Wie dem Herrn Mockinpott das Leiden ausgetrieben wird

The sufferers must not appear to be suffering,
they must be activated, they must liberate themselves from suffering.
Peter Weiss

The Composition

Peter Weiss is one of the authors that I have read over and over again since my youth, especially since I don't know anyone - apart from perhaps Erich Fried - who would have developed Brecht's line as consistently as he did. In the process, I also came across the early theater play »Night with Guests« and was amazed at the accuracy with which the instructions for the incidental music were formulated. This goes so far that Weiss names specific instruments and suggests that the music should be best composed. So I took up his suggestions and realized the piece as music theatre. During the work, however, I also became interested in »Mockinpott« and decided to set this piece to music later, because it deals with the socio-critical dimension in a much more complex and profound way than »Night with Guests« and adds a parodic level that seemed particularly attractive to me for a musical implementation. ...

In contrast to the romantic-expressionist opera, the intonation of »Mockinpott« should by no means be luxurious. Rather, the music had to be short and concise, and have a rhythmic drive. That's why I followed Hanns Eisler's compositional method - of course without copying him. As early as the 1940s, Eisler, together with Theodor W. Adorno, had argued that the musical style had taken on a life of its own and was no longer used as a personal style, but as an independent parameter depending on the function of the music. The "Mockinpott" is designed as a Chaplinesque grotesque, but also shows aspects of a Woyzeck travesty. Consequently, I decided on stylistic devices that are changeable and can reflect both elements. At the same time, I saw my task in writing not least in making the figures stand out in a particularly characteristic way with their woodcut-like gestures, but also letting the music speak in its role as an autonomous commentary level - the whole thing in a "tone" that is also suitable for "New Music « is accessible to untrained listeners, but without revealing the multi-layered and complex nature of musical thinking. ...
Stefan Litwin (from a conversation with Holger Schroeder)

The Play

In eleven pictures we follow the path of Mr. Mockinpott, who finds himself in prison - and doesn't know why. Corrupt officials allow him to be kicked out. He stumbles into the open and encounters Mr. Wurst, a cozy character who seems to take care of him. Whether at home with his wife, with his employer, in front of the government and finally even in front of God: Mockinpott experiences one injustice after the other. Peter Weiss, who was working on the plan to create a great »Divina Commedia« with his plays, formulated its main theme: »The suffering must not appear suffering, they have to be activated, have to free themselves from their suffering.« And Mockinpott begins exactly to ask the right questions from the moment he is about to be repurposed through surgery. He increasingly emancipates himself from the system - and with the ease of dancing he leaves the scene.
Holger Schröder


Trailer zur Urafführung am Staatstheater Braunschweig

Photos: ####

World Premiere

Stefan Litwin
Music theater by Stefan Litwin based on the play of the same name by Peter Weiss (2019-22)
Commissioned by Staatstheater Braunschweig

Premiere March 5, 2022 Staatstheater Braunschweig, Kleines Haus

Musical direction: Alexis Agrafiotis
Director: Christoph Diem
Stage and video: Florian Barth
Costumes: Elena Gauss
Light: Rasmus Huxhagen
Dramaturgy: Holger Schröder, Sarah Grahneis


Mockinpott: Zachariah N. Kariithi
Wurst: Robert Prinzler
Wife / Sister / Government 1 / Dear God: Julia Suzanne Buchmann*
Guard / Clerk / Doctor / Government 2: Julius Ferdinand Brauer
Advocate / Rival / Government 3: Benjamin Kaygun*
Bailiff / employer / sister / servant: Mirko Näger-Guckeisen*
Four Angels: Chiara Ducomble*, Bo Mi Lee, Min Geum Jin, Barbara Walach*
*Students at HMTM Hanover

Braunschweig State Orchestra