Gerhard Roth

Stück in 4 Akten
2 D, 7 H, 1 Dek
UA: 19.10.1973 · Steirischer Herbst (Vereinigte Bühnen), Graz · Directed by: Peter Fitzi
“Is it madness to trap lightning? To imagine eternity?” In Gerhard Roth’s Lichtenberg, this question does not even bear asking. Madness and the thirst for knowledge are intertwined, one supports the other and vice versa. For the adventure of thought – if it is to lead to discoveries – includes monstrosities.
This Lichtenberg is inspired by a real experimental physicist of the Enlightenment, including some aphorisms that are quoted. But he made the last step different from the original: the line between chaos and order is blurred. He is manic in everything: in thought, in passion, in word and in action.
To begin the grotesque, a doctor, a priest and the father of a misfit take up the experiments of Professor Lichtenberg with interest and irritation. The Professor’s edifice of ideas, cascaded and splayed out, overwhelm them, but this is what is so intriguing. Even when the police inspector investigates the murder of the woman next door, Lichtenberg knows how to ensnare all those present in a labyrinth of experiment and logical thought. He has a prostitute come to demonstrate the misfit’s dangerous lack of restraint. But, despite his absurd demonstration, the suspicion falls on Lichtenberg himself: he had been seen going into the neighbour’s house each night. The game of madness becomes deadly serious.