Travelling on One Leg
by Herta Müller
adapted for the stage by Katie Mitchell and Rita Thiele
Running time: One hour, 30 minutes, no interval
If you only have one leg, you have to hop to move forward. 1987. For political reasons, artist Irene leaves her dictator-led Eastern European home country behind. Taking with her just a single suitcase she heads for West-Berlin. She hopes for a new life, but even the Golden West can’t help her get another foot on the ground. Placed in a refugee camp, she has to suffer painstaking interrogation by the secret service and immigration authorities. She sees: Armed border control soldiers along the Wall, brash advertising which stands in stark contrast to the poverty in the streets, and the cracks and coldness in human relationships. She tries to decipher the fragments of her perception in conversations with herself. The only thing that appears real is her longing for Franz, a German soldier whom she met on his holiday by the Black Sea. But real closeness to him remains a fiction, and so does a Germany that she might call home. Herta Müller herself is of Romanian-German origin and migrated to West-Berlin in 1987. In this novel she focuses for the first time on the issue and perspective of a foreigner’s arrival, using a masterfully associative language to depict her main character’s inner conflict. In 2009 Herta Müller was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Listen to excerpts from the production in our podcast.
Directed by Katie Mitchell Assistant Director: Lily McLeish Set Design: Alex Eales Costume Design: Laura Hopkins Lighting Design: Jack Knowles Sound Design: Melanie Wilson, Donato Wharton Video Director: Grant Gee Video Design: Ingi Bekk Camera Operators: Sebastian Pircher (impulskontrolle), Christin Wilke Composition: Paul Clark Dramaturgy: Rita Thiele