Crime and Punishment //
stage adaptation by Thomas Dannemann and Beate Seidel
May an intellectual genius revert to whatever means necessary to achieve his goals – regardless of general or ethical considerations? Can he destroy life if it serves his purpose? Does not the hero, who is willing and able to change the world, have an obligation to crush the louse that stands in his way? Hovering at the brink of poverty, the student Raskolnikov mulls over this question again and again. He is so poor he can barely afford food and must live in a wretched room. Somehow he is incapable of earning money. He is sickened with the state of the world.
This leads him to embrace the idea of killing the old, greedy pawnbroker, to whom he sold his last valuables, taking the money so he could ... well, do what? Save his family, himself, lead a different, better life, whatever that means?
Without pursuing this thought to the end, he starts planning the crime. As if in a trance, he murders the old woman with an axe and is also forced to kill her sister Lisaveta so that he can leave the scene of the crime unrecognised. But the crime does not liberate him. Just the opposite. Tormented by what he has done, Raskolnikov severs all of his social connections. He finds refuge with the prostitute Sonja, who like him is a social outcast.
But then Profirij, the examining magistrate, takes up the investigation. He is absolutely convinced that Raskolnikov murdered the old woman and her sister, which leads to a complex game of cat and mouse to prove his guilt. However, Raskolnikov still harbours the belief that other laws apply to one so extraordinary. So begins a duel that puts Raskolnikov’s ideology to the test. What will prove more resilient – the misguided hope in his ability to overstep all boundaries, even Christian morals, or the torment of his conscience, which is as old as humanity itself?
Dostoyevsky’s Raskolnikov is the Hamlet of the 19th century. The Shakespearean dilemma, which has Hamlet justifying an immoral act, becomes the focus once again in »Schuld und Sühne«. It is a theme that influenced Friedrich Nietzsche’s reflections on the Übermensch, a theme which remains relevant even today. How far can one individual, or an entire society for that matter, go in pursuing his/its goals of self-interest? When does a taboo-breaking hero become a common criminal?
Thomas Dannemann, who was chosen Actor of the Year in 2004 in a survey by theater heute, has been directing for several years with productions in Stuttgart, Cologne, Hannover, Munich and other cities.
Thomas Dannemann (director)
Etienne Pluss (stage design)
Regine Standfuss (costumes)
Beate Seidel (dramaturgy)
Michael Wächter (Raskolnikov 1)
Bastian Heidenreich (Raskolnikov 2)
Johanna Geißler (Sonja)
Ingolf Müller-Beck (Porfirij)
Jonas Schlagowsky (Rasumichin)
Thomas Meinhardt (Lushin)
Bernd Lange (Swidrigajlow/ Marmeladow)
Roswita Marks (Pfandleiherin/ Kleinbürgerin)
Elke Wieditz (Katerina Iwanowna/ Mutter)
Silvana Veith (Dunja)
Benedikt Flörsch (Samjetow/ Bürger/ Mikolka)