for grown-ups aged 15+

Louise Straus-Ernst's biography is the story of a woman who has left her mark as a journalist and an independent thinker – a deeply personal story of loss, love and camaraderie, freedom and oppression – fear and courage.
Sound recordings, projections and a contrabass playing old Charleston tunes conjure up the past for a moment in the here and now on stage.

Louise Straus was born as the daughter of a Jewish merchant in Cologne in 1893. In 1917, she completed her PhD in art history. At university, she met Max Ernst. Shortly before the end of the war in 1918, she married the world-famous painter. They separated in 1922, and Louise was bringing up their son on her own. She had a successful career as journalist and art critic, until her emigration to Paris in 1933, where she fled from the Nazis. There, too, she held her own as a journalist. After the outbreak of the war she attempted to leave for the USA. However, her visa application was rejected. At the end of April 1944 she was arrested and deported on the second-to-last train to Auschwitz on June 30, 1944.

PREMIERE: November 14th, 2014, HELIOS Theater


Production: Barbara Kölling and Team
Performance: Babette Verbunt, Anna-Sophia Zimniak, Dorit Neumann, Roman D. Metzner
Music: Roman D. Metzner and Team
Dramaturgy / Projections: Jolanda Uhlig
Recorded voice: Ulrike Brockerhoff

Press Comments

"All of a sudden, a woman's handbag is a subversive object. A lipstick is considered disreputable. A dress and shoes are likewise added to the pile of remains of a woman's life. A sign is propped up against the handbag: Degenerate.

At Helios-Theater, director Barbara Kölling has adapted the life story of Jewish journalist Louise Straus-Ernst by developing a torrent of texts, music and images, a continuous collage full of allusions and references that lead to Auschwitz. Straus-Ernst was deported with the second-to-last cattle wagon in 1944 and murdered there […]

A lifestyle died with Lou and the artists, journalists, bon vivants and confident women who were killed by the Nazis. The play "Lou" shows how Germans, in their racists mania, robbed themselves by destroying large parts of their own culture… in the final scene, the clacking of a typewriter, sound, recorded and contrabass music blend with photos of Hitler and Eva Braun and then the gate of Auschwitz-Birkenau. Kölling has succeeded in creating an intensive, touching, but never shrill moment. Big applause for an intimate production.”

Westfälischer Anzeiger, November 16, 2015, by Edda Bresky

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