Manfred Karge

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Manfred Karge (* 1. March 1938 in Brandenburg ) is a German actor , director and playwright .


After graduating from high school, Manfred Karge worked for various newspapers. From 1958 to 1961 he studied at the State Drama School in Berlin (today Ernst Busch Academy of Dramatic Art ). He was of Helene Weigel directly from the drama school as an actor and assistant director at the Berliner Ensemble fetched. There, together with his companion Matthias Langhoff , he soon managed to attract attention as a director with so-called Brecht evenings ( Das kleine Mahagonny, Der Messingkauf, Der Brotladen ). With their staging of Seven against Thebes by Aeschylus, Karge / Langhoff got into the political disputes after the Prague events of 1968.

Then they left the Berliner Ensemble and moved to the Berliner Volksbühne with Benno Besson . Soon the Volksbühne became a social center of the city. The directors Besson, Karge / Langhoff, Marquardt and an excellent acting ensemble succeeded in gaining great public approval with extraordinarily contemporary and artistically highly regarded performances. The 1974 spectacle, consisting of 13 world premieres, became a very special theater event . This was the beginning of the long-term collaboration with Heiner Müller . In 1975, Karge / Langhoff brought the world premiere of Müller's play “Die Schlacht” to the stage. After political quarrels and Besson's departure, Karge / Langhoff also left the Volksbühne.

Since there were hardly any job opportunities in the GDR, the Ministry of Culture suggested that they “go abroad for a while”. At the Schauspielhaus Hamburg you staged Kleist's Prince Friedrich von Homburg and Fatzer fragment by Brecht in the montage by Heiner Müller and in the same year Prometheus by Aischylos / Müller in Geneva.

In 1979 Karge / Langhoff joined the Peymann Ensemble at the Schauspielhaus Bochum . There they brought u. a. Dear Georg von Thomas Brasch and several pieces by Heiner Müller for the first performance. In 1982 Karge staged his first own play with jacket and trousers : the premiere of Heiner Müller's Anatomy Titus was the directors' last joint work in 1984.

In 1986 Karge went to the Burgtheater in Vienna with Claus Peymann . There he played and staged numerous Brecht plays as well as world premieres of Elfriede Jelinek's Totenauberg and Franz Fühmann's Der Sturz des Engels. Directed by George Tabori, Karge played Mr. Stab in the world premiere of Jelinek's Stecken, Stab und Stangl .

In 1993 Karge left the Burgtheater and returned to Berlin, where he took over the management of the Directing Institute at the Academy of Dramatic Art. In addition to this activity, Karge u. a. at the Kunstfest Weimar a multi-year Faust project .

Since 2000 he has been working again at the Berliner Ensemble. He staged a number of Brecht plays and played a. a. the Mauler in the Peymann production of Saint Joan of the Slaughterhouses and the cook in Mother Courage and her children . Karge left the Berliner Ensemble in 2017, his last directorial work there was for the world premiere of Volker Braun's The Greeks . Since then he has been working as a freelance director and playwright.

The plays written by Karge include a. The conquest of the South Pole, pieces of the wall, Dear Niembsch and killer fish . The piece jacket like pants tells the story of a woman who took on the role of her deceased husband in the 1930s in order to save his job. It was successfully premiered in 1982 with Lore Brunner in the role of Max Gericke, re-enacted in many European countries and overseas, and filmed in 1991 by John Maybury under the title "Man to Man" with Tilda Swinton in the leading role.

Karge is a member of the PEN Center Germany and the Academy of Performing Arts.

Productions (selection)

  • 1963: Mahagonny. Song play UA by Brecht / Weill (version Karge / Langhoff), Berliner Ensemble
  • 1967: The bread shop premiered by Brecht (Karge / Langhoff version), Berliner Ensemble
  • 1969: Seven against Thebes by Aeschylus , Berliner Ensemble
  • 1968: The story of Simone Machard von Brecht, DDR television
  • 1969: Wald von Ostrowski, Volksbühne Berlin
  • 1971: The Robbers von Schiller, Volksbühne Berlin
  • 1972: Brecht's bread shop , Theater de Aubervilliers
  • 1973: Ibsen's Wild Duck, Volksbühne Berlin
  • 1974: Schlötel or what the heck? WP by Christoph Hein , Volksbühne Berlin
  • 1975: The battle premiered by Heiner Müller , Volksbühne Berlin
  • 1976: Wald von Ostrowski, Schauspielhaus Zurich
  • 1976: The Citizen General von Goethe , Volksbühne Berlin
  • 1978: Prince von Homburg von Kleist , Schauspielhaus Hamburg
  • 1978: FatzerFragment WP by Brecht / Müller, Schauspielhaus Hamburg
  • 1978: Prometheus by Aischylos / Müller, Theater de Carouge
  • 1979: King Lear by Shakespeare, Schouwburg Rotterdam
  • 1980: Dear Georg UA by Thomas Brasch , Schauspielhaus Bochum
  • 1981: Marie.Woyzeck von Büchner , Schauspielhaus Bochum
  • 1981: The Cherry Orchard by Chekhov , Schauspielhaus Bochum
  • 1981: Centerpiece premier by Heiner Müller , Schauspielhaus Bochum
  • 1982: Jacket and pants UA by Karge, Schauspielhaus Bochum
  • 1983: Dilapidated Shore Premiere by Heiner Müller, Schauspielhaus Bochum
  • 1983: Brecht's mother , Schauspielhaus Bochum
  • 1984: Prince von Homburg von Kleist, Villeurbanne / Paris / Avignon
  • 1985: Anatomy Titus premiered by Heiner Müller, Schauspielhaus Bochum
  • 1985: Claire. A musical world premiere by Karge / Walden, Schauspielhaus Bochum
  • 1986: The conquest of the South Pole, premiered by Karge, Schauspielhaus Bochum
  • 1986: Hauptmann's rats , Schauspielhaus Cologne
  • 1987: Faith, Love, Hope from Horvath, Akademietheater Vienna
  • 1987: Mother Courage and her children von Brecht, Schauspielhaus Cologne
  • 1988: Medea UA of the prose version by Hans Henny Jahnn , Schauspielhaus Cologne
  • 1989: Mozart and Salieri von Puschkin , tour Vienna / Berlin / London
  • 1989: The good person by Sezuan von Brecht, Akademietheater Vienna
  • 1990: MauerStücke, premiered by Karge, Akademietheater Vienna
  • 1990: Pique Dame von Pushkin, Schönbrunn Palace Theater
  • 1991: Maria Stuart von Schiller, Schauspielhaus Frankfurt / Main
  • 1991: Baal von Brecht, Akademietheater Vienna
  • 1991: The conquest of the South Pole by Karge, Deutsches Theater Berlin
  • 1992: Totenauberg Premiere by Elfriede Jelinek , Akademietheater Vienna
  • 1993: The round heads and the pointed heads by Brecht, Akademietheater Vienna
  • 1993: Urfaust von Goethe, Weimar Art Festival
  • 1994: Leonce and Lena von Büchner, Weimar Art Festival
  • 1999: Faust 1 by Goethe, Theater am Goetheplatz Bremen
  • 1999: The chairs by Ionesco, Theater am Goetheplatz Bremen
  • 2000: Faust 2 by Goethe, Theater am Goetheplatz Bremen
  • 2006: Mann is von Brecht's man , Berliner Ensemble
  • 2007: Faustus. Play for three world premiere by Karge, Berliner Ensemble
  • 2008: Life of Galileo von Brecht, Theater de Carouge
  • 2008: Schweyk in World War II by Brecht / Eisler , Berliner Ensemble
  • 2009: Fear and Misery of the III. Reiches von Brecht, Berliner Ensemble
  • 2010: The Caucasian Chalk Circle by Brecht, Berliner Ensemble
  • 2011: Hanns Eisler Revue , Berliner Ensemble
  • 2013: Refugee Talks by Brecht, Berliner Ensemble
  • 2013: The races of Bruckner, Berliner Ensemble
  • 2014: The downfall of the egoist Johann Fatzer von Brecht, Berliner Ensemble
  • 2015: Mrs. Carrar von Brecht's rifles , Berliner Ensemble
  • 2016: The Greeks premiered by Volker Braun , Berliner Ensemble
  • 2018: The Antigone of Sophocles von Brecht, Staatstheater Wiesbaden

As an actor

Theater (selection)

  • 1961: Frantischek in Mrs. Flinz von Baierl (Berliner Ensemble)
  • 1962: Francois Faure in The Days of the Commune von Brecht ( BE )
  • 1963: Alaskawolf-Joe in Das kleine Mahagonny by Brecht / Weill (BE)
  • 1963: Polly Baker in Mann is Mann von Brecht (BE)
  • 1971: Karl Moor in The Robbers by Schiller (Volksbühne Berlin)
  • 1973: Hjalmar Ekdal in The Wild Duck by Henrik Ibsen (VB)
  • 1976: Hamlet in Hamlet by Shakespeare (VB)
  • 1980: Georg in Dear Georg von Brasch (Bochum)
  • 1980: Woyzeck in Marie.Woyzeck von Büchner (Bochum)
  • 1983: Jason in Depraved Shore ... by Müller (Bochum)
  • 1983: Thirties in Die Weber von Hauptmann (Bochum)
  • 1985: Dittchen in Weekend in Paradise by Arnold & Bach (Bochum)
  • 1985: Aaron in Anatomy Titus ... von Müller (Bochum)
  • 1988: Franz F. in The Fall of Angel von Fühmann (Akademieth. Vienna)
  • 1993: Manfred in Manfred von Schumann / Byron (Opera de Lyon)
  • 1994: Consul Berneck in pillars of the Ibsen Society (Basel)
  • 1996: Behringer I. in The King dies of Ionesco (BE)
  • 1997: Hassenreuter in Hauptmann's rats (Gorki-Theater Berlin)
  • 1997: Mr. Stab in Stecken, Stab und Stangl von Jelinek (Aka. Vienna)
  • 1998: Dr. Schön in Lulu by Wedekind (Gorki Theater Berlin)
  • 2000: Duke of York in Richard II of Shakespeare (BE)
  • 2001: Karl Korn in the Early Death of Tabori (BE)
  • 2003: Pierpont Mauler in Saint Joan of the Brecht slaughterhouses (BE)
  • 2004: Caribaldi in The Power of Habit by Bernhardt (Tübingen)
  • 2005: Field cook in Mother Courage and her children from Brecht (BE)
  • 2006: Friedrich Wilhelm I in Katte von Becker (Potsdam)
  • 2007: Karl Balicke in drums on the night of Brecht (BE)
  • 2007: Faustus in Faustus. Three-player game by Karge (BE)
  • 2008: The hooded gentleman in Spring Awakening from Wedekind (BE)
  • 2009: Fulgenzio in the trilogy of the beautiful holiday season by Goldoni (BE)
  • 2010: Duke of York in Richard II of Shakespeare (Burgtheater Vienna)
  • 2013: Ziffel in refugee talks by Brecht (BE)
  • 2015: Jacob books in Cinema Apollon by Moravia / Langhoff (Theater Vydy Lausanne)

Film (selection)

Television (selection)

  • 1961: TV epitaval: The Denke case (TV series)
  • 1961: Erik in a colportage by Kaiser
  • 1961: Serjoscha in And in the sky Christmas trees
  • 1962: TV epitaval: shot while trying to escape
  • 1962: Norman in Artur Seligmann's Encounters by Krüger
  • 1962: Frantischek in Mrs. Flinz von Baierl
  • 1963: Horst Ladwig in blue light - hot gold
  • 1964: Mulcanny in Red Roses for Me by O'Cayey
  • 1966: Rille in A Man Too Much Blue Light (TV series) (episode 25)
  • 1966: Francois in The Days of the Commune von Brecht
  • 1969: Schwandja in Ljubov Jarovaja von Trenjow
  • 1975: Hjalmar Ekdal in Ibsen's The Wild Duck
  • 1976: Simon Chachawa in Brecht's The Caucasian Chalk Circle



  • 1982: jacket and pants
  • 1985: Claire. A musical (music by Stanley Walden )
  • 1986: The conquest of the South Pole
  • 1989: Dear Niembsch
  • 1990: M a uer pieces
  • 1991: killer fish
  • 1995: The bearded woman
  • 1995: Faust 1911
  • 1996: Faust. A feast
  • 1996: TV War (play for children)
  • 2000: DichterTode - Seven Exercises
  • 2002: The Devil's Violinist (music by Wynton Marsalis )
  • 2005: Petersburg. A gogoliade
  • 2006: Christophorus cantata
  • 2007: Faustus. Three-player game
  • 2007: The Wig of Destiny (based on Nestroy)
  • 2010: old man and virgin
  • 2013: Gogol's Auditor. A variation
  • 2017: Lorca's death. libretto
  • 2018: Paris-Dakar or Schrödinger's cat


Film adaptations and radio plays

Jacket like pants was made into a film in 1991 under the title Man to Man with Tilda Swinton and directed by John Maybury.

In 1989, The Conquest of the South Pole was filmed by Gilles Mackinnon under the title Conquest of the South Pole .

By killer fish there is a radio play with DS culture from 1992. Director: Karl-Heinz Liefers .


Web links