Based on the text ‘Zigeuner-Boxer’ [Gypsy-Boxer] (2015) by Rike Reiniger
Director/Dramaturgy: Nada Kokotović
Performers: Nedjo Osman, Arno Kempf
The languages spoken are German and Romanes.
Photo: Klaus Dilger TANZweb.org
At the beginning of the 1930s, Johann Wilhelm Trollmann was a star of the boxing ring, a youth idol and a heart-throb – handsome, successful, popular and famous. He was Sinto and his name in Romanes was Rukeli.
In 1933 he became the German light heavyweight champion. The Nazis stripped him of the title and murdered him in the Neuengamme concentration camp.
The year 2013 was the 80th anniversary of Rukeli’s championship. The play Rukeli reflects the fate of the boxer. Above all, it tells a story about true friendship – in that racism cannot succeed when it comes to humanity and justice. Nobody knows this better than Rukeli’s friend Hans. Simple, loving gestures from his childhood are so deeply anchored within his memory that a ‘dirty gypsy’ for him does not exist. Hans tells the story of a friendship that is not allowed to be under the Nazis and yet remains beyond Rukeli’s death.
Documentary theatre, based on the text ‘Zigeuner-Boxer’ [Gypsy-Boxer] (2015) by Rike Reiniger, based on the book Leg dich, Zigeuner: Die Geschichte von Johan Trollmann und Tull Harder [Lie down, gypsy: The story of Johan Trollmann and Tull Harder] (2008) by Roger Repplinger, and on other sources.
Stage adaptation by Nada Kokotović and Nedjo Osman. The theatre project is part of the integration series Wir boxen uns durch! Vorbilder – Champions – Idole by Rom e. V. It was staged bilingually, in Romanes and German.