© SLT / Tobias Witzgall

Der neue Menoza

Jakob Michael Reinhold Lenz

Oder die Geschichte des cumbanischen Prinzen Tandi / Eine Komödie

Premiere 23. September 2021 / Kammerspiele


Lenz is the most modern, radical and ferocious accuser of society, the enfant terrible of his time, so to speak. With their storming and pressing emotions, both the play “Der neue Menoza” and its author aptly exemplify the entire era of the Sturm und Drang. Even today, the play is twisting the knife in the wound of allegedly civilised ways of life with its criticism of the moral corruption of the bourgeoisie.

Prince Tandi from Cumba, a country very far away, is travelling through Europe with the intention of learning about Western civilisation on his Grand Tour. He is hosted by the silkworm breeder Biederling, who already has another house guest, the slightly obscure Count Camäleon (nomen est omen). The foreign Prince, who has the aura of a “noble savage”, soon discovers the perfidy that pervades Western society, in marked contrast to the enlightened attitude to which it lays claim.

From this point onwards, painful as well as comedic developments unfold: “The play by Jakob Michael Reinhold Lenz rushes through all possible kinds of behaviour: People fall in love, there’s seduction, rape, deceit, murder, physical and verbal threats, choking, extortion, theft, lies, bribery, poisoning (cocoa), escapes, reasoning, kicking and flogging, calculated drug parties en masque with floods of alcohol and rapturous dances by furies.” – Dörte Lyssewski


Goethe had the drama “Der neue Menoza” printed without the knowledge of its author Jakob Michael Reinhold Lenz (1751–1792). It received mostly negative reactions from colleagues and critics. Dejected, Lenz wrote a “Review of ‘Der neue Menoza’, by the author himself”. Goethe’s brother-in-law G. Schlösser meanwhile wrote a letter by “Prince Tandi to the author of ‘Der neue Menoza’”, asking Lenz not to let the criticism get to him.

Dörte Lyssewski has acted at theatres and opera houses in Montpellier, Zurich, Bochum, Paris and Brussels, at the Vienna Burgtheater, the Wiener Festwochen, the Salzburg Festival and the Ruhrtriennale. She has received numerous awards, including the Kainz Medal, the Eysoldt Ring and the Nestroy Theatre Award. The actress and author has been an ensemble member of the Vienna Burgtheater since 2009. This is her first time directing a play.

Selected performance

Th 10/21/2021 07.30 pm


Cast (on 10/21/2021)

Director Dörte Lyssewski

Stage and Costume Design Eva Musil

Herr v. Biederling, wohnhaft in Naumburg Axel Meinhardt

Frau v. Biederling Tina Eberhardt

Wilhelmine, Tochter Patrizia Unger

Der Prinz Tandi Skye MacDonald

Der Graf Camäleon Marco Dott

Donna Diana, eine spanische Gräfin Judith Mahler

Babet, ihre Amme Britta Bayer

Herr v. Zopf, ein Edelmann aus Tirol Christoph Wieschke

Herr Zierau, Baccalaureus Aaron Röll

Der Bürgermeister, sein Vater Christoph Wieschke

Magister Beza, an der Pforte Martin Trippensee