The Bühne Cipolla company presents Michael Kohlhaas, a scenic adaptation for figure theatre of one of Heinrich von Kleist's major works. With the cooperation of Metropol Ensemble, Theater Duisburg and bremer shakespeare company the show was conveived as a touring production suitable for theatre venues as well as schools, etc.
German poet Heinrich von Kleist, author of well-known plays such as Penthesilea or The broken jug, also wrote a number of world-famous novellas, among them Michael Kohlhaas, which was first published in 1808. Its plot is based on an authentic case, the tragic quest for justice of a German merchant in the 16th century.
We all know the gnawing feeling that being right does not automatically lead to getting justice. This is what happens to Michael Kohlhaas, too. A victim of arbitrary harassment on the part of an aristocrat, this diligent middle-class horse-dealer of considerable wealth decides to make a stand against the gross violation of his legitimate rights. However, his hope for justice is time and again frustrated as a result of corruption among judicial authorities as well as intrigues and nepotism, or simply through anticipatory obedience of public officials. When he sees no other way out, he launches a murderous campaign of revenge upon his – real or imaginary – enemies. At first unwittingly instrumentalized in the service of various political and religious interests, Kohlhaas soon becomes the most wanted terrorist of his day in his tightrope walk between legitimate outrage and an unscrupulous attempt to take the law into his own hands.
In this highly topical piece of world literature, Heinrich von Kleist conjured up the image of a hysterical society wavering beween blind political actionism and cynical calculation. The novella lends itself ideally to being adapted by Bühne Cipolla, the passionate figure theatre company.
The show was premiered at Theater Duisburg on March 21, 2017 within the framework of the 38th Duisburger Akzente festival.
Figure play, artistic direction, adaptation for the stage: Sebastian Kautz
Cello, keyboards, musical composition: Gero John
Stage set: Sebastian Kautz
Figures, costumes: Melanie Kuhl
Light design: Frank Barufke, Harry Großmann, Sebastian Kautz, Florian Wilke
Surtitles are recommended for non-German speaking audiences.