I am human - I am afraid

                                                   Walter Rheiner - Between dream and ecstasy

                                                   narrated in word and sound



Walter Rheiners literary work meets contemporary musical improvisations. His prose piece “Kokain”, anticipating his own demise, is the basis for the musical and literary confrontation with the far too unknown writer, whose poetry is incorporated into the novella.

For the dialogical reading, two established representatives of stagecraft from two generations, Hans Richter and Olaf Reitz, meet. They are united by their passion for literature and lecture. A good basis for exploring the polyphony of Walter Rheiner's work.

H. P. Hiby provides the soundtrack on the one hand and his own views and moods on Rheiner's work on the other.

Cornelia Ehrlich expands the production team as an impulse generator and catalyst.

A literature concert as a journey through the expressionistic diversity of Walter Rheiner's creative output and the abysses of his world.


Hans Richter                                 Olaf Reitz

Hans Peter Hiby                          Cornelia Ehrlich



Walter Rheiner


was just 30 years old when he died after an overdose of morphine in a flophouse in Berlin. Nobody cares, not the public, especially not the press. Everyday life in Berlin in the 1920s.


Walter Rheiner was born on 18 March 1895 in Cologne.

He began writing at the age of sixteen. When he was called up for military service in 1914, Rheiner took intoxicants for the first time - he wanted to, as a drug addict avoiding conscription. In Berlin at the beginning of the 20th century, Rheiner is confronted with the social and political contrasts of the "crashing city". This is where most of the literary nomad's works were created. He usually finds shelter with friends or in cheap hotels.He spends a lot of time in the Romanische Café, where he meets well-known authors such as Däubler, Friedlaender, Claire and Iwan Goll, Hasenclever, Lasker-Schüler, Loerke, Meidner and Schickele. A short detour takes Rheiner to Dresden in 1918, where he becomes editor-in-chief of the magazine for new art "MENSCHEN".

 Only with his childhood friend, the painter Conrad Felixmüller, does he share an enduring friendship. He illustrated some of his works and created the congenial painting "Der Tod des Dichters Walter Rheiner" (1925) as an obituary.

 Walter Rheiner left behind about 80 poems, some prose sketches and the novella KOKAIN, which he wrote in 1918 and which anticipates his own end as a sensitive study of a cocaine psychosis.


"Rather, it is characterized as the psychic topography of a decadent urban center that has become a paradigm, [...] a gigantic, dangerously treacherous machine carousel [...] in the whirl of the elevated railway over dark roofs.

(Walter Huder || From Rilke to Cocteau)