Rechnitz (The Exterminating Angel)



variable casting, min. 5 actors

At a party, late in the evening someone grabs a gun and, on a whim, kills nearly 200 people. Is this even conceivable? Hardly, aside from visions of horror. Nevertheless research showed that this is exactly what once happened. On the night of march 25th 1945, countess Margit of Batthyany, a Thyssen heiress, was having a party at her castle in Rechnitz near the Austro-Hungarian border with officers of the SS, heads of the Gestapo and local Nazi collaborators. Around midnight about 200 Jewish forced laborers were gathered and shot dead by a bunch of drunks. Shortly thereafter, the assassins fled the country. The castle of Rechnitz went up in flames, the Russians invaded the area. After the war, witnesses to the massacre have disappeared, criminal prosecution leads nowhere. The 200 bodies have not been discovered to this day - but does anyone really want them to be found?

Elfriede Jelinek goes in search of clues, but not as an historian; using Luis Bunuel's The Exterminating Angel as a template, Rechnitz has messengers push their way into a room that none of them will ever leave again. They report the gruesome deed, by way of repetitions, variations and contradictions, they try to put the unspeakable into words, circle around the monstrosity without reaching its core. This creates a dense, multi-layered depiction of events, full of penetrating questions as it remains opaque.

World premiere
28.11.2008 Münchner Kammerspiele (Director: Jossi Wieler)


Bulgarian (Translator: Vladko Murdarov)
Czech: Rechnitz (Andel zkázy) (Translator: Jitka Jílková)
English: Rechnitz (The Exterminating Angel) (Translator: Gitta Honegger)
Finnish (Translator: Jukka-Pekka Pajunen)
Finnish premiere 07.04.2015 Jalostamo Collective /Kiasma Teatteri, Helsinki (Director: Hilkka-Liisa Iivanainen)
Hungarian: Rohonc (Az öldöklö angyal) (Translator: Zoltán Halasi)
Japanese (Translator: Tatsuki Hayashi)
Polish (Translator: Monika Muskała)
Slovak: Rechnitz (Anjel skazy) (Translator: Peter Lomnický)
Slovak premiere 08.06.2013, Slovak National Theatre, Bratislava (Director: David Jařab)

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