Representation of the course of history and the associated requirements of a future society stand at the end of the road that Kohlhaas walks down in Stefan Schütz’s play. Citizen Kohlhaas, who lives quietly and peacefully, is injured by a Junker. His world collapses and he notices that the courts will not provide him with justice. He starts out on a private campaign of vengeance, which becomes more and more the battle of an entire group of the oppressed. The fight is at first successful, but Kohlhaas soon notices that it doesn’t bring about any real change. Instead, his battle against injustice causes new injustices. So he searches for a path that means neither the continuation of violence nor surrender: he wants – for a short time – to realise the utopia of a society free of domination in Wittenberg, to give a sign and awaken a hope that will last beyond his lifetime.
Stefan Schütz’s play is based on the famous Kleist novella, but he moves the material into a significant epoch of German history, the time of the peasant’s revolt of 1525. The main point for Schütz is less the historical representation of a failed revolution than the discussion of oppression, violence, power, change and utopia. This discussion is aimed at contemporary society. It does not provide a magic formula, but challenges us to reflect on our reality, to find new possibilities for societal cohesion and to think of a positive utopia.
7 D, 26 H, (Doppelbesetzungen möglich), Verwandlungsdek
UA: 15.03.1978 · Karl-Marx-Universität, Leipzig · Directed by: Jürgen Verdofsky