Ein Mann im Schnee
(One Man in the Snow)
Christmas with Erich Kästner
Walter Sittler & Die Sextanten
'Don't you dare to come home without the Christmas story!,' Mother Kästner shouted after her son at the railway station in Dresden as the successful young author left for the Zugspitze in the hope of at last putting something down on paper that was set in winter, with the snow-topped mountains as inspiration. So there he was, in the middle of summer, sitting on a flower-strewn Alpine meadow, looking out over the landscape, gradually compressing his meandering thoughts into anecdotes and observations which he then began to tell. Gently falling snow; in the mountains, the skiers are taking tumbles on the slopes, just like the pedestrians on the frozen slippery pavements of 1920s Berlin. In the second part of the play, the author finds himself in a bombed out room in Munich during the 1945/46' winter of starvation'. He escaped the bombs raining down on Berlin at the last minute, finally ending up there, reflecting on past events and looking ahead to the future.
Ein Mann im Schnee is self-contained collage of texts from Erich Kästner's Christmas and winter stories in two parts. It focuses on a man whose thoughts and experiences merge into a wintertime journey from the wild 1920s to New Year's Eve 1945. It was Erich Kästner's wont to use the subject of 'Christmas' for critical examinations of an era and its people. Like so often, the observations of this humorous analyst and sharp-tongued admonisher are still exceedingly relevant today. Kästner's Christmas stories tell of war and peace, love and humility, and of how kind people could be to each other if they were only willing to be.
Libor Síma has composed the incidental music especially for the unusual line-up of the Sextanten, and has also written some new arrangements of the most beautiful Christmas songs from all over Europe for this event.