Franz Xaver Kroetz

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Franz Xaver Kroetz (born 25 February 1946 in Munich) is a German author, playwright,[1] actor[2] and film director. His plays have been translated and performed internationally.


Kroetz attended an acting school in Munich and the Max-Reinhardt-Seminar in Vienna. He worked as a day-laborer and was active in the German political party DKP, Germany Communist Party, from 1971 to 1980.

He became famous when in 1971 the premiere of his plays Heimarbeit (House-work) and Hartnäckig (Persistent) were disrupted by neo-fascists. His plays in the 1970s portrayed people who had been rendered speechless by their own social misery. In the play Das Nest (The Nest), the protagonist is a truck driver. His boss orders him to dump toxic waste into a lake, thus soiling his "nest." He wrote a libretto based on his play Stallerhof (1971) for an opera of the same name which Gerd Kühr composed in 1987/88. It was premiered at the first Munich Biennale in 1988. The play was staged at the Burgtheater in 2010 by David Bösch.[3]

In her book Franz Xaver Kroetz The Construction of a Political Aesthetic, Michelle Mattson of the Columbia University summarizes:

Franz Xaver Kroetz – banana-cutter, hospital orderly, fledgling actor and, more significantly, Germany's most popular contemporary dramatist of the seventies and early eighties. This study, which situates Kroetz's aesthetics in a political context, focuses on four plays that mark crisis points in his development of a political aesthetic.[4]

Kroetz wrote for the television series Tatort, Spiel mit Karten in 1980 and Wolf im Schafspelz in 2002. He is also known for his role as the gossip columnist 'Baby' Schimmerlos (roughly 'Baby Clueless') in the television series Kir Royal. His income from acting made writing without financial worries possible.[5]

Kroetz was awarded several prizes, including in 2005 the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany.

From 1992 to 2005, Kroetz was married to the actress Marie-Theres Relin. They have three children. As of 2011, Kroetz lived in the Chiemgau and on Tenerife.[5]


In 1976 Michael Roloff translated some of Kroetz' plays into English, namely Stallerhof (Farmyard), Michis Blut (Michi's Blood), Männersache (Men's Business), and Ein Mann ein Wörterbuch (A Man a Dictionary). Roger Downey translated Wunschkonzert (Request Concert), Durch die Blätter (Through the Leaves, the final version of Men's Business), and Das Nest (The Nest). Some of Kroetz' plays have been performed in the United Kingdom, for example, in 2002, Through the Leaves at the Southwark Playhouse,[6][7] in the United States, for example, in 1982, Michi's Blood in New York,[8] as well as in Australia.[9]

Some of Kroetz' plays have also been translated into French and performed in France.[5]

Awards and honors[edit]


  • Richard W. Blevins: Franz Xaver Kroetz. The emergence of a political playwright. New York u. a.: Lang 1983. ISBN 0-8204-0013-0
  • Gérard Thiériot: Franz Xaver Kroetz et le nouveau théâtre populaire. Berne u. a.: Lang 1987. (= Contacts; 1; 4) ISBN 3-261-03694-X
  • Ingeborg C. Walther: The theater of Franz Xaver Kroetz. New York u.a.: Lang 1990. (= Studies in modern German literature; 40) ISBN 0-8204-1397-6
  • Michelle Mattson (Assistant Professor of Germanic Studies, Columbia University): Franz Xaver Kroetz. The Construction of a Political Aesthetic. Berg 1996[4]

Selected plays[edit]

  • Wildwechsel, premiered in 1971 Theater Dortmund
  • Heimarbeit (Homeworker or Home-work), premiered 1971 Münchner Kammerspiele
  • Michis Blut A Requiem in Bavarian, premiered in 1971 pro T München
  • Hartnäckig(Persistent), premiered in 1971 Münchner Kammerspiele
  • Dolomitenstadt Lienz farce with song (music: Peter Zwetkoff), premiered in 1972 Schauspielhaus Bochum
  • Männersache, premiered in 1972 Landestheater Darmstadt
  • Stallerhof, premiered in 1972 Deutsches Schauspielhaus Hamburg
  • Globales Interesse, premiered in 1972 Bayerisches Staatsschauspiel
  • Oberösterreich, premiered in 1972 Städtische Bühnen Heidelberg
  • Lieber Fritz, premiered in 1975 Landestheater Darmstadt
  • Männersache, 1972
  • Wunschkonzert (Request Concert), premiered in 1973 Württembergisches Staatstheater Stuttgart
  • Maria Magdalena after Friedrich Hebbel, premiered in 1973 Städtische Bühnen Heidelberg
  • Geisterbahn, premiered in 1975 Ateliertheater am Naschmarkt Wien
  • Das Nest (The Nest), premiered in 1975 Modernes Theater München
  • Ein Mann ein Wörterbuch (new version of Männersache), premiered in 1976 Ateliertheater am Naschmarkt Wien 1976
  • Agnes Bernauer, premiered in 1977 Leipziger Theater
  • Mensch Meier (Tom Fool), premiered in 1978 Brasil
  • Nicht Fisch nicht Fleisch, premiered in 1981 Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus
  • Münchner Kindl, premiered in 1983 Theater k in Schwabinger Bräu München
  • Der stramme Max, premiered in 1980 Bühnen der Stadt Essen, Ruhrfestspiele

Selected films[edit]

  • Series "Kir Royal"; this series was produced by WDR from 1984/85 but first appeared in 1986.



  1. ^ Gussow, Mel (30 December 1982). "THE STAGE: MONODRAMA BY KROETZ". New York Times. Retrieved 4 March 2011.
  2. ^ Ranft, Wolfgang (25 February 2011). "Schauspieler und Autor Franz Xaver Kroetz feiert auf Teneriffa seinen 65". Bild (in German). Retrieved 4 March 2011.
  3. ^ Georg Petermichl: Fantasievolle Pirouetten 10 December 2010 (in German)
  4. ^ a b Franz Xaver Kroetz. The Construction of a Political Aesthetic Berg 2011
  5. ^ a b c Michael Schleicher: Franz Xaver Kroetz: „Altern ist ein Massaker" Interview, Münchner Merkur 22 February 2011 (in German)
  6. ^ THe Nest at the Arcola Theatre Through the Leaves By Franz Xaver Kroetz translated by Anthony Vivis 2002
  7. ^ Through the Leaves
  8. ^ Frank Rich: Theater: Krotz' 'Michi's Blood' The New York Times 10 September 1982
  9. ^ Interview: Franz Xaver Kroetz Theatrenotes 2009

External links[edit]