Spielzeit 26.08. - 09.10.

Ein Fetzen Paradies

Stories, poems and letters by Else Lasker-Schüler – Read by Elisabeth Orth

4. October

Elisabeth, referred to as Else, war born in 1869 in Eberfeld on the river Wupper; she was the youngest of six children. Her happiest memories were of the garden in Wuppertal, the wood that adjoined it, her loving parents and her favourite brother, Paul.

However she was soon to experience anti-semitism: “‘Hepp, hepp’, is what the Lutheran children shouted, until the little Catholic girls started to copy them. ‘Hepp, hepp’ according to the good and compassionate Kaplan, simply means, ‘Jerusalem is lost.’”

Else goes to Berlin to study painting and begins to write poems. Her boyish figure and her short hair make her stand out amongst artistic circles in the coffee houses of Berlin.  Her talent is extraordinary, one of the most unusual poets in the German language has entered the literary stage. She re-creates herself again and again in her poetry and paintings: she calls herself a hieroglyph, a mystic sign.  She directs herself in her own performances as Tino von Baghdad or Prinz Yussuf von Theben. Writing keeps her alive. Her poems, stories, plays and essays reveal great boldness and passion, the power of her language is unique.

Berlin also signifies the start of this great artist’s suffering: she is assaulted on the street by the National Socialists and beaten up.  Hurriedly, she leaves Germany and never returns.  She spends her last, lonely years in Jerusalem.  Bitterness and sorrow mark her poetry – as does a powerful longing for the ‘Überbleibseln Edens’, the last scraps of paradise.

A Ruhrtriennale production.