On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the death of Michael Gartenschläger, Interkunst e.V. developped a theatre piece about his life together with actors, based on reports of contemporary witnesses and other sources.
The Wall marks the beginning and end of this tragic story, during the time of the Cold War and the Policy of Detente.
Michael Gartenschläger was no hero. He was simply a young guy, 17 years old, who saw himself deprived of his personal freedom by the erection of the wall. The very normal reactions of his youth gang led to a show trial that resulted in a lifelong sentence.
During the years in prison, growing up, he develops political consciousness and starts challenging the borders and the system with escape attempts. After his freedom is bought, at the age of 27, he tries to make up for the lost years of his youth. His aim is to expose the hated and degrading system of the GDR-dictatorship. But the policy of detente of the FRG disappoints him.
He gets little support.
He dares the spectacular deconstruction of a set-gun construction, at the wall. For two weeks, this makes him known through media coverage. Then he dares too much and is shot. It may be questioned, whether it made sense what he did, had an effect, was worth dying for. Confronting his story, more questions come up: Was he a hero or did he just need attention? Could his death have been prevented, who was responsable for it? It leads to a basic question: What would I have done if I had been in his position? For sure, Michael Gartenschläger was a very interesting character, but his actions can´t be interpreted simply and clearly. His life reflects a big deal of GDR history and the complicated German-German relationships.