Death Actually

Winter 2011 / 2012

“Death is as common as life.” – Henry David Thoreau

Death – besides love – is one of humankind’s great issues; it is also one of the most frequently treated themes in literature and art. As one of the few certainties of existence, death – in all its appearances – has been and continues to be a frequent source of inspiration for writers at all times.

“It’s not that I’m afraid to die. I just don’t want to be there when it happens.” – Woody Allen, Death

One thing is sure to all of us: death. Death? Actually, the characters in Death Actually show us numerous faces of death and how we encounter them: the terror and the sadness, but also the joy of life! However serious this topic may be in principle, please do not forget to smile, since

“They die well that live well.” – Proverb

The Idea:
In works by Ovid or William Shakespeare, Emily Dickinson, Edgar Allan Poe and Mark Twain (to name but a few) the theme of death is omnipresent. Looking for a source of inspiration, we built the numerous scenes of Death Actually around the textual worlds that those writers created. In this way, Actor’s Nausea ventures into unknown territory not only with regard to theme but also strategy, as we accepted the challenge of collaboratively adapting diverging pieces of literature for the theatre stage and thus of working towards a product that can stand for its own.

The Texts:
Emily Dickinson’s “I felt a funeral in my brain”, “I heard a fly buzz when I died”, “Because I could not stop for death”
Virginia Woolf’s Suicide Notice
William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” and “Macbeth”
Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Premature Burial” and “The Tell-tale Heart”
Mark Twain’s “Post-Mortem Poetry”
Witi Ihimaera’s “Dinner with the Cannibal”
Ovid’s “Philemon and Baucis” from the Metamorphoses (in a theatre adaptation by Mary Zimmerman)

We would like to thank Mary Zimmerman and Witi Ihimaera for generously granting us permission to perform their texts as part of Death Actually.

Directed by

Antje Schumacher and Anna Ravenstein (Assistant Director)

Cast (in order of appearance)

Bert – (Stephan “Bix” Breidenbach) Matthias Scherf
Louise – Christiane Heetkamp
Death – Dennis Kloss, Anna Ravenstein
Patient – Johanna Jäschke
Nurse – Katharina Hirsch
Ghosts – Elisabeth Kuth, Anne Ruh, Karline Schillberg
Virginia Woolf – Julia Vaeßen
Her husband – Richard Jung
Charon – Sascha Bogdanovic
Romeo – Lukas Hensel
Juliet – Lea Nellessen
Murderer – Richard Jung
Victorine Lafourcade – Katharina Hirsch
Julien Bossuet – René Glebke
Monsieur Renelle – Matthias Scherf
Cannibal – Thomas Erlinghagen
Maori – Julia Glock
Lady Macbeth – Néomi Havinga
Beggars – Johanna Jäschke, Matthias Scherf
Baucis – Julia Fink
Philemon – René Glebke
Paul – Thomas Erlinghagen
Carol – Katharina Hirsch

Intermission Entertainment

Richard Jung, Néomi Havinga, Matthias Scherf, Stephan “Bix” Breidenbach, Julia Fink, Christiane Heetkamp


Christina Anders, Anna Ravenstein, Constanze Rogosz, Andrea Schmitz, Antje Schumacher, Julia Vaeßen

Light and Sound

Matthias Schaffrath

Live Music

Marcus Kunter, Julia Fink, Christiane Heetkamp, Dennis Kloss

Recorded Music

The Silent Anon, Marcus Kunter, Aron Binienda, Christiane Heetkamp, Andrea Schmitz

Teaser Conceptualisation and Realisation

Julia Vaeßen, Thomas Erlinghagen, Jonas Freiwald, Katharina Hirsch


Julia Vaeßen


Matthias Scherf


Dennis Kloss, Lea Nellessen

Poster and Programme

Thomas Michalski (Layout); Julia Glock, Andrea Schmitz, Ben Sonntag (Text)

Production Management

Julia Fink, Jonas Freiwald, René Glebke, Julia Glock, Néomi Havinga, Kai Koerffer, Anna Ravenstein, Constanze Rogosz, Antje Schumacher

Sincere Thanks to

Aachener Nachrichten: Petra Jaspers; Aachener Zeitung: Laura Hentz, Hans-Peter Leisten, Andreas Steindl; AC Uni Copy; Christina Anders; Kirsten Anders; Asta, 90 Sekunden: Sara Kleineheer; Sarah Bingham; Center TV: Ulrike Wimmer; Copy 2000; Emily Cox; Tobias Großkreutz; Hochschulradio: Judith Salomon; Hörsaaltechnik der RWTH Aachen: Roland Valter, Thomas Müller; Institut für Anglistik, Amerikanistik und Romanistik der RWTH Aachen: Prof. Ludwig Deringer, Jürgen Osthoff and the library team, Ulrike Stalinski, Prof. Peter Wenzel; Christiane Kessel; Klenkes Stadtmagazin Aachen; Christine Knorr; Lena Kroner; Kulturbetrieb der Stadt Aachen; Ludwig Forum für Internationale Kunst, especially Werner Wosch and Michael Weinmann; Julian Meichsner; Lars Raasch; Restaurant Parapluie: Wolfgang Rommel; Tanja S. Romich; Lea Scheer; Schumm Veranstaltungstechnik: Oliver Schumm; WDR: Kai Oidtmann; WEG Merowinger Residenz, Aachener Hausmeister Zentrale: Rolf Everding; Gérard Wüller and everyone supporting us with dedication every day!

Photos from our Sciene Night Production