by Ewald Palmetshofer after Gerhart Hauptmann
Premiere 29. November 2019
3 Hours
1 Break
Recommended for ages 14 and above

Gerhart Hauptmann’s dramatic debut in 1889 led to one of the greatest scandals in German theatre history and made the twenty-seven year-old writer and subsequent Nobel Prize-winner famous overnight. Hauptmann tells of a peasant family that has rapidly found prosperity but whose social advancement has been accompanied by them becoming harder inside, and he paved the way for naturalism on the German stage.


«shocking that there aren’t better reasons for life as it is»


The Austrian dramatist Ewald Palmetshofer adopts the structure and set of characters from Hauptmann’s early work but frees this from the socio-political reality of the late 19th century and embeds his middle class family in the gloomy present of an urban conurbation. In doing so he frees «Before Sunrise» from its utopian social setting, the now outdated genetic theories and the linguistic straightjacket of its Silesian idioms. Palmetshofer’s intelligent family portrait makes broader social circumstances evident within individual crises: the irreconcilability of different ideological positions and the distortions of a neoliberal society.


«The world is changing. We experience this in new scenarios of threats to and the erosion of Western democracies, the empowerment of populists and fundamentalists, in coarsening and radicalising political speech and discourse, in the increasing polarisation of our society. Behind the civilised facade, human beings are rough, desperate, unsolidary animals.» Ewald Palmetshofer


Resident Director Nora Schlocker’s concentrated, psychologically precise production for Theater Basel was invited to the 43rd Mülheimer Theatertage NRW and the Heidelberger Stückemarkt 2018.

Transfer of the world premiere production from Theater Basel


Artistic Direction

Direction Nora Schlocker
Stage Design und Costume Design Marie Roth
Music Marcel Blatti
Lighting Tobias Voegelin,  Gerrit Jurda
Dramaturgy Constanze Kargl