Notes from Underground by the Russian writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky tells the story of a nameless civil servant in the thicket of the big city who gives up work, friends and social obligations in order to eke out his existence in a kind of social experiment in a cellar with the help of a small inheritance.
Confronted with the pitfalls of being alone, he repeatedly returns to the outside world, picks a fight with a high-ranking officer, escalates a class reunion, and questions the relationship between man and woman with a chance acquaintance.
It is the psychological portrait of an impossible character: he despises prestige and success, but at the same time is ashamed of his modest lifestyle. He has to smash every possibility of happiness and push it far away, only to long for it silently. And yet, there is a sharp social analysis in his struggling, the constant struggle against lies and beautiful appearances.
Published in 1864, the novella is a bitterly wicked joke, an exploration of the human soul's landscape, combined with an invitation to become aware of one's own individuality.
The stage version, which is a co-production of Bühne Cipolla with Metropol Ensemble and Theater Duisburg, blends quotations from Dostoyevsky's original text with elements of puppet theatre and live cello and keyboard music to provide an unusual and memorable theatrical experience.
Sebastian Kautz and Gero John are the performers. Sebastian Kautz, who also adapted the novella for the stage, is the director, puppeteer and actor. Gero John, who also composed the music, plays the cello and keyboard and is the sound designer as well. Sebastian Kautz and Melanie Kuhl designed the stage setting. Melanie Kuhl created the puppets and costumes. Frank Barufke is the light designer.
For interested parties:
Notes from Underground is a mobile production conceived for tours to various destinations and auditoriums.
Surtitles are recommended for non-German speaking audiences.
Duration time: 70 min, no intervall.