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German court limits performances of Brecht play

February 19, 2015

Bertolt Brecht's heirs and notorious theater director Frank Castorf have reached an agreement over a controversial production of Bertolt Brecht's "Baal." The production will only be shown two more times.

Rehearsal scenes from Bertolt Brecht's "Baal" at the Residenztheater in Munich, Copyright: Matthias Horn/Residenztheater München/dpa
Image: picture-alliance/Matthias Horn/Residenztheater München/dpa

The compromise was reached after six-hour-long deliberations before the state court in Munich yesterday (18.02.2015). The theater hosting the production, Residenztheater in Munich, has agreed to cancel all dates after the end of February.

After that, Castorf's work will also be performed at the Berliner Theatertreffen in May, an annual theater festival in the German capital, which has named Castorf's work one of the 10 most noteworthy productions in current German theater.

With this settlement, the Brecht heirs have now largely reached their goal of banning Castdorf's "Baal" production based on claims of copyright infringement. According to German law, the copyright holder of a play has the right to forbid the misinterpretation of his or her work.

Heirs enraged over changes

Frank Castorf had caused a stir with his current production of Brecht's famous play about the reckless, drunken and promiscuous poet Baal. Bertolt Brecht's heirs were enraged about changes he'd made to the script and sued Castorf.

Barbara Brecht-Schall, 84, maintains the rights to her father's works until 70 years after his death - that is, 2026. In her name, the plays' publisher, Suhrkamp, requested a preliminary injunction against the theater with the state court in Munich.

jb/kbm (with dpa)