ABSTRACT

In June 1995, Heiner Müller’s last production premiered at the Berliner Ensemble – Brecht’s The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui. Fifteen years later, it continues to be part of the repertoire, selling out each and every evening. Having been performed worldwide more than three hundred times, the production is still celebrated by audiences and critics alike wherever it is shown. What makes it so successful? And this not only in Berlin and Germany, but on all fi ve continents? Although the Berliner Zeitung critic could not have foreseen such unprecedented success, he gave a plausible answer after perusing the fi fty most important reviews published in the wake of the première: ‘When, the morning after, the critics wrote their reviews for Berlin and the world, his name blazed in fi ery letters: Wuttke! Wuttke! Wuttke!’ (Heine 1995). And in fact, there was no critic who, full of admiration and amazement, did not speculate on the extraordinary PRESENCE1 displayed by actor Martin Wuttke, starring as Arturo Ui, which kept spectators spellbound throughout the performance.