Where dieter wedel used to pose for photographers in a flurry of flashbulbs, another man stood in bad hersfeld’s town hall on monday – smiling, but still tense: joern hinkel, previously deputy director, has taken over as festival director after wedel resigned following serious accusations of sexual assault.
One of his first official acts: hinkel has to announce that the festspiele has taken dieter wedel’s play, planned for the summer, out of the schedule.
The "new wedel" should call it "the karlos plot. Based on the classic novel by friedrich schiller, the well-known filmmaker ("the shadow man," "the king of st. Pauli") the book. He should also direct. The new acting director explains why this did not happen: "after all the events of the last few weeks, the stucco hardly had a chance to be viewed objectively and purely from an artistic point of view."
It has nothing to do with the fact that wedel’s work is no longer valued, says hinkel, adding: "a wedel without wedel is actually not feasible."He is grateful to his former teacher for encouraging him to step into his shoes.
The festspiele want to set a sign on monday: don’t panic, it will go on in an orderly way. Wedel is only talked about at the beginning of the press conference – with rough gratitude for the work done since he took over in autumn 2014. The massive accusations against wedel are not an issue. Actresses had made serious allegations against him, ranging from harassment and abuse of power to sexual assault and rape. Wedel has denied the accusations. Munich public prosecutor’s office investigates wedel for sexual assault that may not have lapsed.
From his environment it is to be heard that wedel is still in medical treatment. The director came to the hospital more than a week ago with heart problems. On 22. January he announced his resignation as head of the festival, which he had helped in past years to great success with attendance records, glamour and much media attention.
The festival is now scheduled to begin on 6. July to be opened with the play "peer gynt" by henrik ibsen. It’s not yet clear who will direct the premiere. But it is a material that fits very well on the rough stage of the ruins of the monastery. "Peer gynt is a timeless, sensual play overflowing with fantasy and dazzling characters, a theatrical firework full of warmth and humor, at the center of which is a charming lugner, a seducer and a cut-up," explains hinkel. It is a piece about self-exploitation and lack of responsibility, but also about escaping the world and reality.
The current deputy hinkel is to hold the head position for the time being until the end of the season. It will take a few months to decide who will take over the responsibility. The city council also wants to involve the state of hesse and the federal government. There is no timetable, said mayor thomas fehling (no party affiliation), who assured hinkel of his full support.
For hinkel, the 47-year-old berliner, it is now the biggest challenge of his career, which has been associated with the name wedel for many years. He has already worked as an actor, made short films and documentaries, and staged numerous operas and theater pieces – including the two pieces "midsummer night’s dream" and "krabat" in bad hersfeld.