Honestly, I have never come across a play more unusual, bizarre and seemingly random as Heiner Müller: A Man Without a Behind. And with that sentiment, the play acted as a fantastic tribute to the world-renown playwright. A note from the director even states, “Müller isn’t to be understood. Rather, let his words wash over you. View him as you would an abstract painting”. Although a bit long-winded at times, the show successfully demonstrates what Müller was all about through interviews, scenes from Müller’s plays, and moments of his past.
The Zeitgeist interviews (with words from Tony Kitschner, and Müller himself) were both hilarious and educational. Seeing Müller through the eyes of another person gives us multiple views of the same man. Also, watching the interviews on dozens of television sets also made the audience forget for a moment that this was a play. It made the interviews seem very realistic.
Still, being one of Bertolt Brecht’s protégés, the show wouldn’t have been successful if it also didn’t remind you that it was a show. Many times the play reminded you that you were in a theater and that this was only a performance. In other words, many times, there wasn’t the illusion of reality that you would normally get in a show. The most notable moment of this method was the group discussion the cast has on stage before the show. The cast actually begin to warm up on stage. And afterward, they discuss who Müller was, what they loved about him and just reminded us that these are actors about to put on a show for our entertainment (and in tribute to Müller, of course).
Heiner Müller (as I learned) was a man who believed in theater being created from the text. It is an expansion of what’s on the paper. Basically, his words were just the starting point for the creativity of the director. The cast of this show exhibit that idea perfectly. This tribute was creative, inspiring and overall…bizarre! One line the cast sings during both the prologue and finale is, “Heiner Müller, oh what a mind”. Well, I would say they captured that mind in this show. That mind – chaotic, fantastic and abstract as it was.