Recommended ages: 12 and over
The incredible story of the spectacular rise of a simple farmer’s son from Toggenburg, who despite coming from a dysfunctional family never gives up his faith in happiness: Jakob Breiter dreams of a life of riches and luxury. He is determined to play with the big boys, men of wealth and influence, whatever the cost. His desire for success – and disregard for any moral boundaries – enables him to reach for the stars. His path leads to Basel. Here his career soon takes off: as a travelling salesman for the Swiss food concern Thomy, Breiter sells the first tubes of mustard to neighbouring Germany. He is then hired by the chemical company that manufactures the «polar red» dye used for making Nazi flags. This red dye will prove to be his fate.
In his scrupulously researched coming of age novel «Polar Red» Basel writer Patrick Tschan examines a less than glorious chapter of Swiss history. Tschan uses his fictional protagonist to trace the audacious journey an ambitious young man from eastern Switzerland takes in working his way up to becoming a successful businessman in the Swiss chemical industry between 1929 and 1936. This is illuminated by piquant historical details that demonstrate Switzerland’s economic links with the Nazi regime.
The director Daniela Kranz – who was responsible in the last two seasons for the theatre series «Inspector Hunkeler» and «Erasmus of Basel» – tells this story in several episodes through flashback. Together with theatre enthusiasts from Basel and members of the ensemble she allows an older Jakob to recount the ups and downs of his fateful life in four episodes in different locations in and around Basel.