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Franz Xaver Kroetz

Franz Xaver Kroetz

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Franz Xaver Kroetz is a German author, playwright, actor and film director. His plays have been translated and performed internationally.


Kroetz attended an acting school in Munich and the Max-Reinhardt-Seminar in Vienna. He worked as a day-laborer and was active in the German political party DKP
German Communist Party
The German Communist Party is a Marxist-Leninist party in Germany.-History:The DKP was formed in West Germany in 1968, in order to fill the place of the Communist Party of Germany , which had been banned by the Federal Constitutional Court in 1956...

, Germany Communist Party, from 1971 to 1980.

He became famous when in 1971 the premiere of his plays Heimarbeit (House-work) and Hartnäckig (Persistent) were disrupted by neo-fascists
Neo-fascism is a post–World War II ideology that includes significant elements of fascism. The term neo-fascist may apply to groups that express a specific admiration for Benito Mussolini and Italian Fascism or any other fascist leader/state...

. His plays in the 1970s portrayed people who had been rendered speechless by their own social misery. In the play Das Nest (The Nest), the protagonist is a truck driver. His boss orders him to dump toxic waste into a lake, thus soiling his "nest." He wrote a libretto
A libretto is the text used in an extended musical work such as an opera, operetta, masque, oratorio, cantata, or musical. The term "libretto" is also sometimes used to refer to the text of major liturgical works, such as mass, requiem, and sacred cantata, or even the story line of a...

 based on his play Stallerhof (1971) for an opera of the same name which Gerd Kühr
Gerd Kühr
Gerd Kühr, also Gerd Kuhr, is an Austrian conductor, composer of classical music and academic teacher....

 composed in 1987/88. It was premiered at the first Munich Biennale
Munich Biennale
The Munich Biennale is an opera festival in the city of Munich. The full German name is Internationales Festival für neues Musiktheater, literally: International Festival for New Music Theater. The biennial festival was created in 1988 by Hans Werner Henze and is held in even-numbered years over...

) in 1988. The play was staged at the Burgtheater
The Burgtheater , originally known as K.K. Theater an der Burg, then until 1918 as the K.K. Hofburgtheater, is the Austrian National Theatre in Vienna and one of the most important German language theatres in the world.The Burgtheater was created in 1741 and has become known as "die Burg" by the...

 in 2010 by David Bösch.

In her book Franz Xaver Kroetz The Construction of a Political Aesthetic, Michelle Mattson of the Columbia University
Columbia University
Columbia University in the City of New York is a private, Ivy League university in Manhattan, New York City. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York, the fifth oldest in the United States, and one of the country's nine Colonial Colleges founded before the...

Franz Xaver Kroetz -- banana-cutter, hospital orderly, fledgling actor and, more significantly, Germany's most popular contemporary dramatist of the seventies and early eighties. This study, which situates Kroetz's aesthetics in a political context, focuses on four plays that mark crisis points in his development of a political aesthetic.

Kroetz wrote for the television series Tatort
Tatort is a long-running German/Austrian/Swiss , crime television series set in various parts of these countries. The show is broadcast on the channels of ARD in Germany, ORF 2 in Austria and SF1 in Switzerland...

, Spiel mit Karten in 1980 and Wolf im Schafspelz in 2002. He is also known for his role as the gossip columnist 'Baby' Schimmerlos (roughly 'Dull Baby') in the television series Kir Royal. His income from acting made writing without financial worries possible.

Kroetz was awarded several prizes, including in 2005 the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany.

From 1992 to 2005, Kroetz was married to the actress Marie-Theres Relin. They have three children. Kroetz lives in the Chiemgau
Chiemgau is the common name of a geographic area in Upper Bavaria. It refers to the foothills of the Alps between the rivers Inn and Traun, with lake Chiemsee at its center. The political districts that contain the Chiemgau are Rosenheim and Traunstein...

 and Tenerife
Tenerife is the largest and most populous island of the seven Canary Islands, it is also the most populated island of Spain, with a land area of 2,034.38 km² and 906,854 inhabitants, 43% of the total population of the Canary Islands. About five million tourists visit Tenerife each year, the...

. Michael Schleicher: Franz Xaver Kroetz: „Altern ist ein Massaker" Interview, Münchener Merkur 22 February 2011


In 1976 Michael Roloff translated some of Kroetz' plays into English, namely Stallerhof (Farmyard), Michis Blut (Michi's Blood), Männersache (Men's Business), and Ein Mann ein Wörterbuch (A Man a Dictionary). Roger Downey translated Wunschkonzert (Request Concert), Durch die Blätter (Through the Leaves, the final version of Men's Business), and Das Nest (The Nest). Some of Kroetz' plays have been performed in the United Kingdom, for example, in 2002, Through the Leaves at the Southwark Playhouse
Southwark Playhouse
-History:Southwark Playhouse Theatre Company was founded in 1993 by Juliet Alderdice, Tom Wilson & Mehmet Ergen. They identified the need for a high quality accessible theatre which would also act as a major resource for the community...

, in the United States, for example, in 1982, Michi's Blood in New York, as well as in Australia.

Some of Kroetz' plays have also been translated into French and performed in France.


  • Richard W. Blevins: Franz Xaver Kroetz. The emergence of a political playwright. New York u. a.: Lang 1983. ISBN 0-8204-0013-0
  • Gérard Thiériot: Franz Xaver Kroetz et le nouveau théâtre populaire. Berne u. a.: Lang 1987. (= Contacts; 1; 4) ISBN 3-261-03694-X
  • Ingeborg C. Walther: The theater of Franz Xaver Kroetz. New York u.a.: Lang 1990. (= Studies in modern German literature; 40) ISBN 0-8204-1397-6
  • Michelle Mattson (Assistant Professor of Germanic Studies, Columbia University
    Columbia University
    Columbia University in the City of New York is a private, Ivy League university in Manhattan, New York City. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York, the fifth oldest in the United States, and one of the country's nine Colonial Colleges founded before the...

    ): Franz Xaver Kroetz. The Construction of a Political Aesthetic. Berg 1996

Selected plays

  • Wildwechsel, premiered in 1971 Theater Dortmund
    Theater Dortmund
    Theater Dortmund is a theatrical organization that produces operas, musicals, ballets, plays, and concerts in Dortmund, Germany. It was founded as the Stadttheater Dortmund in 1904...

  • Heimarbeit (Homeworker or Home-work), premiered 1971 Münchner Kammerspiele
  • Michis Blut A Requiem in Bavarian, premiered in 1971 pro T München
  • Hartnäckig(Persistent), premiered in 1971 Münchner Kammerspiele
  • Dolomitenstadt Lienz farce with song (music: Peter Zwetkoff), premiered in 1972 Schauspielhaus Bochum
    Schauspielhaus Bochum
    The Schauspielhaus Bochum is one of the largest and most notable theatres in Germany. It is located in the city of Bochum....

  • Männersache, premiered in 1972 Landestheater Darmstadt
  • Stallerhof, premiered in 1972 Deutsches Schauspielhaus Hamburg
    Deutsches Schauspielhaus
    The Deutsches Schauspielhaus is a theatre in the St. Georg quarter of the city of Hamburg, Germany. With a capacity for 1192 spectators, it places it as Germany's largest theatre...

  • Globales Interesse, premiered in 1972 Bayerisches Staatsschauspiel
  • Oberösterreich, premiered in 1972 Städtische Bühnen Heidelberg
  • Lieber Fritz, premiered in 1975 Landestheater Darmstadt
  • Männersache, 1972
  • Wunschkonzert (Request Concert), premiered in 1973 Württembergisches Staatstheater Stuttgart
  • Maria Magdalena after Friedrich Hebbel, premiered in 1973 Städtische Bühnen Heidelberg
  • Geisterbahn, premiered in 1975 Ateliertheater am Naschmarkt Wien
  • Das Nest (The Nest), premiered in 1975 Modernes Theater München
  • Ein Mann ein Wörterbuch (new version of Männersache), premiered in 1976 Ateliertheater am Naschmarkt Wien 1976
  • Agnes Bernauer, premiered in 1977 Leipziger Theater
  • Mensch Meier (Tom Fool), premiered in 1978 Brasil
  • Nicht Fisch nicht Fleisch, premiered in 1981 Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus
    Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus
    The Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus is a theatre building in Düsseldorf, with four auditoria.- External links :*...

  • Münchner Kindl, premiered in 1983 Theater k in Schwabinger Bräu München
  • Der stramme Max, premiered in 1980 Bühnen der Stadt Essen, Ruhrfestspiele Recklinghausen

Selected films

  • Series "Kir Royal"; this series was produced by WDR
    Westdeutscher Rundfunk
    Westdeutscher Rundfunk is a German public-broadcasting institution based in the Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia with its main office in Cologne. WDR is a constituent member of the consortium of German public-broadcasting institutions, ARD...

     from 1984/85 but first appeared in 1986.


  • 1972 – Deutscher Kritikerpreis
  • 1974 – Hannoverscher Dramatikerpreis
  • 1976 – Mülheimer Dramatikerpreis for Das Nest
  • 1985 – Ernst-Hoferichter-Preis
  • 1995 – Bertolt-Brecht-Literaturpreis
  • 1996 – Oberbayerischer Kulturpreis
  • 2005 – Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany
  • 2007 – Marieluise-Fleißer-Preis
  • 2008 – Bayerischer Filmpreis
    Bayerischer Filmpreis
    The Bavarian Film Awards have been awarded annually since 1979 by the State Government of Bavaria in Germany for “exceptional achievement in German filmmaking.” Along with the German Film Awards, these are the most highly regarded awards for filmmaking achievement in Germany.The Bavarian Film...

     for Die Geschichte vom Brandner Kaspar

External links