Der kleine Grenzverkehr
Der kleine Grenzverkehr
© Anna-Maria Löffelberger

Little Border Traffic (Der kleine Grenzverkehr)

Erich Kästner

Premiere 11/12/2020 / Kammerspiele


The year is 1937. Georg Rentmeister, a young writer, is invited to the Salzburg Festival. Unfortunately, the competent authority fails to grant him the right to import foreign currencies.

Unwilling to miss the “Rosenkavalier” or the Mozart concerts, Georg decides to board in Bad Reichenhall in Germany and to travel to and fro over the state border to enjoy these cultural treats – without even one Schilling to spend. Of course, this arrangement lands him in some highly precarious situations. But, as luck would have it, an extraordinarily pretty young lady is there to help him out…

Erich Kästner began writing his amusing story in the form of a diary in 1937 – by the time it was published in 1938, the political circumstances had changed gravely. Kästner was able to turn an autobiographical account of his visit to the Salzburg Festival in a setting of alpine panoramas and National Socialism into a summer love story with some intense and absurdly comical complications and no small amount of tomfoolery.

In his novel “Fabian – The Story of a Moralist”, published in 1931, Erich Kästner (1899–1974) warned of the political and social developments he was witnessing. In 1933 his works were among the books that were burned by the Nazis. He was allowed to continue to publish abroad because of the success of his translated works. Henceforth, Kästner focused on light fiction. He wrote “Little Border Traffic” in the summer of 1937, when Germany and Austria were separated by border checkpoints. Hans Deppe made the book into a film in 1943.

Volkmar Kamm has realised many productions at the Salzburg State Theatre. In addition to “Homo Faber”, which ran for nine years, he recently staged the play “The White Rose” and the world premiere of “Der Trafikant”. His successful productions also include lovingly crafted plays for children, such as “Jim Button”, as well as the opera “Oberon” in the 2019/2020 season. Kamm is a gifted adapter of texts and has also dramatised “Little Border Traffic” for the stage.