“THE GOOD LIFE”?
M A T T H I A S
L I L I E N T H A L
Matthias Lilienthal is in the midst of
his first season as Director
of the Münchner Kammerspiele.
He has really started to shake up the
Munich theatre scene,
not least because one question
has been playing on his mind: what is
the role of theatre in
T H E A T R E
A S A L A B O R A T O R Y
It is Friday morning in a bare office in the Munich Kammerspiele theatre. Matthias Lilienthal sits at a conference table with a freshly boiled pot of tea. The 55-year-old became director of the theatre last autumn. Today like many others, he wears his typical orange t-shirt and obligatory pair of baggy jeans. He has the odd tuft of grey hair around his ears; in between sit two watchful, almost youthful, eyes. Born in Berlin, Lilienthal has also lived and worked in Vienna, Basel and Beirut—and now also in Munich.
Mr. Lilienthal, is Munich your kind of city?
M A T T H I A S L I L I E N T H A L
Yeah, I think so. The city takes hold of you very quickly. I love the fact that the whole of Munich is so varied. I love that everybody hangs around the Isar River. When it’s warm, the cool river flows through the city. I also love the city’s pubs and bars, where everyone from all walks of life—students, working, middle or upper class—socialises side by side. You could say they are to Munich what the beach is to Rio de Janeiro.
Are you, as some have labelled you, the “Terror of the Theatre”?
I’ve suddenly gained this reputation in Munich because I wear orange and yellow t-shirts. If I walked around in a Brioni suit, I don’t think people would be so quick to judge. I do not pose a threat to the theatre. Admittedly, the job centre says that you’ll likely be out of a job after three to five years, and I haven’t worked in a municipal theatre for the last 15 years now. However, being away for so long allows me to clearly see exactly what has changed in that time.