Die Nacht von Lissabon

»There is no return from exile. We are a generation of emigrants – whether we left or stayed at home. One person’s feet took them away from Germany, Germany departed out from under the feet of the others.«
Erich Maria Remarque, 1968

The port of Lisbon was the place where the opportunity to escape from fascist Europe bound many people in exile together. This was where the ships for the USA departed, for most the threshold to freedom – a ticket and a visa – was insurmountable. Remarque’s Die Nacht von Lissabon (The Night in Lisbon) follows the story of Helen and Josef and their desperate love, as they flee through fascist Europe. Hakan Savaş Mican’s adaptation follows Remarque’s story on a contemporary journey from Osnabrück through Zurich and Paris to Lisbon. Mican bursts geographical and temporal borders, weaving his personal travel journal together with the book’s story. He mirrors – in the fate of the couple – the fraught localisation of migrant workers and the unwritten biographies of the nameless dead in the tides of the Mediterranean. Then as now, a safe harbour turns people seeking refuge into smugglers of their own survival. How can a society that calls itself »free« function, when life is only as valid as the stamp in your passport? With Remarque, Mican investigates the question of belonging on a continent that’s trying to redefine itself as a cultural and geographical fortress. He also tells a story of hope, the miracle of love and the possibility of solidarity. Together with video artist Benjamin Krieg, Mican journeyed through Europe, following in Remarque’s footsteps, and now – together with Dimitrij Schaad, Anastasia Gubareva and a four-piece band – sketches a picture of departing and never arriving that quantifies time and space.

Watch the trailer

Premiere on 11/January 2019

Foto: Esra Rotthoff
Stage photos: Ute Langkafel

Aufführungsrechte: Die Nacht von Lissabon nach dem gleichnamigen Roman von Erich Maria Remarque, erschienen im Verlag Kiepenheuer & Witsch (Köln). Die Bühnenrechte wurden vermittelt durch Mohrbooks (Zürich) für New York Unversity, successor-in-interest to the literary rights of The Estate of the Late Paulette Goddard Remarque

Based on the novel by
Erich Maria Remarque
Stage adaption by
Direction & Stage design


Music Director and Composition

Stage Design Advisor


Stage lighting


Anastasia Gubareva

Dimitrij Schaad