Open Werther

2M, for ages 14 +

1775. The Sorrows of Young Werther has made Goethe famous across Europe practically overnight. Now, aged 26, he is to dedicate himself to more serious matters and become a politician in Weimar, which will not only bring him social standing but also a secure income. Yet his publisher, Johann Friedrich Weygand, has other plans. Success must be repeated and so a new text must be published, ideally a sequel. Unfortunately, Werther is quite dead. But Weygand has a bright idea: Why not change the perspective of the story? How about if Werther’s beloved, Charlotte, also wrote letters of her own? The Sorrows of Young Lotte. Wygand is certain it’ll be a runaway success. Page by page, Weygand squeezes Lotte’s letters from his author. And slowly Goethe’s enthusiasm is ignited, too. He finds it increasingly easy to write about Lotte’s care-free love, her indecision between passion and duty, her decision to marry Albert when Werther leaves town and she has the opportunity to think rationally. But then Werther returns, and the story runs its well-known course. Weygand believes that Lotte also has to die of a broken heart. Goethe, however, refuses and is forced to admit to himself that he cares more for his main character – and her real-life counterpart – than he’d like.
Believing his correspondence with her to be too personal, Goethe destroyed it. A partial reconstruction was only possible after the fire at the Weimar Library. This, at least, is Thilo Reffert’s version of events, as depicted in Open Werther, which not only contrasts Werther’s egocentric love with a far more realistic, feminine perspective but also casts Goethe himself in a more human and compassionate light than is normally the case when studying Werther as a school textbook.

Thilo Reffert

Thilo Reffert

born 1970 in Magdeburg, writes theatre plays, audio plays, and novels. His audio plays received, among others, the most prestigious award Hörspielpreis der Kriegsblinden (2010 for Die Sicherheit einer geschlossenen Fahrgastzelle) and the Deutscher ...

Plays by Thilo Reffert

U: 16.04.2016 Theater Aalen (Regie: Jonathan Giele)