Tuesday, 1/7/2025
at 7:30 PM



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IN EXILE
A literary performance by and with Ben Becker

Why Joseph Roth?
Not only the experience of artistic isolation during the pandemic, but also the threatening political climate in today's Europe are reason enough for Ben Becker to focus on the brilliant writer Joseph Roth. After his program BEN BECKER - APOCALYPSE, in which he explores the isolation of the individual in the face of human abyss using Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness", Ben Becker now dedicates himself to the legendary exiled author Joseph Roth, who embodies so many contradictions: a holy drinker and a hopeless scrounger, an Austrian Jew and a bohemian figure of Berlin nightlife, a bankrupt exile and one of the greatest storytellers of the 20th century. The center of attention is not only the unique author, but above all the person Joseph Roth, who sees himself defenseless in the face of the political catastrophes of his time.

The Legend of the Holy Drinker
In the first part of the evening, Ben Becker reads Joseph Roth in the original voice and gives his voice to the unforgettable key story "The Legend of the Holy Drinker," a profound and touching tale from Roth's last years in Parisian exile.

The Holy Drinker
In the second half, he approaches him through the friendly account of his contemporary: Géza von Cziffra portrays in his memoir "The Holy Drinker" a lifelike portrait of Joseph Roth against the backdrop of their shared drunken Berlin nights as well as in the raging stream of exile. The merging of their trajectories in both parts creates a surprising, multi-layered, and vivid portrait of the artist in exile, reflecting today's time in a startling and eerie way.

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 frequently adapted novels "The Spider's Web", "Radetzky March", and "Job", Roth is not only one of the most important German-language storytellers of the 20th century but is himself one of the most colorful figures of his time and a story in his own right. Born an Austrian Jew and chronically broke as a journalist, he is among the unforgettable scene characters in the nightlife of Vienna and Berlin. After the Nazis seized power, he is one of the first authors whose books are burned. He flees in 1933 and becomes a significant voice in exile literature; simultaneously, he remains, always a drinker, always teetering on the edge of madness. It is precisely this fusion of literature and life, biography and fiction, human and myth that fascinates Ben Becker about Joseph Roth and that he brings vividly to life on stage like no other with his voice and his way of reading.

Event data provided by: Reservix

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