasm)

    Phantasm is a play about the experience, the wistfulness and the unpleasant after-effects of situations that have come to an end. Only when Chinese communism is suddenly replaced by capitalism can we see it clearly, can we genuinely perceive it in its absence. Precisely this paradox of ‘experience’ also confronts two lovers in the play by René Pollesch. More ...

    Cappuccetto Rosso

    In his play Cappuccetto Rosso (Little Red Riding Hood), which was premiered in 2005 at the Salzburg Festival, René Pollesch again has his tried and trusted actors from the Prater at the Berlin Volksbühne (Sophie Rois, Christine Groß, Caroline Peters, Volker Spengler), whose own identities in real life merge indivisibly with their roles or, more accurately, their existences in the play, reflect on the most varied facets of representation, whether it be in everyday life or Germans’ efforts to come to terms with their past.More ...

    Prater-Saga, 1-5

    "1000 Dämonen wünschen Dir den Tod" (i.e."1.000 Demons Want Your Death")
    "Twopence-Twopence und die Voodoothek (i.e. "Twopence-Twopence and the Voodootheque"
    "In diesem Kiez ist der Teufel eine Goldmine"
    (i.e."The Devil's a Goldmine in this quarter")
    "Diabolo - Schade, dass er der Teufel ist" (i.e. "Diablo - a Shame He's the Devil")
    "Die Magie der Verzweiflung" (i.e."The Magic of Desperation")

    René Pollesch’s social satire and theatrical soap opera “Prater-Saga, 1-5” consists of five evenings of theatre, a set of loosely interconnected plays in which he discusses a series of variations on the central themes that come up in his social criticism again and again – globalisation, capitalism and the human being as a commodity or a free individual.More ...

    Pablo in der Plusfiliale (i.e. "Pablo in the Plus")

    René Pollesch's "Pablo in the Plus" is a product of clip aesthetics, a telenovella between trash and theory, the web and advertising, based on the lurid seventies look and with that epoch's melodic sounds backing big blocks of text. No story, no subject, no offer of identification.More ...

    Prater Trilogie: "Stadt als Beute" / "Insourcing des Zuhause. Menschen in Scheiß-Hotels" / "Sex" ("Prater Trilogie: "City as Loot" / "Insourcing the Home. People in Crap Hotels" / "Sex")

    "Stadt als Beute" applies to the human organism changed utilization of redundant urban areas and their activation as real estate promising great profits: marketing as an instrument of social control.
    "Insourcing the Home. People in Crap Hotels" is based on an idea by Renate Lorenz, Brigitta Kuster, and Pauline Boudry, who rented rooms in an Office-Suite Hotel or boardinghouse, which is advertised as "Home in a Hotel".
    "Sex." What on earth is sex meant to be? What is SEX? Somehow only men seem to know.More ...

    Heidi Hoh arbeitet hier nicht mehr ("Heidi Hoh Doesn't Work Here Any Longer")

    This play follows on from "Heidi Hoh". Conditions are worse and Heidi, sitting at her PC at home, once again reflects on her work situation and the identity forced on her by a capitalism running amok. With her notebook plugged into conditions she rejects, Heidi Hoh is obsessively seeking a dream of reality. "I DON'T WANT TO LEAD THIS LIFE ANY LONGER! More ...

    List of works – Selection

    • Von einem, der auszog, weil er sich die Miete nicht mehr leisten konnte (i.e. "About Someone, who moved out, because he couldn't afoord his Rent")
      Opera together with Dirk Lowtzow
      UA 2015, Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, Berlin
    • Herein ! Herein ! Ich atme euch ein ! (i.e. "Come in ! Come in ! I Breathe You in !")
      Premiere: 2014, Schauspielhaus Zürich
    • Je t'adorno
      Premiere: 2014, Schauspiel Frankfurt
    • Cavalcade or Being a holy Motor
      Premiere: 2013, Burgtheater, Wien
    • Gasoline Bill
      Premiere: 2013, Münchner Kammerspiele
    • Cavalcade
      Premiere: 2013, Burgtheater (Akademietheater), Wien
    • The Splendours and Miseries of the Courtesans after Honoré de Balzac
      Premiere: 2013, Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, Berlin
    • Macht es für euch ! (i.e. "Make it for Yourself")
      Premiere: 2012, Schauspielhaus, Zürich
    • Neues vom Dauerzustand (i.e. "News From the Steady State")
      Premiere: 2012, Deutsches Schauspielhaus, Hamburg
    • Eure ganz großen Themen sind weg ! (i.e. "Your Really Great Subjects Are Away")
      Premiere: 2012, Münchner Kammerspiele
    • Kill Your Darlings ! - Streets of Berladelphia
      Premiere: 2012, Volksbühne-am-Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, Berlin
      Invitation to the Berliner Theatertreffen
    • Die Liebe zum Nochniedagewesenen (i.e. "The Passion For What Has never Been There")
      Premiere: 2011, Akademietheater, Vienna
    • Die Kunst war viel populärer, als ihr noch keine Künstler wart (i.e. "Art Was Much More Popular, When You Haven't Been Artists yet")
      Premiere: 2011, Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, Berlin
    • Fahrende Frauen (i.e. "Travelling Women")
      2011, Schauspielhaus Zürich
    • Was auch immer du machst, mach es nicht selbst (i.e. "Whatever You Do, Don't Do It Yourself")
      Premiere: 2011, Theater Freiburg
    • Schmeiss dein Ego weg ! (i.e. "Chuck Away Your Ego!")
      Premiere: 2011, Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, Berlin
    • XY Beat
      Premiere: 2010, Münchner Kammerspiele, Munich
    • Sozialistische Schauspieler sind schwerer von der Idee eines Regisseurs zu überzeugen (Ii.e. it's Harder to Convince Socialist Actors of a Director's Idea)
      Premiere: 2010, Schauspiel Frankfurt
    • Drei Western (Three Westerns)
      Premiere: 2010, Staatstheater Stuttgart
    • Der perfekte Tag. Ruhrtrilogie 3 (Perfect Day: Ruhr Trilogy 3)
      Premiere: 2010, Ringlokschuppen, Mülheim, coproduction with the Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, Berlin
    • Peking Opel Premiere: 2010, Burgtheater, Vienna
    • After Christa Winsloe, Mädchen in Uniform (Girls in Uniform)
      Premiere: 2010, Deutsches Schauspielhaus, Hamburg
    • Ich schau dir in die Augen, gesellschaftlicher Verblendungszusammenhang ("I Am Looking Into Your Eyes, Social Blinding Context !" )
      Premiere: 2010, Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, Berlin
    • Calvinismus Klein (Calvinism Klein)
      Premiere: 2009, Schauspielhaus Zurich
    • Cinecittà Aperta
      Premiere: 2009, Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, Berlin (Prater)
    • JFK
      Premiere: 2009, Thalia Theater, Hamburg
    • Wenn die Schauspieler mal einen freien Abend haben wollen, übernimmt Hedley Lamarr (If the Actors Want to Have A Night Off, Hedley Lamarr Will Step In)
      Premiere: 2008, Staatstheater Stuttgart
    • Ein Chor irrt sich gewaltig (A choir is totally wrong)
      Premiere: 2009, Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, Berlin (Prater)
    • Ping Pong d'amour
      Premiere: 2009, Munich Kammerspiele
    • Du hast mir die Pfanne versaut, du Spiegelei des Terrors (You cocked my pan, you fried egg of terror)
      Premiere: 2009, Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, Berlin
    • Fantasma (Phantasm)
      Premiere: 2008, Burgtheater, Vienna Invitation to the Mülheim Theatertage
    • Tal der fliegenden Messer (Valley of the Flying Knives)
      Premiere: 2008, Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, Berlin
    • Hallo Hotel Nachtportier (Hello Hotel Night Porter)
      Premiere: 2007, Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, Berlin
    • Die Welt zu Gast bei reichen Eltern (The World Visiting Rich Parents)
      Premiere: 2007, Thalia Theater, Hamburg
    • Diktatorengattinnen (Dictators' Wives)
      Premiere: 2007, Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, Berlin
    • Liebe ist kälter als das Kapital (i.e., Love is Colder Than the Capital)
      premiered at Schauspiel Stuttgart, 2007
    • Ragazza dell´ Europa
      Premiered at Teatr Rozmaitosci, Warschau, 2007
    • Solidarität ist Selbstmord (i.e., Solidarity is Suicide)
      premiered at Münchner Kammerspiele, 2007
    • Wann kann ich endlich in einen Supermarkt gehn und kaufen was ich brauche allein mit meinem guten Aussehen? (i.e., When Can I Go to the Supermarket and Buy What I need Only Because I'm Good-Looking?)
      premiered at Staatstheater Stuttgart, 2007
    • Strepitolino - i giovanotti disgraziati 
      premiered at Prater der Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, 2006
    • L'Affaire Martin! Occupe-toi de Sophie. Par la fenêtre, Caroline! Le mariage de Spengler. Christine est en avance 
      premiered at 11.10.2006, Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, Berlin
    • Das purpurne Muttermal (i.e., The Purple Birthmark)
      premiered at Akademietheater, Wien, 2006
    • Schändet eure neoliberalen Biographien
      UA Kammerspiele München, 2005
    • Cappuccetto Rosso (i.e., Cappuccetto Rosso)UA: Volksbühne Berlin (Prater)/Salzburger Festspiele, 2005
    • Häuser gegen Etuis
      premiered at Vienna's Burgtheater (Kasino), 2005
    • Die Magie der Verzweiflung (Prater-Saga 5, Regie: René Pollesch)(i.e.The Magic of Desperation (Prater Saga 5, directed by René Pollesch))
      premiered at the Prater (Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz), Berlin, 2005
    • Der okkulte Charme der Bourgeoisie bei der Erzeugung von Reichtum (i.e.The Occult Charm of the Bourgeoisie when Generating Wealth)
      premiered at the Hamburg Schauspielhaus, 2005
    • Stadt ohne Eigenschaften (i.e.City without Qualities)
      premiered at the Stuttgart Staatstheater, 2004
    • Diabolo - Schade, dass er der Teufel ist (Prater-Saga 4, Regie: Stefan Pucher) (i.e. Diablo - a Shame He's the Devil (Prater Saga 4, directed by Stefan Pucher))
      premiered at the Prater (Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz), Berlin, 2004
    • In diesem Kiez ist der Teufel eine Goldmine (Prater-Saga 3, Regie: Gob Squad) (i.e.The Devil's a Goldmine in this quarter (Prater Saga 3, directed by Gob Squad))
      premiered at the Prater (Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz), Berlin, 2004
    • Twopence-Twopence und die Voodoothek (Prater-Saga 2, Regie: Jan Ritsema) (i.e. Twopence-Twopence and the Voodootheque (Prater Saga 2, directed by Jan Ritsema)
      premiered at the Prater (Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz), Berlin, 2004
    • 1000 Dämonen wünschen Dir den Tod (Prater-Saga 1, Regie: René Pollesch) (i.e.1.000 Demons Want Your Death) (Prater Saga 1, directed by René Pollesch)
      premiered at the Prater (Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz), Berlin, 2004
    • Hallo Hotel… (i.e.Hullo Hotel ...)
      premiered at Vienna's Burgtheater (Kasino), 2004
    • Pablo in der Plusfiliale (i.e.Pablo in Plus)
      premiered at the Ruhr Festival, Recklinghausen, 2004
    • Telefavela (i.e.Telefavela)
      premiered at the Prater (Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz), Berlin, 2004
    • Bei Banküberfällen wird mit wahrer Liebe gehandelt ( Bank Robberies Are Acts of True Love)
      premiered at the Zürich Schauspielhaus, 2003
    • Freedom, Beauty, Truth & Love. Das revolutionäre Unternehmen (Freedom, Beauty, Truth & Love. The Revolutionary Undertaking)
      premiered at the Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, Berlin, 7.4.2003
    • Soylent Green ist Menschenfleisch, sagt es allen weiter (Tell everyone: Soylent Green is Human Flesh)
      premiered at the Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, Berlin, 2003
      Premiered at the Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, Berlin, 2002
    • SIE LEBEN! (They're Alive!)
      premiered as a co-production between the Theatrical Forms Festival and the Deutsches Schauspielhaus Hamburg at Brunswick, 2002
    • Der Kanditat (1980) - Arbeitstitel
      premiered at the Prater, Berlin (as a co-production with the Theaterformen Festival and the Deutsches Schauspielhaus, Hamburg), 2002
    • Erste Vorstellung (nach John Cassavetes)
      premiere: Prater, Berlin, 2002
    • Prater Trilogie. Stadt als Beute / Insourcing des Zuhause - Menschen in Scheiss-Hotels / Sex
      premiere: Volksbühne im Prater, Berlin, 2001/2002
    • Ufos & Interviews
      premiere: Luzerner Theater, 2001
    • Heidi Hoh 3 - die Interessen der Firma können nicht die Interessen sein, die Heidi Hoh hat.
      premiered at Podewil, Berlin, (as a co-production with the Künstlerhaus Mousonturm, Frankfurt), 2001
    • www-slums
      Premiere of the first part at the Deutsches Schauspielhaus, Hamburg, 2000
    • Frauen unter Einfluss
      premiere: Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, Berlin, 2000
    • Heidi Hoh arbeitet hier nicht mehr
      premiere: Podewil, Berlin (as a co-production with the Lucerne Theatre), 2000
    • Smarthouse® 1+2
      premiere: Staatstheater Stuttgart, 2001
    • Bambi Sickafossee
      premiere: Junges Theater Göttingen, 2000
    • Java™ in a box
      premiere of the first part at the Lucerne Theatre, 1999
    • Heidi Hoh
      premiere: Podewil, Berlin, 1999
    • Superblock
      premiere: Berliner Ensemble, 1998
    • Drei hyterische Frauen/Three hysterical Women/Trois femmes hystériques
      premiere: Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, Berlin, 1998
    • Pool. Snuff Comedy
      premiere: TAT, Frankfurt/Main, 1994
    • Entertaining Mr. S. - rip off
      premiere: TAT, Frankfurt/Main, 1994
    • Ich schneide schneller Version 4
      premiered at the TAT, Frankfurt/Main, 1993
    • Splatterboulevard
      premiered at the TAT, Frankfurt/Main, 1992
    • Harakiri einer Bauchrednertagung
      premiere of the Oskarnacht episode at TAT, Frankfurt/Main, 1992
      premiere of the complete text, Bremen Theatre, 2000
    • Metamorphosen (after Ovid)
      premiere: Theater der Stadt Heidelberg, 1990