A Cage Went out to Catch a Bird

Approaches to Kafka’s Theory of Relativity

An echo chamber play by Hans Peter Litscher
with sounds by Hans Jörn Brandenburg and Andres Bosshard

Hans Peter Litscher (Paris)

World premiere
Hans Peter Litscher: A Cage Went Out to Catch a Bird

Ein Käfig ging einen Vogel fangen. Hans Peter Litscher

© Zora von Westphal

  • 1 h, without interval

Past Dates

Talk with the audience on 15 January after the second performance

On 24 May 1911, Franz Kafka heard Albert Einstein lecture on his theory of relativity at the Institute of Physics at Prague University. Kafka also met Einstein at a salon run by Bertha Fanta (the wife of a Prague pharmacist), and he knew Einstein’s Swiss assistant Ludwig Hopf, and visited Einstein in Berlin at his apartment on Haberlandstraße. But to date few Kafka scholars have showed any interest in the impact this contact with Einstein and his ideas may have had on Kafka’s writing. The exceptions include Gilles Deleuze, Felix Guattari and Jan Kott.

Following in their footsteps, Hans Peter Litscher explored Kafka’s writing in the original manuscripts. At the Haus der Berliner Festspiele, he uses the labyrinthine corridors and the spaces behind and under the stage to create an echo of Kafka’s and Einstein’s revolutionary and pioneering discoveries about time and space. In “echo chambers” where the boundaries between reality and fiction are blurred, the viewer is confronted with talking jackdaws and historical sound recordings, with projections of handwritten fragments and drawings by Kafka, and with readings of excerpts from Kafka’s letters, journals and notebooks.

“Hans Peter Litscher is an expert on the obsessive and the ominous, on highly personal anecdotes and the authenticity of documents.”
taz, 2001

With the voices of
Albert Einstein, Jan Kott, Gilles Deleuze, George Tabori, Ueli Jaeggi, Franz Schuh, Veruschka and several speaking Praguiian jackdaws

Co-production with spielzeiteuropa | Berliner Festspiele
Supported by the Federal Cultural Foundation