by E.T.A Hoffmann



An article written in 1808 by the natural philosopher G.H. von Schubert and published in a science journal fired the imagination of numerous writers and composers. In it, Schubert wrote about the discovery of a preserved corpse in a Swedish mine.

In 1819, E.T.A. Hoffman turned this news article into a novella.

After the death of his mother, a sailor decides to give up his life at sea. He makes his way to Falun to look for work as a miner and becomes engaged to the daughter of a mine owner.
On the day of the wedding, which falls on St. John’s Day – one of the few days when the miners’ work is suspended – he is drawn back down into the mine, where he falls under the spell of the queen of the underworld. He pays for his descent with his life. Fifty years later, his body is found between two mineshafts and lifted into the daylight. The copper vitriol in the water had preserved his body.

This story emphasises the menace of the mine as a real yet dangerous and mysterious place. What interests us about this novella is the metaphysical dimension, how it plays with reality, dreams, fantasy and melancholy. It breaks boundaries and opens a portal into the infinite depths of the unconscious.

The Romantic artists, of whom E.T.A. Hoffmann was one, can be counted among the originators of psychoanalysis. The realm of the unconscious and the dream was the realm of creativity. That is why their plays, literature, poetry, music and painting are set at night or in twilight.


PREMIERE November 2018

A TON UND KIRSCHEN THEATER PRDUCTION Margarete Biereye, Regis Gergouin, Thalia Heninger, David Johnston, Rob Wyn Jones, Nelson Leon, Dominique Prié, Daisy Watkiss.

ARTISTIC DIRECTION Margarete Biereye & David Johnston

PHOTOGRAPHY by Jean-Pierre Estournet

TRAILER by Stephan Samuel


Zitty Berlin, Regine Bruckmann, August 2019

(…) The story of Elis Fröbom, who, after the death of his mother, decides to give up his job as a sailor and become a miner, is told by the Ton und Kirschen Theater with a feel for the real, yet staged as an eccentric dream journey.
Gustav Mahler’s setting of Friedrich Rückert’s text “Ich bin der Welt abhandenkommen” (I am lost to the world), fittingly paired with Biereye’s masque, ensures that the audience not only mentally descends into the mine, but also into the dream world of the protagonist. “There is something hidden behind it and it resonates in everything,” explains Biereye. Poetic realism as one can only wish for.

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Berliner Morgenpost, Ulrike Borowczyk, August 2019

(…) With comparatively few resources, the ensemble pulls out all the stops, playing with masks, lighting and music to create a unique world of images. This theatrical tale of the abyss will stay with you.

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Schweriner Volkszeitung, Monika Maria Degner, May 2019

(…) The company also carefully processed the material for their latest production, uncovering, for example, references to the poet and mining engineer Novalis. In one scene, his poem “Der ist der Herr der Erde, der ihre Tiefen durchmisst” (He is the Lord of the Earth, who measures its depths) was sung, accompanied by a guitar. Once again, the unmistakable style of the company was clearly discernible, for example in the illustrative musical accompaniment or the juxtaposition of serious depth with grotesque humour.

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PNN, Astrid Priebs-Tröger, December 2018

(…) Between light and dark.
The staging alternates between reality and a dream, between vision and delusion, which is a major part of its appeal.

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MAZ, Jan Russezki, December 2018

(…) The Mines of Glindow
The traveling theatre company Ton und Kirschen’s farewell in Werder before the winter break is an impressive play set in a mine.

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RBB, Kulturradio, Portrait of Margarete Biereye, by Regine Bruckmann, August 2019


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