The Acoustic Kleist Memorial

Acoustically guided tour on the Kleiner Wannsee marking the death of Heinrich von Kleist and Henriette Vogel. Commemorative event funded as part of the Kleist Year 2011.

Das akustische Kleist Denkmal. Zeichnung: Heiner Franzen

“They say it is the 21st of November; we do not know whether it’s true,” wrote Heinrich von Kleist at the tavern “Stimmings Krug” on the Kleiner Wannsee near Berlin on the day of his death in 1811. Shortly thereafter, he shot his lover Henriette Vogel in the heart and himself in the head in a wooded area near the lake. Two-hundred years after their double suicide, visitors had the opportunity to take an acoustic tour around Kleist’s grave and learn what exactly happened on that fateful day.

The tour began at the Wannsee S-Bahn station, where visitors could borrow headphones and an audio player. The radio plays took the visitors away from the noise around them and ushered them into an artistic world of sound which incorporated the details they could see. The visitors listened to eyewitness reports of the deaths, final instructions which the lovers hastily jotted down for posterity and strangely euphoric words of farewell.

As the visitors continued on the tour through town, they experienced the “gradual fabrication of the past through memory.” The scenes revolved around the construct of Kleist’s dazzling personality and his theme of wavering identity in the midst of a seemingly questionable reality.

To orientate themselves on the tour, visitors received a map of the places where each radio play could be heard.

Artistic director / Script / Direction: Paul Plamper
Featuring: Judith Engel, Fabian Hinrichs, Sandra Hüller, Beata Lehmann, Joseph Vogl
Dramaturgy: Arved Schultze
Audio/Sound design: Titus Maderlechner
Production manager: Janina Druschky

Drawing: Heiner Franzen

About the director

The Berlin director and writer Paul Plamper began his career in theatre, directing plays at theatres such as the Volksbühne Berlin and the Berliner Ensemble. In recent years he has gained acclaim for his avant-garde radio plays and audio installations. He has produced a number of award-winning pieces, for example, “Ruhe 1” which received the Blind War Veteran’s Radio Theatre Prize in 2009.

Audio player lending desk

Visitors could borrow earphones and audio players at the souvenir and gift shop, located inside the Wannsee S-Bahn station at Kronprinzessinnenweg 252.