Features » Literature


Michael Buselmeier: "Wunsiedel. A Novel about the Theatre"

Michael Buselmeier: "Wunsiedel. A Novel about the Theatre" (Wunsiedel)

Verlag das Wunderhorn

English excerpt

The book: A young man named Moritz Schoppe tells the story of how in the summer of 1964 he spent ten painful weeks in the small town of Wunsiedel in Upper Franconia, participating in the annual Luisenberg Theatre Festival. His engagement ended in a fiasco. He was homesick; the actors and actresses treated him like an alien, someone dispensable. Everyone deserted him, even his girlfriend, who went off with someone else in his absence (just like Cressida treated Troilus in Shakespeare). The only thing that kept him alive was his perusal of the powerfully poetic novels of Jean Paul, who was born in Wunsiedel.
44 years later, Schoppe returns to this "site of the eclipse" and can hardly recognise it. At first, he is disorientated, but the scented air of the Fichtelgebirge soon raises his spirits and he goes off on romantic treks through the Franconian past, searching for the graves of his hosts, especially of his old theatre director. Suddenly he finds himself standing in front of Rudolf Heß's grave. He also visits the natural open-air stage on Luisenberg, the main scene of his demise, but this once so well-loved location has changed almost beyond recognition: the trappings of the theatre are tatty indeed. The opportunity for making a new start is implicit in traversing and observing.

The author: Michael Buselmeier was born in Berlin in 1938 and grew up in Heidelberg. Following his training as an actor, his posts included assistant artistic director to Hansgünther Heyme at the Staatstheater Wiesbaden. He studied German and art history and taught at several academies and has published numerous poems and prose and edited various publications. He has worked as a journalist for radio and national newspapers, literary tour guide and the editor of Edition Künstlerhaus since 1995. He has been awarded with the Thaddäus-Troll-Preis 1995, the Pfalzpreis für Literatur 2000, the Richard Benz-Medaille der Stadt Heidelberg 2004 and the Ben Witter Preis 2010.

Photo © Verlag das Wunderhorn - let's talk european