PHOTO: © Kerstin Groh


Spoken word Performance Lesung
In the organizer's words:

Why Joseph Roth?

Not only the experience of artistic isolation during the pandemic, but also the threatening political climate in Europe of our days are reason enough for Ben Becker to focus on the brilliant writer Joseph Roth. After his program BEN BECKER - APOKALYPSE, in which he used Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness" to explore the isolation of the individual in the face of the human abyss, Ben Becker now turns his attention to the legendary exiled author Joseph Roth, who combines so many contradictions: holy drunkard and hopeless scrounger, Austrian Jew and bohemian figure of Berlin nightlife, burnt-out exile and one of the greatest storytellers of the 20th century. The focus is not only on the unique author, but above all on the human being Joseph Roth, who finds himself defenselessly at the mercy of the political catastrophes of his time.

The legend of the holy drunkard

In the first part of the evening, Ben Becker reads Joseph Roth in the original sound and gives voice to the unforgettable key narrative "The Legend of the Holy Drinker," an abysmal as well as touching story from Roth's last years in exile in Paris.

The Holy Drinker

In the second half, he approaches it through the friendly account of a contemporary: Géza von Cziffra 's memoir "The Holy Drinker" paints a true-to-life portrait of Joseph Roth both against the backdrop of their drunken Berlin nights together and in the torrent of exile. In bringing together their lines of flight, the two parts create a startling, multi-layered and vivid portrait of the artist in exile that also reflects the present day in surprising and startling ways.


Readings with Ben Becker are an event. The author's choice is so personal that in each performance the actor merges with the subject of the text and its author. After Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness", Ben Becker has chosen texts by and about the exiled author Joseph Roth. With his novels "The Spider's Web", "Radetzky March" and "Job", which have been filmed several times, Roth is not only one of the most important German-language storytellers of the 20th century, he is himself one of the most enigmatic figures of his time and a story in his own right. Born an Austrian Jew, chronically broke as a journalist, he is one of the unforgettable scene figures in the nightlife of Vienna and Berlin. After the Nazis seized power, he was one of the first authors whose books were burned. He flees as early as 1933 and becomes an authoritative voice of exile literature; at the same time he is and remains always a drunkard, always hard on the edge of madness. It is precisely this fusion of literature and life, biography and fiction, man and myth that fascinates Ben Becker about Joseph Roth and which he brings to life on stage like no other with his voice and his way of reading.

This content has been machine translated.


Renaissance-Theater Berlin Knesebeckstr. 100 10623 Berlin

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