Barcelona Cultura

Beware of Pity (La impaciència del cor)

Stefan Zweig / Simon McBurney / Complicité / Schaubühne

In 1939, the Austrian writer Stefan Zweig published a novel in which he wonders what compassion really is and notes how difficult it is to feel someone else’s pain. This is the story of Lieutenant Hofmiller, an Austro-Hungarian army officer who is invited to a party at a wealthy household. There he commits a terrible mistake by asking a young lady to dance, not knowing that she suffers from a paralysis that prevents her from walking. In an attempt to compensate for his unfortunate faux-pas, he begins to visit the girl regularly. As a result, she falls in love with him, with tragic consequences. Beware of Pity merges video and theatre, dialogue and narrative, with rare wisdom and mastery. In this production, actors illustrate the action while, in the shadows, other actors voice internal monologues or play the role of omniscient narrators. The result is a show that uses different techniques and languages to tell a fascinating story set in the context of the break-up of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Simon McBurney, actor, director and co-founder of the legendary British company Complicité (creators of a magnificent version of The Master and Margarita, seen at the Grec in 2012), teams up with the Schaubühne from Berlin, one of the most innovative German companies of the moment, directed since 1999 by Thomas Ostermeier.

Harnessing the expressive power of video and drama, a legend of the theatre and a German company interested in new languages turn a novel by Stefan Zweig into a polyphonic tale.

A coproduction by Complicité and Schaubühne

In collaboration with Consulate of the Federal Republic of Germany in Barcelona and the Goethe-Institut.

Saturday 8 July, post-performance conversation with James Yeatman, co-director of the show. Chair: Albert Lladó, philosopher, playwright and arts journalist.

  • Cast

  • How to get there

  • More information

Stefan Zweig
Version / Adaptation
Simon McBurney, James Yeatman, Maja Zade and the members of the company
Written by
Maja Zade
Simon McBurney
James Yeatman
Marie Burchard, Robert Beyer, Johannes Flaschberger, Christoph Gawenda, Moritz Gottwald, Laurenz Laufenberg and Eva Meckbach
Set design
Anna Fleischle
Holly Waddington
Paul Anderson
Pete Malkin
Sound associate
Benjamin Grant
Will Duke
Passeig de Santa Madrona, 40, 08038 Barcelona, Espanya

L1 (Espanya), L3 (Espanya, Poble Sec)




França Xica, 42; pg. Exposició, 30


55, 150, N0, N6


Seating is provided in varying ways, according to characteristics of show. Accessible toilets. Reserved parking.


Induction loop throughout the Sala Fabià Puigserver.

Gianmarco Bresadola
Gianmarco Bresadola
Beware of Pity
Gianmarco Bresadola
Beware of Pity
Gianmarco Bresadola
Beware of Pity
Eva Vermandel
Gianmarco Bresadola
Gianmarco Bresadola
Beware of Pity
Gianmarco Bresadola
Beware of Pity
Gianmarco Bresadola
Beware of Pity
Gianmarco Bresadola
Beware of Pity


This activity is part of the Grec_ Selection
Start date
End date
Teatre Lliure Montjuïc - Sala Fabià Puigserver
8.30 p.m.
Running time
120 min
German, with Catalan surtitles
28 €

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