By Heiner Müller
English version premiered on May 7, 1986 at New York University, New York, New York
German (original) version premiered on October 4, 1986 at the Kunsthalle, Hamburg, Germany
Italian version premiered on July 7, 2017 at the Teatro San Nicolò, Festival dei Due Mondi, Spoleto, Italy
Robert Wilson’s friendship with the East German playwright Heiner Müller was not only legendary but also extremely productive; Müller wrote texts for the Cologne Section of THE CIVIL warS (1984), The Forest (1988), and The Death of Molière (1994). Furthermore, texts by Müller were used in Wilson’s Medea (1984), Alcestis (1986), and Ocean Flight (1998). When Müller failed to write a new text for a Wilson play in 1987, he wrote a long letter declining the collaboration, reaching Wilson in the last week of rehearsals for Death, Destruction and Detroit II at Berlin’s Schaubühne–the letter itself became part of DD&D II. That same year, Wilson directed Müller’s Quartet, first in Germany and later in France.
For Hamletmachine, Wilson first worked with students at New York University, and later–in the original German version–with theater students in Hamburg, produced by the Thalia Theater. In 2017, the production was revived in an Italian version with acting students from the Theater Academy "Silvio d'Amico" in Rome.
Heiner Müller himself called Wilson’s production “the best production ever” of this work, praising it for its lightness and absence of interpretive staging.