Scena Theatre presents the US Stage Premiere of Fear Eats the Soul, an adaptation of Rainer Werner Fassbinder's masterpiece German film at the ATLAS, May 16-June 4

Washington, DC, February 15, 2017 — The Directors of Scena Theatre are excited to conclude their 30th Anniversary Season with Fear Eats the Soul, originally created by eccentric German filmmaker Rainer Werner Fassbinder. This emotionally powerful drama centers on timely topics such as race, immigration and class. Fear Eats the Soul opens on Tuesday, May 16 at 8pm with a reception to follow. Members of the Washington press: please RSVP to to reserve your seat for Opening Night or another performance.

Scena’s production is the US Premiere of the stage version of Fear Eats the Soul. Directing the play is Scena co-founder and Artistic Director, Robert McNamara. The script was translated and adapted from Fassbinder's screenplay by the late Anthony Vivis. 

The original 1974 award-winning film is a cult classic that was just re-released in March 2017 as part of a retrospective at London's BFI Southbank. Robert McNamara and Scena Theatre have a long history producing Fassbinder's socially provocative works. Back in the early '80s, McNamara was the co-founder and A.D. of Dublin's Stage One Theatre, and he produced Ireland's very first Fassbinder production: The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant. 

Then, in 1988, Scena Theatre produced Fassbinder's Bremen Coffee followed by Katzelmacher (Cock Artist) in 1992 as part of Scena's German Reunification series. Later, in 2013, Scena produced Fassbinder's WWII drama The Marriage of Maria Braun, starring Helen Hayes Awards winner Nanna Ingvarsson, to great acclaim. Nanna returns to Scena to star in Fear as the lead Emmi, an older German woman who falls in love with a Moroccan migrant worker, 20 years her junior.

Fear Eats the Soul is yet another example of how Scena Theatre produces plays that make people think. Many of the dramas and plays with music that Scena stages feature powerful and timely commentary about modern society, life or politics. Fear is most timely given the international debate over certain immigrants and whether or not they should be accepted into many countries such as Europe and the US. The play features interracial love and marriage, which engages the audience to think about how they perceive and treat those involved in such a relationship. 

PLOT: It’s 1974 in Germany: Emmi is a cleaning woman and a widow. She falls in love with a younger Moroccan immigrant. When they marry, everyone in the community is appalled. In time, family and friends finally accept them. Yet, the couple must face their own mounting fears and insecurities. Don’t miss the US Stage Premiere of the renowned German film. Fear is a bold masterpiece that explores star-crossed lovers and how fear can destroy our hopes and dreams.

Press Night: Plus Opening Night is Tuesday, May 16, 2017 (8pm). Please RSVP to 

Official Run:  May  16 – June 4, 2017 (Thur. – Sat. 8pm; Sat & Sun. 3pm)

Industry:  Special $10 Performance for Theatre Professionals & Workers on Monday, May 22 at 8pm. 

Location: ATLAS Performing Arts Center 1333 H Street NE, Washington, DC 20002

Previews: $15 on Friday, May 12 & Saturday, May 13 (8pm); Sunday, May 14 (3pm)

Venue: ATLAS Performing Arts Center (Lab II)

1333 H Street NE, Washington, DC 20002

Press Info: Email: 

Phone: 571-216-5136 

Press Photos: Click on Press link (at left)

Ticket Cost: $15 - $45

Adults: $35 (Sun., Thur. & Sat. 3pm), $40 (Fri. & Sat. 8pm)

Students/Seniors w/ ID: $20 (Sun., Thur.& Sat. 3pm), $25 (Fri. & Sat. 8pm)

Box Office: Click here for Tickets:


Call 202.399.7993 x2.

Actors:  Nanna Ingvarsson, Oscar Ceville, Gary DuBreuil, Ivan Zizek, Jen Bevan, Rashard Harrison, Karin Rosnizek, Sissel Bakken, Stacy Whittle, Kim Curtis, Ellie Nicoll, Colin Davies & Aniko Olah.

Designers:  Robert McNamara (Director), Sigrid Johannesdottir (Costume Designer), Denise Rose (Sound Designer, Projections & Slides), Marianne Meadows (Lighting Designer), Dave Humke (Set Designer & Technical Director), Joey Aubry (Stage Manager), Anne Nottage & Natália Gleason (Assistant Directors), Anne Nottage (Literary Manager), Denise Rose (Choreographer), Bryanda Minix (Props Designer & Company Photographer), Rhe'a Roland (Assistant Costume Designer), and Gabriele Jakobi (Resident Director & Dramaturg). 

Rainer Werner Fassbinder (Filmmaker / Screenwriter) was a renowned German film director, screenwriter, film producer and an actor. He was part of the “New German Cinema” movement. While his career lasted less than 15 years, he completed 40 feature films; two TV film series; three short films; four video productions; 24 stage plays; four radio plays. Acting credits include 36 roles in his own and others' films. He is remembered for The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant, The Marriage of Maria Braun, as well as the TV series “Berlin Alexanderplatz”, based on the novel by Alfred Doblin. He worked as an actor (film & theatre), author, cameraman, composer, designer, editor and theatre manager. He died in 1982 at 37 from a lethal cocktail of cocaine & barbiturates.

SCENA Theatre brings the best international theatre to Washington, DC and stimulates cultural exchange between theatre artists, locally and worldwide. Founded in 1987 under the leadership of Artistic Director Robert McNamara and Managing Director Amy Schmidt, SCENA produces an annual season of plays, seasonally staged readings, as well as a Workshop Series aimed at developing new works from around the globe. To learn more about our mission or past stage productions, please click on About in the left menu.