Mauser / The woman with her head in the gas oven

by Heiner Müller


The Black Hole, The Keta(mine) Hole, The Black Hole in the Universe. An implosion as a result of the loss of Stability of the vessels. A sudden breakdown. The whirlpool of time. The center of consciousness. The pessimistic view of the world.The pessimistic core itself.

This poem is mine. It was created by reading these texts and was the starting point 
for my conceptual work. 

I used the Berliner Ensemble as base for my fictive design practice. The black of the walls underlines the dark nihilistic content of Müller ́s lyrics and the turntable serve as machinery. Thus, a loop can be created and the repetition, the linguistic style element of Müller‘s texts, emphasized.


I imagine an open stage design and in the center is the eye as a gateway to the subconscious. The iris is shown twice, once as a playground for soldiers and other figures and on the other as a video projection in the background. Metaphorical overlays are possible with live camera and videos. In addition, the view of the audiences becomes more democratic with the giant screen in the form of the eye in the background.

The playground, field and iris at the same time, i would design as a white ground relief made of carved foam boards. It takes place at the entire turntable. In both pieces, „Mauser“ and „the woman with her head in the gas oven“, the rotation of the disc is the essential basic for the choreography.

In "Mauser" the soldiers march against the direction of rotation and thus they remain on the spot. The interruption of the march, the resistance of the duty, is now symbolized as a circling particle of a social construct.

"Woman with her head in the gas oven" begins with the description of a real situation and ends in fantastic surreal depths of the consciousness levels. Again, the rotation of the turntable symbolizes the loss of control and the delusional state of the protagonist.


The lyrics are hermetic and blurred composed. Through the use of numerous rhetorical stylstic devices such as symbols, paradxes, metaphors, personifications, as well as inserts and enumerations,the texts appear erratic and inaccessible.In order to bring the lyrics closer to the audience, I would let perform the actors the described metaphors. Also, as shown on the Top, the triple appearance of the figure „The woman with her head in the gas oven“,and followering the triple appearance of „chicken face“ and the grotesque appearance of the „naked giantess“.

The performance „a child“ serves as a symbol of colonial damage. The metaphor of the „horse with two butts“ and the „horse with two heads“ are added by me and not explicitly mentioned in the text. They are intended as revolving sculptures on stage like gatekeepers. The soldiers appear eight times in the same costume. They have parallels to the former uniform of the Soviet Union. They are meant just as a reference and are completely fictitious.All actors are masked. The masks pick up the style features of the anike, in which the performative play of the choir was used with masks.


„Mauser“ and "the woman with her haed in the gas oven", both pieces revolving around the topic of how the individual becomes the instrument of war. Powerlessness, self determination, longing for innocence and resistance are the keypoints of these texts. 

„Mauser“ (engl.: Mauser )

 soldiers are shown in the Civil War. But the topic is negotiated on a meta level. The protagonists are at war againt the war. Leading revolution against the revolution. This texts are not explicitly assigned to any player. The performative play is variable - type and degree of variants are political decisions. Therefore, the goal is to present the universal experience of dehumanization through war. A special feature is the use of the speakers as a choir, in oppositionof the individual as a single speaker. The focus is on describing humans as gear wheels of the machine – as instrument of the war system. Mauser represents killing as natural of humanity and peace as utopia.

„The woman with her head in the gas oven“ (engl. obituary) 

The anarchistic free layouted text is printed only on 4 pages and is written as a continuous monologue. From the perspective of the first person describes the author, in this case, the protagonist of the text, Heiner Müller, how he finds his wife dead in the kitchen. The central theme is the confrontation with death. That of the partner and one‘s own. Furthermore, the suicide of his wife is the key moment of the journey into his memory, in which he processed that Heiner served as a flak helper in World War II. This experience dehumanized and intrumentalized him. Through the suicide of his wife he becomes again a passive observer of the situation, which leads him to a penniless