Magda Toffler or an Essay on Silence

  • Theatre
  • touring play
  • 2022
“The text is just twenty pages long. And yet it contains an entire century.”
Bernd Noack, Nürnberger Nachrichten
“It is very quiet in the theatre. (...) There is no "good evening" and "goodbye", but only a sudden coming and going. And in between, the pages of life are spread out, read out, tasted, thought through.”
“"Because no one hears anyone else say anything, no one says anything." In this seeming tautology, Nikitin captures the manipulative power of surveillance states, documentation technologies, and collectives.”
Süddeutsche Zeitung
“A dense, analytical but also very tender performance.”
“No word is too much, none should be missing now, when Boris Nikitin sits there in the black nothingness.”
Nürnberger Nachrichten
“What a risk! You can hardly expose yourself more. It could become exhibitionistic and embarrassing, slipping into the anecdotal. But the opposite happens. He gains strength and moves the audience. By publicly showing his doubts about himself and his vulnerability, they become his strength.”
“Nikitin's "attempt" consists only of speech and reflection, of speaking and silence. The evening gains enormous urgency from this reduction. The play is about the monstrosity of Nazi crimes, which makes us fall silent. Boris Nikitin nevertheless finds words for the unspeakable; but not by naming it, but by reflecting on the speechlessness that arises from powerlessness and taking his audience with him.”
Bayrischer Rundfunk
“Simple, yet gripping.”
Wiener Zeitung
“Nikitin's works are at the same time distance meters and drilling depths, setting the device in the private in order to reach elsewhere.”
Süddeutsche Zeitung
“The affective tension lasts beyond the ending and the applause.”


    • 14 – 16 June 2024
      • Staatstheater Nürnberg / Reichsparteitagsgelände
    • 26 + 27 April 2024
      • WUK, Wien
    • 23 + 24 March 2024
      • Théâtre Vidy Lausanne
    • 21 + 22 March 2024
      • Théâtre Vidy Lausanne
    • 2 March 2024
      • Festspielhaus Hellerau, Dresden
    • 14 + 15 December 2023
      • Theater Frascati Amsterdam
    • 26 + 27 October 2023
      • Mapa Teatro, Bogotá
    • 10 June 2023
      • Festival «Impulse», Düsseldorf
    • 14 May 2023
      • Bern / Schlachthaus
      • Festival "auawirleben"
    • 27 April 2023
      • Staatstheater Nürnberg
    • 5 April 2023
      • Theater Chur
    • 22 – 24 March 2023
      • Kaserne Basel
    • 2 + 3 March 2023
      • Staatstheater Nürnberg
    • 12 + 13 January 2023
      • Staatstheater Nürnberg
    • 25 November 2022
      • Ringlokschuppen Ruhr
    • 23 November 2022
      • Staatstheater Nürnberg
    • 17 November 2022
      • Staatstheater Nürnberg
    • 11 November 2022
      • Staatstheater Nürnberg
      • german premiere
    • 15 + 16 October 2022
      • Festival "Steirischer Herbst '22"
    • 14 October 2022
      • Festival "Steirischer Herbst '22"
      • World Premiere

October 1943: Heinrich Himmler gathers all the Gauleiters of the Reich in the Polish city of Poznan to inform them of the regime's decision to completely exterminate the Jewish population of Europe. Before he does so, however, Himmler has two phonographs set up in front of everyone in order to record the speech on two guard records. However, contrary to what most people assume, it is not Himmler's words that are to be recorded, but the silence in the hall.

With "Magda Toffler" - the second work in which he himself takes to the stage - Boris Nikitin drills deep into the hidden layers of the European 20th century. As in "Essay on Dying", the staging is reduced to just a few elements: a chair, a manuscript and Nikitin himself.

"Magda Toffler or an essay on silence" premiered in October 2022 at "steirischer Herbst" and was invited to the "Impulse" festival as one of the ten outstanding independent theater works of 2022.

Concept, text, performance
Boris Nikitin
Production managment
Annett Hardegen
Outside eye
Annett Hardegen, Matthias Meppelink

A coproduction with It’s The Real Thing, steirischen herbst 22, Staatstheater Nürnberg Kaserne Basel, Ringlokschuppen Ruhr, Théâtre Vidy Lausanne, HAU - Hebbel am Ufer Berlin, Frascati Amsterdam, Theater Chur, Omanut.
With the support of Fachausschuss Tanz & Theater der Kantone Basel-Stadt und Basel-Landschaft, Pro Helvetia, Stanley Thomas Johnson Stiftung.
The first draft of this work was commissioned by Omanut.