Oskar Matzerath is given a red and white tin drum for his third birthday. At the same time, he decides to stop growing and thereby withdraws from the world of adults. To whomever wants to take the drum away or chastise him, Oskar answers with a scream that can shatter glass. Drumming and shouting, he defies reality and becomes a compassionless observer of an unstable and cruel time: the Weimar Republic collapses, the National Socialists seize power, war and violence are omnipresent. Oskar, being clever and cruel, on the outside and in the middle of all, sees and remembers everything. And he also does not let the others escape with their opportunism and hypocrisy.
The story that Günter Grass eloquently and bluntly tells in his debut novel spans over several decades. Published in 1959, the book shook and polarised the post-war society and became worldwide a literary success. Director Marie Schleef, who is working at Schauspiel Köln for the first time, brings now Grasses’ work of the century as a monologue on stage, adding a female perspective to the story.