22. ilb 07. - 17.09.2022

Albert Ostermaier

Portrait Albert Ostermaier
© Ali Ghandtschi

Albert Ostermaier was born in Munich in 1967. He has pr oduced an extensive body of work, ranging from poetry to plays. »Out of the poems arose dramatic poems, from the dramatic poems arose plays, from the plays poems with dialogue and dramatic situations.« Ostermaier has become one of the German playwrights whose works are performed most often. He rose to fame with the performance of »Zwischen zwei Feuern. Tollertopographie« (1993; t: Between two fires: Toller topography). He was then appointed the first »theatre poet« at the National Theatre in Mannheim since Schiller, and in 1999/2000 held the same post at the Bavarian State Theatre for which he composed »The Making Of. [B-movie]« for the 100th anniversary of Brecht’s birth. Since 2003 he has been in-house writer at Vienna’s Burgtheater where his works have been staged mainly by Andrea Breth. Recently the pr emiere of »Ersatzbank« (t: Subsitutes’ bench) was staged at the Salzburg Festival and »Schwarze Minuten« (t: Black minutes) at the Mannheim National Theatre for the opening of the Schiller Festival.
Ostermaier’s lyrical sound ranges from the unfathomable quality in his early work to demonstrative modernity. Rhythmic syntax without punctuation is charged with a plethora of allusions and references, and levels of meaning are superimposed in ways that overwhelm patterns of perception so that familiar structures of inter pr etation become apparent and questionable. »There is an intricately composed babble of voices, a radio traffic of thoughts between a history of ideas and an attitude towards life, without place or being. It’s no coincidence that this osmosis-based writing is determined by a metaphorics of flow and slide, of diffusions, and occasionally the liquidisation of culture washes away the texts themselves«, wrote Christopher Schmidt. Most recently Ostermaier published a volume of poems and reportages about football, »Der Torwart ist immer dort, wo es weh tut« (2006; t: The goalkeeper is always there where it hurts), a volume of poetry, »Polar« (2006), inspired by French film in the sixties and seventies, and a collection of love poems entitled »Für den Anfang der Nacht« (2007; t: For the onset of night). Many of his works have been made into radio plays and audio texts for which Ostermaier closely collaborated with the musicians and composers Hans Platzgumer, Saam Schlamminger and Bert Wrede. His work has been translated into over twenty languages and his plays have been performed all over the world, in cities such as Los Angeles, New York, Athens, Santiago, Kiev and Tehran. Ostermaier has been awarded the Ernst Toller Prize, the Ernst Hoferich Prize and the Kleist Prize, among others.
In 2001 the author was a writer in residence at New York University and in 2007 held a lectureship in poetry at Wiesbaden Polytechnic. After managing the Poetry Workshop and Theatre Festival in Bayreuth (1990) and acting as artistic director of the Landsberg Poetry Festival »Poetry at the Lech« (2000), since 2006 Ostermaier has been responsible for the international Brecht Festival abc–AugsburgBrechtConnected.

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