At the beginning of Schnitzler’s social panorama, the music falls silent: a pianist who frequented the villa of the light bulb manufacturer Friedrich Hofreiter and his wife Genia shoots himself. The reason for this gives rise to speculation. It is suspected that Hofreiter urged the young musician to take his own life after learning of his alleged affair with Genia. But Hofreiter claims he had no problem with a fling. On the contrary, the “maker” and “founder” of the serial production virtually urges Genia to cheat. In his notes, Schnitzler, the physician and diagnostician of his time, sketches the further course of events in short, precise sentences: “His wife becomes gruesome to him, deadly. He can no longer possess her. At last he becomes insane.”

With a sharp eye, Schnitzler dissects a society whose drive for expansion and addiction to pleasure are paramount: Friendships serve business relationships, and chains of hotels are placed in the bare rocky landscape of the Dolomites to satisfy erotic longings. In the process, Hofreiter’s light bulbs seem like the ironic commentary of a supposedly enlightened and bright world. The conversations of the privileged society about flings and love adventures become seismographs of a catastrophe that can no longer be stopped.




  • A co-production of the Ruhrtriennale.
  • Direction: BARBARA FREY
  • co-stage: STEPHANIE WAGNER
  • Costumes: ESTHER GEREMUS
  • music: JOSH SNEESBY
  • Lighting: RAINER KÜNG
  • dramaturgy: ANDREAS KARLAGANIS
  • Mask: Pia Norberg
  • Friedrich Hofreiter, factory owner: Michael Maertens
  • Genia, his wife: Katharina Lorenz
  • Anna Meinhold-Aigner, actress: Bibiana Beglau
  • Otto, her son: Felix Kammerer
  • Doctor von Aigner: Bibiana Beglau
  • Mrs. Wahl: Dorothee Hartinger
  • Erna, her daughter: Nina Siewert
  • Natter, banker: Branko Samarovski
  • Adele, his wifeSabine Haupt
  • Dr. Mauer, doctor: Itay Tiran


Photos: © 2022 Matthias Horn