The old man is a coffin maker but unfortunately business is poor. Which, from the point of view of his potential customers, is a good thing. But the coffin maker would like to make more coffins in Pupka, the small town where he lives with his wife. One day his wife becomes sick. The old man realises that the two of them don’t have much time left. Together they travel by coach to the nurse in the next town. Along the way they are joined by an increasing number of characters – a coachman, a medic, a young mother, two prostitutes and their drunken clients – and each of them appears to have their lives behind them. Except for the three cherubs who eventually also join them...

Hanoch Levin’s Requiem will be the first time that Johan Simons directs a classic of Israeli drama in the German language. The play is a finely composed swan song, a final trawl through memories and a tragicomic text about missed opportunities and the vanity of human endeavours.

Rediscovery of Israel’s best-known and most radical playwright

Hanoch Levin (1943 – 1999) is regarded as Israel’s best-known, most radical and most productive playwright. His stage plays continue to shape Israeli theatre to this day and have been performed in many countries – they are now being rediscovered in the German-speaking world.  The son of Polish immigrants, Levin grew up in modest circumstances in Tel Aviv and was educated as an orthodox Jew. In 1967, following the Six Day War, he wrote a series of comedy programmes that turned him overnight into an intellectual enemy of the state. Requiem was one of the last plays that Levin wrote and the final one that he would direct himself in 1999 at the Cameri Theatre in Tel Aviv, his artistic home. The text is a set of variations on motifs from three short stories by Anton Chekhov. Levin’s “fairy tale of death”, as he himself called it, is a timeless and compelling drama that since its world premiere has become a much-praised classic of Israeli playwriting and cemented Levin’s international reputation.  

A new way of looking at existence

“You get the feeling that you’re seeing something you’ve never seen before: an entirely new language, a new form, a new political point of view. His themes are so universal, you cannot escape them.” (Hagai Levi, director, screenwriter and author of the television series The Affair on Hanoch Levin)

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  • Requiem
  • Text: Hanoch Levin
  • Premiere: 12.06.2020