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The reputation of ‘the runner-up’


Willem de Wolf

Egon Krenz was only 36 when GDR leader Erich Honecker appointed him as his successor. After more than 17 years of waiting for his time to come, Krenz was involved in the downfall of his political father and was appointed the new communist leader of East Germany. He would be the last one and would reign for only six weeks – until the Berlin Wall came down. He was tried in court for the crimes of the previous regime and not Honecker (who had fled to Chile by then).

Willem de Wolf is a gifted, introverted story-teller, who underpins his story with an immoral kind of nostalgia and then serves it up with a vicious humour that reminds me of Heiner Müller.
De Groene Amsterdammer

In this monologue Krenz symbolises a life lived as a runner-up, waiting on the sidelines for one’s moment – a moment that never lives up to long-held expectations. Willem de Wolf links Krenz’s story to his own family history. He recounts how his father embraced the spirit of socialism after being denied coffee at a very bourgeois café. This introduces the theme of ‘the eternal runner-up’, which is personified by Egon Krenz. Krenz is linked to the young Willem de Wolf, who is raised with the same ideals and ambitions as his father and thus learns to look up to his GDR alter ego. But behind the glorious façade of the communist GDR not everything is as bright as it seems… In this smart, sharp and funny text, De Wolf dissects the frustrations and loneliness that lie behind ambition.

An impressive text, delivered by De Wolf with a sense of urgency and control.
One of the most fascinating performances of the season.
Het Parool