© François Truchon

Through the Leaves

Franz Xaver Kroetz’s work is characteristic of German postwar realism—abrasive, unyielding, ruthless in its examination of all forms of decay and depravity. In a manner reminiscent of Fassbinder—with whom he has worked in the past —Kroetz subtly shifts form and meaning: the ugly becomes likeable, and the scandalous or offensive, moving.


THROUGH THE LEAVES is the story of two parallel worlds hopelessly cut off from each other; on the frontier between them, a man and a woman, both middle-aged and both desperate for love. This drama of incommunicability, transposed to New York, involves Annette, an independent woman who owns a butcher shop, and Victor, who is a prisoner of his upbringing and the male stereotypes imposed by society. In the back of her shop, Annette dreams of poetry and art scrupulously confiding in her diary the story of her love affair with Victor, who is oblivious to everything except his own immediate pleasure.

The harsh and provocative production directed by JoAnne Akalaitis, one of the leading figures in theatre in the United States, plays roughly with the audiencets feelings, but only to seduce and move them more deeply in the end. Mabou Mines’ spectators are warned, in the words of a German proverb: “Those who walk through the leaves must put up with the rustling.”


By Franz Xaver Kroetz
Directed by JoAnne Akalaitis
A Mabou Mines production