Skip to main content



Transcript: On the Way to a Theater of Darknesses

Running Text
The dramatist Heiner Müller heads the "Berliner Ensemble" / Theater, he says, manufactures narratability / It has the task of burying the dead / Misfortune must be repeated in the theater until this misfortune becomes tired / The thirteenth labor of Heracles-\-
Intertitle
On the way to a theater of darknesses / Heiner Müller on the statement: "The theater must bury the dead"
Kluge
What would you do if you had time to write?
Müller
I've started to write a play, and I would finish that, or rather I will finish it as soon as I have time, I work on it a little bit now and then. And naturally it's developing in my head. And then there's a problem, I've promised to write a libretto for Boulez, and that still doesn't exist. He's just turned 70, so it's rather urgent.
Kluge
Musical theater?
Müller
Yes, he'll need a lot of time to compose that. That takes longer than writing. It also takes longer in a purely technical sense. And I'm really preoccupied with it. At first I had the idea, we've already talked about this, of doing a version of the Oresteia. I'm no longer sure if that's worthwhile and if it's the right thing to do.
Kluge
In the form of a digest, a concentrated form.
Müller
Yes, and in the meantime I've returned to something that's preoccupied me for a very long time. The Heracles story, in the version by Seneca. And I've already attempted to work with that figure often enough. But I always had something like Heracles 13 in mind, the thirteenth labor of Heracles, the liberation of Thebes from the Thebans. And the metaphor for that is this story of how he kills his children in a fit of madness.
Kluge
Which is the reason he performs all his labors. He has to submit, like a slave, to the authority of a king in order to do penance for this act which, furthermore, he did not commit of his own volition. Hera puts it into his head as a form of madness.
Müller
There are notes about this from very early times. What always interested me was that there is, for example, a Heracles festival every year during which his labors are performed and acted out, represented, and suddenly he thinks that it's real, what's being performed there, and now he thinks every third Theban is the Nemean Lion, or the Erymanthian boar, or whatever.
Kluge
And he commits his acts of heroism against his own population.
Müller
And constantly discovers what are basically reincarnations of the monsters he has slain.
Intertitle
Madness as the final phase: Heracles as an intelligence of force.
Müller
That's really a whole bundle of things. You're familiar with this text in Zement, Heracles and the Hydra, in which it turns out that he is the Hydra. So identification with the opponent, with the enemy, the way one eats the enemy in order to become the enemy, and so on. The comic, optimistic GDR version in the Heracles play, with the Augean stables. But what I found more important was this madness as the final phase.
Kluge
He's not a devious hero, like all the others.
Müller
He's a dumb hero.
Kluge
An industrious, a productive hero. That also involves intelligence.
Müller
Yes, but it's a peasant's intelligence.
Kluge
An intelligence of force.
Müller
Yes, yes.
Kluge
He wants to do his labors well. That's a really difficult myth, difficult to understand. They say that he founded the Olympic games, which then extended until 1936. They say that he suffered a painful death.
Müller
That reminds me of something strange, since you mention '36. In Soviet mythology, if you want to call it that, posters, agitational texts, images, the figure of Heracles appeared all the time, Heracles as the embodiment of the proletariat, of the world proletariat, even in battle against the Hydra of capital or of imperialism. That's depicted on posters. It's completely inconceivable, that occurs to me with reference to '36, that the Nazis would have used such a figure. But why?
Kluge
Nowhere do the Nazis have a strong man who [unintelligible] a multi-faceted . . . .
Müller
They didn't use any figures from antiquity.
Kluge
Siegfried, yes. But not from antiquity. In France, by contrast, it would have been possible, without too much ado, to adorn a poster from 1936, "Our Steel Industry," with an ancient hero. The Nazis also didn't use Icarus, or Daedalus. But we have different heroes here. Wieland the Smith would work for us.
Müller
But no one is familiar with him.
Kluge
No one is familiar with him. But let's return to Heracles. He's a descendant of Alcmene and of Zeus, and already as a small child he kills important snakes, dangerous snakes. And the conflict is similar to the one in Wagner's Ring, the maternal goddess persecutes him with madness and punishments and crabs that pinch him on the heels, while the paternal god favors him. And this conflict remains unresolved.
Intertitle
"To what figure from antiquity would you compare Stalin?"
Kluge
Did Stalin know anything about any ancient heroes? Jason, Odysseus?
Müller
Yes, he knew about Zeus, and especially about Zeus's goal of creating a new humanity by exterminating the old one, which is also what the Biblical God wanted to do. And that, if you want to look at it that way, was Stalin's idea: One has to exterminate the old man, so that the new man can arise.
Kluge
Whom would you compare to Heracles?
Müller
Kirov rather than Stalin.
Kluge
Ah, yes, he gets killed. But united labor power, there's something to that. That's something that could be afflicted with madness, that could get tricked into donning a Shirt of Nessus so that it burns all over.
Müller
Would you like a water?
Kluge
Thank you. Now you have a second telescope, if you want to put it that way, named Seneca. You don't look at this material directly, it's not about how you, as Heiner Müller, see Heracles, or about the way you think Boulez can set that story to music, but instead you always see it through the lens of Seneca's adaptation. What did Seneca write? Has it been preserved?
Müller
The interesting thing about Seneca in relation to the Greek dramatists is that his plays were designed to be read, Seneca's plays, they were read aloud.
Kluge
They weren't performed, they were closet dramas . . .
Müller
And Elizabethan drama is actually based on the misconception that these dramas were written to be performed. They knew Seneca, but not Sophocles, Aeschylus, Euripides. And in Seneca the atrocities take place on the stage, precisely because the plays didn't need to be performed. And in the Greek plays, they take place off stage. There are just reports by messengers about the violence. And that's the interesting thing about Seneca, that the violence takes place on an imagined stage.
Kluge
And that's the first thing that excites you.
Müller
Yes, yes. And there's something else. The events become total language in Seneca, for example, if you think of Seneca's Medea. The conclusion is Latin, Jason cries Medea's name after she has killed the children. And she says: Fiam.
Kluge
What does that mean?
Müller
"I will become it." That's an event that can't be represented, except in language.
Intertitle
"Down with tragedy\! / Long live drama\!" Victor Hugo
Kluge
There's a sentence by Victor Hugo: "Down with tragedy, long live drama." You write about Pushkin's short dramas here - what is that? - as a form that you could emulate.
Müller
Well, I think they arose out of the lack of a theater, or out of the difficulty of finding a stage for what he wanted to write. And that gives rise to this compromise, the laconism of these short dramas, which are of course influenced by the French drama, the tragédie classique and so on.
Kluge
. . . they originally lasted four hours, and he made one act plays out of them . . .
Müller
The Russian short form . . . That's a problem . . . I can't even tell you why, for one thing I get bored very quickly, especially in the theater. Almost every evening at the theater is too long for me, because too much time is spent on events that one could deal with in five sentences.
Kluge
And too little time is spent on the tableaus. Once one has achieved the feeling that a conflict has arisen and that the momentum is building, one wants to have a plateau.
Müller
And it's interesting, for example, that if you start with a structure like that of a Seneca play, you get to tableaus much more quickly, to stationary images. Then music is once again a means of letting images remain in place for a long time. That would interest me. Boulez, too, is primarily interested in the dimension of time when he composes.
Intertitle
Compromised time: Short dramas, tableaus, "stationary images"
Müller
Time can be stretched, it can be compromised through time-lapse techniques or slow motion, and those are the spaces in which music becomes important for drama.
Kluge
So that you really first have to write such a piece as a libretto, so that it lasts a certain amount of time, long enough that it's worthwhile driving to the theater from the spectator's perspective. After that you can turn things over to the music, form concepts, speeches and responses to these speeches unfold and remain in the tableau, in a stationary image, for a long time. And then one has to have a swan song at the end.
Müller
You know this story of Wilson's . . .
Kluge
No. The president? Ah, right, Bob Wilson . . .
Müller
. . . that he especially likes to tell when he's asked about the roots of his conception of the theater. Then he almost always talks about these experiments that American doctors or psychologists performed on women, mothers, who are holding their newborns in their arms. And if you run the films that they made in slow motion, you suddenly see that these mothers are eating, that this kissing and fondling and caressing is cannibalistic. You only see that in slow motion. It's a different process then, it's broken down into moments and it's a completely different picture.
Kluge
That's a mischievous observation. There's a film by Wertow, Lullaby for Lenin, and it consists entirely of mothers with their children. Occasionally there's a glimpse of Stalin. But really it's a picture about mothers and their children. And you say that that's cannibalistic in nature, as soon as one watches it at the right speed.
Müller
In slow motion.
Kluge
In slow motion, that would be the right speed, because time slows down during interactions between mothers and children.
Intertitle
The Shock of Brevity / Laconism
Müller
There are such different experiences. I would like sometime to do or to see a theater production that really only lasted a quarter of an hour or five minutes, that would be interesting. There was a performance by Schleef in Frankfurt, I think, it was a play by him, modeled on Gorky's Night Asylum, I don't remember the title, but it doesn't matter. It started with the final scene of Hamlet. Staged simply and very beautifully, with splendid costumes. The scene lasted for five minutes, and then there was an intermission. Then the play lasted two hours, or almost three hours. That was interesting simply as a shock effect, that was a completely different way of perceiving and a completely different experience of the theater because of this short first half and then the intermission. And then it lasted interminably long. That was interesting, that was a displacement, a transformation of perception.
Kluge
So that one experiences the three hours in the intensified time of this beginning, this first play.
Intertitle
Hamlet in Real Time / Beginning: Appearance of the Ghost around Midnight / End: The Break of Dawn
Müller
[It started] at around midnight with the appearance of the ghost and ended in the morning at around seven. Those were the best performances. People left the theater and it was morning.
Kluge
That means that Hamlet was performed in real time, if you want to put it that way, without omissions at the beginning, and that it lasted through the night.
Müller
Yes. There were three intermissions, and hence it was no longer theater. There was also a completely different audience, the audience naturally consisted almost entirely of young people, because people over forty don't go to the theater at midnight and leave at seven in the morning. Those were young unemployed people, for the most part, or people who could afford to do that sort of thing. And it was a completely different atmosphere, for the first time in the history of theater in the GDR people also drank and ate during the performance. At first there was a lot of excitement, because women, the cashiers, tried to prevent it, tried to prevent people from drinking a cola or whatever. It was impossible to enforce that, though, and then it was gradually accepted that one could do that, because it was lasting so long. And hence it was a happening and no longer a theater performance.
Intertitle
Luigi Nono's Project: Capital, an Opera in Five Acts
Müller
Nono had the idea of composing Capital, turning it into an opera.
Kluge
Marx's Capital?
Müller
Marx's Capital, yes.
Kluge
What does money sound like?
Müller
The problem is, what does money sound like, yes.
Kluge
So if you count bills . . .
Müller
How does capital sing, yes . . .
Kluge
So the commodity and the value of commodities and commodity fetishism, that can develop a high degree of coloratura. It can develop many overtones, many secondary tones. So it's very promising material.
Intertitle
Capital by Luigi Nono The first fragment of the libretto for Pierre Boulez: Heracles
Kluge
You mentioned the first fragment of this libretto, which can be an opera if Boulez composes it that way, but it won't be very long then?
Müller
What would interest me would be to have the scene from Canova as the first image. Heracles has killed his children, they're dead. And their grandfather still stands in a defensive posture, their mother also, and the next variation would then be that the children are alive again, and we show how he kills them. And we would show that maybe five times.
Kluge
So that you keep resurrecting the hope that they might not be killed, just as here at the Russian opening hope is really the dramatic point. The hope that the execution will not take place. A happy recognition as the highest tragic form, and then the tragedy occurs nonetheless.
Müller
Yes. You know that comes from Ambrose Bierce.
Kluge
No, I didn't know that.
Müller
I don't remember what the story's called. It's the description of an execution, someone is being hanged on a bridge. And he experiences what it would be like to survive, and then he hangs.
Kluge
The story takes place during the American Civil War?
Müller
Yes. That's where it begins . . .
Kluge
He experiences his entire rescue as if in a dream, swims away in the river, and then at the end he hangs?
Müller
Yes. The American Civil War is in any case a very decisive date, I think, for all European wars.
Kluge
And now it comes about that this madness grips Heracles repeatedly: Do you take a position on the issue of whether the goddess causes this madness? Where does it come from, this madness?
Müller
That doesn't really interest me, actually.
Kluge
That he has to kill that which is dearest to him.
Müller
Yes, my idea was really always that he, after he had killed so many enemies, monsters, etcetera . . .
Kluge
. . . he can't refrain from it.
Müller
. . . After he had freed Thebes from these enemies, he sees them everywhere, after his victory. They reemerge everywhere and . . .
Kluge
Just as, after working on an assembly line, one's muscles continue to twitch, so now, afterward, comes . . .
Müller
There's a Noh play that I always wanted to put on or adapt. It's a kind of model, Kumasaka I think it's called. It's the story of a very famous bandit who is constantly ambushing caravans, trade caravans that are passing through carrying whatever commodities. And these Noh plays always take place in the afterlife, they always deal people who have to finish something or work through something. And he has to constantly reenact the big scene in which he's slain by one of these traders, he has to constantly reenact that until he no longer has any desire to ambush the caravan and kill the people. He has do that until he no longer has any desire.
Kluge
In this way a catharsis comes about. The actor performs the same thing over and over, until he no longer has any desire . . .
Müller
. . . he has to do it until he no longer has any desire to do it.
Kluge
The audience enjoys watching this tragic art fully exhaust itself before the eyes of the spectators.
Müller
That would really be a task for music, this exhaustion.
Kluge
So that you are now no longer constructing a drama, like a good theater entrepreneur in the nineteenth century, but rather dismantling one.
Müller
That's really what I was getting at with my text Description of a Picture [Bildbeschreibung] Explosion of a Memory was the English title, because there was no English title for it. Description of a Picture is boring as an English title. And then Explosion of a Memory occurred to me as a title for the English version. For the French version it was something else again, it was Landscape under Surveillance. And it's really a matter of processes repeating themselves endlessly.
Kluge
And they repeat themselves with variations until they're reduced to zero, until I am able to remove a behavior the way one removes makeup.
Intertitle
Explosion of a Memory - Description of a Picture
Müller
Yes, Explosion of a Memory can be read as a reworking of Alcestis. It is also a play about Heracles that cites the Noh play in Kumasaka, the eleventh book of the Odyssey, and Hitchcock's The Birds. The text describes a landscape that exists in the afterlife. The plot is arbitrary, because the consequences are already past. The explosion of a memory in a dead, traumatic structure.
Intertitle
"In a dead, traumatic structure"
Kluge
A dead traumatic structure.
Müller
Yes, yes.
Kluge
When you say: Stalin's empire, Hitler's empire, could you use the repetition of an arbitrary plot dealing with past events to confront such an experience, in which the most painful thing is that the experience of history has disappeared along with history itself, so that there's no way to even talk about it any longer? Nothing has been dealt with, it's impossible to have understood it, one can't say that one has understood it all. And at the same time: It's impossible to narrate it. And this would be the reestablishment of narratability, because I now repeat it over and over in the form of arbitrary particles. One time with music, one time with sound, one time with speeches, one time with silence. So a part of the opera could be played by deaf mutes?
Müller
Yes, yes, yes.
Kluge
And an opera with deaf mutes would be an excellent opportunity for music. No voice would interrupt it. And the singers are united as members of the orchestra, buzz or hum and so on, and it sounds fascinating, but it's on an equal footing with the orchestra parts. Does it matter to you that people, as can be said about the case of Oedipus . . . People like Freud, who have interpreted that psychologically, say that Oedipus occurs in us. Orestes, too, could occur in us. The Trojan War is a war of extermination of the kind we're familiar with. What is Heracles? Is he a productive human being? Being Zeus's son is an imperceptible quality. Sailing with Jason, that's nothing exhaustive.
Müller
This Heracles figure is really only dramatically interesting in terms of the ending, if one takes this period of madness, this murder of the children, and his own suicide as the ending . . .
Kluge
. . . on the funeral pyre.
Müller
On the funeral pyre, yes.
Kluge
Whereby no one dares kill him. You have something like that in this Stalin text: Stalin orders: Kill me, and they would suspect a trap and not obey. That's one of the few cases in which they would not obey. And so no one obeys Heracles as he's lying on the funeral pyre and finds his wounds from the Shirt of Nessus unbearable. And he would like to die, and no one lights the thing. A dumb shepherd, who doesn't see the danger, is finally prepared to do it, allows himself to be persuaded, and he receives two gifts, the poisoned arrows and the Shirt of Nessus, which is to say that things are not going to turn out well for him. Would you interpret it that way, that that's Stalin in that case?
Müller
Yes, yes.
Kluge
Before the madness causes him to kill his own children, would you say that he built a kind of a dam there in the Ukraine, a kind of giant dam with marble and temples, that he built the garden ring and these high-rises, that he - and so on . . . Those aren't really evil deeds, but rather they are like the victory over this lion.
Müller
. . . the monster . . .
Kluge
. . . the monster.
Müller
Yes. It's like what Hitler said to Paul Wegener: My power does not consist in exhaling, but rather in inhaling. I inhale the crowd.
Kluge
Did Hitler say that?
Müller
Hitler said that, yes.
Kluge
He spoke with actors about professional matters . . .
Müller
Yes, he spoke with Paul Wegener about acting problems, yes.
Kluge
With regard to the difference between Stalin and Hitler . . . In your drama you deal with both of them, and as is fitting for a dramatist, you transform them into a kind of romantic couple, and also a couple bound to each other by hate. If you take the two industrial societies and interpret Germany in terms of Hitler as a medium and the Soviet Union or Russia in terms of Stalin, what's the difference, very generally speaking?
Müller
The strange thing is first of all that . . . perhaps it's something really dumb, but the first thing that occurs to me is that when one compares the two or looks at them in relation to industry, Hitler actually had a more archaic relationship to industry than Stalin. Stalin could use technology.
Kluge
It was new for him . . .
Müller
It was new for him, and it was a plaything. And for Hitler it was really something foreign.
Kluge
And something that he could actually reject, as in the case of chemistry.
Müller
I would think that Stalin would not have reacted in the same way to the discovery of nuclear fission. He would have understood it. And Hitler didn't understand it. Which was also a piece of good fortune. I think that that's a difference, Hitler comes from a Catholic world, perhaps that plays a role. And he's much more mother-oriented and much more determined by his mother than Stalin is. Stalin probably had a much more relaxed relationship to his mother than Hitler did. Fine, she sent him packages, but that was the normal relationship between a Georgian and his mother. But in Hitler's case it's much tenser, more neurotic. Stalin learned a great deal from Hitler, Kirov's murder and everything that came after it he actually learned from Hitler. Hitler, though, had learned it from Mussolini, he probably didn't come up with it himself. There's a story, you surely know it, that Mussolini instructed Hitler by quoting Machiavelli and Nietzsche to him: The first people you have to get rid of are those who brought you to power, those who helped you come to power, they must be liquidated first. That probably would not have occurred to Hitler, he learned it from Mussolini, by way of the education he received from Mussolini. And Stalin then learned it from Hitler.
Intertitle
"The final victor is death---" (Stalin)
Müller
The other thing I've always really liked is this statement that de Gaulle quotes. It's a favorite saying of Stalin's, and in this book by Malraux, Last Interviews with de Gaulle, de Gaulle cites Stalin to this effect. He says that Stalin told him: "The final victor is death." Or: "The only victor is death." That's a statement that Hitler could not have made.
Kluge
"The final victor is death." Why couldn't Hitler have said that?
Müller
Because Hitler's goal was basically to achieve everything in his lifetime. There was no future. Everything had to take place in his lifetime. And that's probably also why he fascinates a generation that is now growing up with the feeling that there's no future. Hitler was completely oriented towards the present, there's only the present, and afterwards there's nothing. Afterwards there's only the dead, and beforehand, too.
Intertitle
Text fragments by Heiner Müller: "Goebbels Appears as Medea" / Hitler's Final Words
Kluge
Here you have a text, I think you've brought it directly from your desk, in which Goebbels appears as Medea, who has killed her children, and Hitler appears with a rather long monologue, is it fair to say that?
Müller
Yes, yes. Really it's a speech. There was this scene in the Reich Chancellery when Hitler received the women who had worked for him to say his farewells . . .
Kluge
. . . his secretaries, Wolf, Junge . . . He says farewell.
Müller
. . . and there's also a report that they started dancing after he disappeared into his bunker, I found that really strange somehow, and that's what the text is based on.
Kluge
Could you read it aloud?
Müller
Goebbels: "Those were my children My future / I have slaughtered them They are gone / We leave behind what comes after us / The future our enemy Victory is ours." He dies. So Goebbels dies. And earlier Stalin had appeared, and there was a similar text, and Stalin exited laughing. Hitler: "Rattenhuber, the gasoline, and please ask the ladies to come to me." Rattenhuber exits, ladies, Rattenhuber with cans of gasoline. Hitler: "Ladies. I thank you all for the work you have loyally performed, what would life be without the loyalty of women, I will not speak about death for the sake of my service to Germany, which perishes with me." Stage direction: The sound of artillery, detonations. "You are hearing the triumph of the subhumans, who are entering their period of dominance. The subhumans have proven themselves to be stronger. Mankind may perish. I am, as you know, the overman. I have done what I could to exterminate mankind, which is overrunning the planet. After me, others will come and continue my work. I will leave this world, which has become too small for me, along with Miss Eva Braun, whom I married an hour ago, here is the marriage certificate signed by Mr. Richard Wagner." The registrar really was named Wagner, just not Richard, but I think that one can make this leap. "Signed by Mr. Richard Wagner, please examine his signature, so that heaven and hell cannot separate us, because your hands are clean and my hands are bloody just as the hands of all the great men of history are bloody. Alexander Caesar Napoleon Frederick the Great softly: Stalin. On a historical scale, blood is a better fuel than gasoline, it leads to eternity, and loyalty is the core of honor. I return to the dead who bore me. Jesus Christ was a son of man, and I am a son of the dead. I have had my astrologist shot, Mr. Friedrich Nietzsche, so that he will precede me in the Kingdom of the Dead, which is the only reality, and whose representative on earth I have been. My program will live on: Against the lie of life that is communism EVERYONE OR NO ONE the simple, folksy truth THERE'S NOT ENOUGH FOR EVERYONE. Against the lying palaver of the priests LOVE YOUR ENEMIES the honest commandment of my German catechism ANNIHILATE THEM WHEREVER YOU FIND THEM. I have chosen Europe as my funeral pyre. Its flame will release me from my duties as a statesman. I die as a private citizen. But the smoke of the burning cities will carry my fame around the earth and the ash from the crematories will darken the heavens. My monument, which the wind will carry after me to the stars. For the fame of the dead man's deeds lives eternally, as the Edda already says, the holy book, the Bible of the North. Long live the German Shepherd." Shoots his dog. Ladies: "Heil Hitler." Hitler exits, two shots. The ladies dance to Wagner's Twilight of the Gods before the backdrop of the burning capital.
Kluge
If you were now to see that acted out by Japanese actors, that would move into an enormous distance, and the moment it moves into the distance in this manner you can deal with it again, and it once again becomes this healing course that you repeat until Hitler really dies. Basically, he was never properly buried. He was really buried in the form of a radio report. And is it really necessary that someone in whom so many exaggerated hopes, but also so much real trust was invested, is it necessary that he should also really die and be buried according to a ritual? One has to place a stone on top of him, so that he can't, so to speak, become a leader of the dead.
Müller
Yes, yes. Basically, if you were to imagine we lived in Africa, then Hitler would be buried every year, we would bury a copy of Hitler or a Hitler doll every year. We would do it until it started to bore everyone, until no one came to this event any longer. That would really be the solution.
Kluge
That's really what the theater should do.
Müller
It has to bury the dead . . .
Kluge
It shouldn't artificially provoke the conscience, but rather bury the dead, bury the unsolvable traumatic experiences, not solve them.
Intertitle
A text from 1956: The Three Widows
Müller
Yes, clearly, clearly.
Kluge
There's a text by you in which you describe 1956. Could you describe that?
Müller
It's . . . Which one do you mean?
Kluge
The Three Widows. It's about Brecht, and it's outlined here.
Müller
Yes. It's a true story, it comes from Fritz Cremer. Fritz Cremer, the sculptor, did a death mask of Brecht and also made his coffin, Brecht wanted a coffin made of steel.
Kluge
He arranged for all of that in advance.
Müller
Yes. In his will he also requested that he be stabbed through the heart, like Nestroy and Raimund, I think.
Kluge
What do you mean by stabbed through the heart?
Müller
Well, so as not to be misdiagnosed as dead. So as to have a guarantee that he would not be buried alive. Apparently that has been a great fear of German writers since Schubart. You know, Schubart was in prison for I don't know how many years, twelve or so, on the Hohenasperg, or even longer. And when they cleared the cemetery much later, they discovered that his coffin had been completely scratched up from the inside, Schubart's coffin, that's really macabre, to be buried alive after having already spent twelve years in prison.
Kluge
And now there's this story here, the three widows are conferring, Harich has been arrested, what can they do?
Müller
And then Fritz Cremer comes, the sculptor who had made the first model of the steel coffin.
Kluge
. . . from the steel factory . . .
Müller
. . . it was made in the steel works at Henningsdorf. He came with two workers, he had forgotten to take measurements, he didn't know if Brecht would fit inside. You remember Wallenstein, whose legs had to be broken because the conspirators had not taken his measurements, they had a coffin for Wallenstein that was too short. Apparently Cremer knew this story too. In any case, he came to this assembly of the three widows with the first model of the steel coffin.
Kluge
One of the bearers, a worker, had to try it out?
Müller
And one of the workers, who Helene Weigel thought had approximately the same stature as Brecht, had to try the coffin out by lying in it.
Kluge
Was that while Brecht was still alive?
Müller
No, no, he was already dead, he was already dead by then. Harich was arrested after Brecht's death.
Kluge
Have you made such arrangements?
Intertitle
On the way to a theater of darknesses / Heiner Müller on the statement: "The theater must bury the dead"
Müller
No, not at all. Up till now I haven't had any interest in doing so.
Kluge
Do you know where you will be buried?
Müller
For the time being I couldn't care less. The Dorotheenstadt Cemetery is almost full, I think, that makes it very difficult. The best option might be to have my ashes strewn over the Baltic or over the North Sea, I think. That is still possible.