KLEIST! Ob ich das will? KLEIST! Do I want to?

©3007 | Barbara Kraus

Kleist2 Vid

©3007 | Barbara Kraus

Kleist4 vid

©3007 | Schröder

Kleist5 plak

©3007 | Plakat

Kleist6 favalt


KLEIST! Ob ich das will? KLEIST! Do I want to?


Performance with Barbara Kraus

A cooperation with the Wiener Art Foundation

Should I go to Vienna?

I admit that I’d be as keen on going out in a downpour or a snowstorm on a dark night as I would be on going to that city.

Kleist, who was well travelled, never did make it to Vienna. He only visited the site of the Battle of Aspern-Essling (21–22 May 1809) together with his friend Dahlmann the day after the Austrians had defeated Napoleon. There he was mistaken for a French spy and taken prisoner, so was then happy to finally be able to leave the region around Vienna …

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30 Nov to 3 Dec 2011 at the Galerie Kunstbüro 1060 Vienna

Premiere on 29 Nov 2011


with Barbara Kraus

Adapted and directed by Sabine Mitterecker Sound by Andreas Hamza Dramaturgical consultant Uwe Mattheiss



Die Presse

Recently, the restless Heinrich von Kleist (1777–1811) finally made it to the city he’d been longing to visit: Vienna.

‘… Kleist’s last letters, which director Sabine Mitterecker’s clever Theater.punkt performance Ich bitte Gott um den Tod und dich um Geld at Amer Abbas’s gallery winds itself around, are a testament to a tremendous way of thinking …

Because Kleist found the world ‘fragile’, he had half a mind to destroy it. At one point in her cheerfully frenzied voyage through Kleist’s life, Barbara Kraus broaches the ‘luxury of affects’: only for its sake are we alive. Kleist’s calling was not to temper affects but to unleash their potential for force and violence. Kleist’s extremism teaches us how difficult it is to conceive of sincerity as a bearable fact.’

Ronald Pohl in DER STANDARD




‘It’ll be a thousand years before I’ll be understood! If only the temperature doesn’t rise!’

The 200th anniversary of Kleist’s death on 21 November 2011 prompts the director Sabine Mitterecker and the performer Barbara Kraus to turn their attention to Kleist, an extremely eloquent visionary whose rebellious and apocalyptic attitude in his literary work raises questions that remain impressively explosive and topical to this day.

Two artists come together who at first glance represent completely different ways of working. On the one hand a director who mostly takes strong literary texts, analyses their formal and historical conditions and then creates a productive connection between them and contemporary experience. For her, a good source text is a linguistic score, a composition. During rehearsals, the ‘music’ inherent in each work emerges, unfurling in the actors’ bodies and in the space. At the end of a rehearsal period, precise arrangements will have been made that guarantee the freedom to develop things further while still maintaining the ability to reproduce the overall structure.

On the other hand is the performer, who makes an analytical incision through the entire theatrical setting and integrates the reflection of the interplay and the asymmetry between performers and audience into the instance of her performance. Who probably couldn’t care less that the musical arc of the language is ‘set’ in such a way that the tension or lack thereof that has been built up is released on exactly the right beat. The underlying aesthetic and political assumptions that the theatre more or less takes for granted as a social agreement, themselves become the subject of the negotiation in the performance. By revealing the rules of the game, the ‘theatre system’ exposes itself to a productive threat. What the two artists have in common is their passion for research – exposing theatrical methods, conceiving of theatre, performance, as a semiotic system with different rules, affirming those rules, changing them, almost tearing them up without being able to repeal them entirely.

The collected works of Kleist serve as their source material, here in particular his narrative work (primarily The Marquise of O), the last two letters before his suicide, his political and essay-like writings, as well as historical and literary texts by his contemporaries.

Production Team

Assistant director Camilla Reimitz Exhibits by Christian Cerny
Artwork by 3007 Eva Dranaz/Jochen Fill

Supported by

Supported by the Cultural Affairs Department of the City of Vienna (MA7)