Bolwieser

by Rainer Werner Fassbinder after the novel by Oskar Maria Graf
Premiere
Cuvilliéstheater
Thu 21 Nov
BOLWIESER
by Rainer Werner Fassbinder after the novel by Oskar Maria Graf
Premiere 21. November 2024
Cuvilliéstheater

Stationmaster Xaver Bolwieser believes he has found happiness in his marriage to the rich brewery owner’s daughter Hanni and their life together in provincial Bavaria. But soon the apparent idyll of their small town turns into a nightmare. Every step the young couple takes is eyed suspiciously by the neighbours and Bolwieser’s colleagues. Eventually Hanni tries to escape from her provincial prison and a monotonous marriage that has her shuttling back and forth between the bed and the stove. She wants to live!  She starts an affair, first with the publican Merkl, then with the hairdresser Schafftaler. Soon the whole town knows about Hanni’s flings – and Bolwieser is the only one who won’t admit that his marriage has failed. Blind to the truth, he even commits perjury in an effort to protect his wife from the wicked slander of their neighbours.

In his novel, Oskar Maria Graf not only recounts a tragic human story, but in the character of Bolwieser he portrays a typically conformist fellow traveller whose unqualified willingness to subordinate himself causes his own downfall. As early as 1931 – the same time that Marieluise Fleißer was writing «A Credit to the Club» – in «Bolwieser» Graf was clear-sightedly and trenchantly exposing the fertile social soil in which Nazism would grow uninhibitedly just a few years later and from which he would take refuge in exile in 1934. For Rainer Werner Fassbinder too, «Bolwieser» was far more than a domestic drama, but an example of «how Germans are predisposed, so that in them an idea like fascism, which it might be possible to argue about, leads to something like Nazism, about which there can be no argument.» Fassbinder was the outstanding protagonist of New German Cinema in the West Germany of the 1970s and 1980s. His work as a director, writer and actor provoked and delighted both audiences and critics alike.

For her production, resident director Nora Schlocker will use the adaptation by Fassbinder, who would have celebrated his 80th birthday in 2025.

Artistic Direction

Direction Nora Schlocker
Stage Design Marie Roth
Dramaturgy Michael Billenkamp