The 10 Selected Productions

Das große Heft (The Notebook)

Based on the novel by Ágota Kristóf
German translation by Eva Moldenhauer
Text by Ulrich Rasche and Alexander Weise

Staatsschauspiel Dresden

Premiere 11 February 2018

This is Ulrich Rasche’s third consecutive invitation to the Theatertreffen. This year, he tells a story of survival in times of violence in his own rigorous form of choric theatre.

Das große Heft. Video trailer

© Staatsschauspiel Dresden

  • 3 h 45 min, one interval
  • In German with English surtitles

Past Dates

Public discussion on 20 May, following the performance

Two brothers – twins – encounter the brutalised world they live in with harshness; they learn to fight back and develop their very own moral convictions. And always with them: the big notebook, where they note down the insights and truths they have learned. Director Ulrich Rasche pours the childhood stories from the times of the World War written by Ágota Kristóf into a rigid mold: Male choruses stride incessantly on two rotating discs, driven by the rhythm of the music and the machines. A haunting look at survival in times of violence.

Jury Statement

Ulrich Rasche’s choral art is devised for grandeur, for pathos, for powerful imagery and sensory overload. Some may say that it smells like Rammstein. All of this is true. But like hardly any other director, Rasche lets us hear texts in new ways, unfolding them in front of the viewers’ consciousness with the most precise rhythmisation, inspiring and exciting their thought processes. Spellbound, we follow Ágota Kristóf’s wartime childhood stories for nearly four hours. It is a dark piece, full of violence and sexual obsessions, presented with brittle and artful behaviourist storytelling. At a leisurely pace, Rasche traces the stories with oppressive intensity, his male choirs striding on huge rotating discs, driven by Monika Roscher’s minimalist sound art. It is a look into a fascist, militaristic childhood world, purged of all morality, a stroll into the rolling mill of bourgeoning male fantasies.


Directed by / Stage Design by Ulrich Rasche
Associate Stage Design Sabine Mäder
Costume Design and Associate Stage Design Romy Springsguth
Choir Direction Alexander Weise, Toni Jessen
Composition Monika Roscher
Video Philip Bußmann
Samples, Sound Art Nico van Wersch
Lighting Direction Leonhard Luchner
Lighting Design Andreas Barkleit
Dramaturgy Jörg Bochow, Katrin Breschke

László Branko Breiding, Philipp Grimm, Jannik Hinsch, Harald Horváth, Robin Jentys, Toni Jessen, Moritz Kienemann, David Kosel, Sam Michelson, Johannes Nussbaum, Justus Pfankuch, Daniel Séjourné, Yannik Stöbener, Yassin Trabelsi, Alexander Vaassen, Simon Werdelis