“I’m afraid of my wife”

The best thing for a humorist is to have grown up in a small town, otto reutter is said to have said once. When jan burdinski said this in presseck, he could be sure that everyone in the audience nodded in agreement, at least internally. Especially since the director of the “frankischer theatersommer the first presentation of his literary variete with texts and songs of the berlin humorist a little off the beaten track of cultural events gave.

Otto reutter came from gardelegen in saxony-anhalt, a sprawling little town with 36 inhabitants per square kilometer – statistically just three more than presseck. Nevertheless, the small, fat otto pfutzenreuter from the provinces became one of the greats of 1920s cabaret, who finally managed the "wintergarten" all by himself in berlin, the then coarse variete theater with 1700 square meters, fullte.

Otto reutter was not a crude newer artist. He followed the mainstream, as it is called today. Before the first world war, like many others, he drummed up support for the fight against the enemy in so-called war revues. When his son fell at verdun in 1916, he fell silent.

After 1918 he became critical, but not political. Otto reutter gave society a tour and made it clear what was really behind social conventions and rituals. "I am afraid of my wife" – this is the title of burdinski"s outline of otto reutter – may be considered a typical example of reutter"s artistic revolt against the appearance of the unreal. In it, the protagonist presents himself as strong, brave and combative, but must honestly note that in reality he is pussy-whipped at home.

Skeptic with a sense of humor

Reutter had become a skeptic, but he dressed his skepticism nicely and humorously in verse, never becoming cynical like berthold brecht at the same time. Reutter"s art in upheaval was different. So he founded a men"s choir that did not – as was customary at the time – worship the "annchen von tharau" in a reverent and pathetic manner, but sang entertaining and funny songs to reutter"s own lyrics in the style of the comedian harmonists.

Jan burdinski had just forgotten the title piece in his presseck presentation and left it out. But it does not matter.



Burdinski is a walking archive of rhymes, from which he can spontaneously associate one poem with another. He lives the lyrics in his face. He is horrified by it, only to squint mischievously to the side; he rattles off whole passages of the text, only to then delightfully introduce others to his audience, word for word.

He leaves it to his listeners to imagine the appropriate scenes for this. They hang on his lips while they watch their inner film to it. Burdinski occasionally takes up the accordion and puts the text to music; then he takes up the guitar when it’s about less important things.

"I am afraid of my wife" burdinski then made up for this, however, when he was greeted by edina thern, head of the pressecker association "kultur auf der hohe" (culture on the high ground), as the audience departed, his failure was pointed out – quite spontaneously. Theatrical people of the caliber of jan burdinski need only a snap of their fingers to do this.

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