Can a Majnun become a Sufi

Leila and Majnun

»Love between two is not perfect as long as one, speaking of the other, says:› I ‹...« / Sufi wisdom

"When I say 'I', I don't mean me as you see me, but the love that speaks out of me." / Leila and Majnun, Albert Ostermaier

Leila and Majnun, the most famous lovers of the Islamic culture, tell of a love of deepest spirituality. The Persian poet Nizami wrote her story in 1188 and thus created a timeless love epic.

The great love between the children Qeis and Leila disturbs and provokes those around them in such a way that they are forcibly separated from each other. Qeis' pain over it turns into open madness. He leaves home, parents and tribe, wanders through the desert alone, hungry and aimless, speaks of nothing other than Leila and composes verses of such overwhelming beauty that, collected by the people, they make him and his love world famous. Qeis becomes Majnun, "The madman". Although married to someone else, Leila remains loyal to him. They meet one more time, but their loved ones have already completely transcended each other and soon afterwards death redeems them.

Albert Ostermaier, the famous lyric poet and playwright, wrote a play based on the Persian epic Nizamis for the Ruhrtriennale that tells the story of these lovers in an emotionally intense and radical manner and reveals the relevance and timelessness of this epic.

Heard for the Palestinian-Israeli composer Samir Odeh-Tamimi Leila and Majnun on cultural heritage. He lives and works in Germany and thus encounters the myths of his homeland from a distance - with the masses of sound, complex gestures and the radical force of his musical language. "I am Majnun!", says Samir Odeh-Tamimi with a laugh while working on Leila and Majnun for the Ruhrtriennale 2010.

A work commissioned by the Ruhrtriennale.
Funded by the Kunststiftung NRW.
With the kind support of the Association of Friends and Supporters of the Ruhrtriennale.

The libretto version of "Leila and Majnun" by Albert Ostermaier can be requested from the Ruhrtriennale. Send an email with your address to and we will send you the text by post.

Production team

Georg Bugiel, Harald Dutsch Adams, Tim Bentlake, Frank Böhle, Markus Böhmer, Sandro Grizzo, Armin Hafner, Tanya -Hofmann, Andreas Homeyer, Gerd Jordan, Martin Krutmann, Waldemar Lehmann, Joachim Lienhard, Imke Linde, Dietmar Löffler, Mirko Neugart, Andreas Ohm, Martin Rudolph, Ralph Schwarzenauer, Simon Stabenau, Matthias Strobel, Marcus Stütz, Daniel Teusner, Benjamin zur Heide, Martin Zimmermann, Sachiko Zimmermann

Furnishing: Björn Liebeler, Ansgar Morant

Costume: Daniela Bermudez Büning, Isabelle Knoch, Simone Koch, Eva-Maria Lander, David Messinger, Sabine Päsler, Annette Pfläging, Ariane Rensmann, Julia Strauss, Sandra Wegner

Mask: Rosi Algra, Michaela Döpper, Sarah Kleindienst, Pia Norberg, Nicola Olbs, Meike Pitke, Alexandra Schramm-Dreher, Kathleen Sieber

Front building

Assistants: Raymond Dudzinski, Nina Sendt,

Employee: Sophie Bäther, Ann Fiona Beuning, Lina Dieckmann, Natalie Ehrnhöfer, Julia Erlemeier, Sara Flossbach, Henning Hermes, Nadine van den Heuvel, Natalie Hollweg, Nikolas Kamke, Laura Kock, Ulrike Köster, Maurice Ku, Alexandra Linde, Heidi Lorei, Christina Menge , Sara Pfiz, Ana Paula Pires-Rodrigues, Thilo Podann, Feeke Rascher, Cecília Rodrigues, Maren Schiek, Thomas Schulte, Elena Streicher, Martin Usdrowski

Marketing: Benjamin Badstieber, Franziska Eilers, Florian Hartlieb, Rebecca Mansfeld, Sonja Neumann, Valeska Scharpey, Corinna Schöne, Helena Stutzinger-Hartlieb, Lena Tischoff, Aleksandra Wojciechowska

Cash register: Katharina Menne, Marthe Mindt, Kerstin Finkel, Inga Lojewski, Julia Nobody