The Poet as Metaphor Slingshot

100 Minutes with Heiner Müller

16 Jun 1997
News & Stories
Heiner Müller
Heiner Müller


The point of departure for this discussion is the question of whether the collapse of the Soviet Union is dramatic material. Müller answers with this Brechtian sentence: "Oil resists the five acts." He describes how difficult it is to make a dramatic adaptation of structures or massive processes that are not bound to biographies. A discussion of Müller's current project, an adaptation of the Medea story, brings the conversation back to the collapse of the Soviet Union. Müller and Kluge reflect on the political and cultural transformation processes that characterize the Soviet Union: the ambitions for autonomy of the regions, the fading of the political utopia of socialism, and white-collar crime. At the end the discussion turns to a story by Makavejev that Müller finds interesting. The tragedy sketch "The Guest Worker" describes the return of a family father in Germany to Croatia, where he murders his family and returns to Germany. In conclusion, Müller reports on his mental preconditions for writing plays, his necessary "self-induced hysteria".