Michael Kohlhaas //
The respected horse trader Michael Kohlhaas is detained at the border between Brandenburg and Saxony while transporting two horses for market. Because he doesn't have a border-crossing permit, the authorities confiscate his animals.
Weeks later, Kohlhaas discovers that no such permit exists and demands the return of his horses. However, Wenzel von Tronka had put them to work in the fields, worn them out, and now they are practically worthless. Kohlhaas tries to take legal action, but is turned away. His wife's attempt to receive a hearing by the authorities ends in her death. Kohlhaas is determined to exact revenge. He and a posse of followers set Tronka's castle on fire and kill its inhabitants. They plunder and slaughter their way across the countryside. Only after speaking with Martin Luther, whom Kohlhaas reveres, does he agree to cease his violent campaign. He is provided free escort to Dresden where he is allowed to have his case heard and settled before a court of law.
Heinrich von Kleist's novella portrays the fate of a man who suffers obvious injustice which goes unatoned. However, this is not a story that can be reduced to one man's crusade against injustice. Rather, Kleist asks what forms of protest against the authorities are appropriate, and at what point do they turn into radicalisation and terrorism. At the centre of Kleist's novella lies the crux of the current debate on how to reconcile the rights of the individual and the rights of society.
Stage direction: Sebastian Martin
Set and costume design: Katja Fritzsche
Video: Bastian Flügel
Dramaturgy: Carsten Weber
Kaja Bierbrauer (Bühne und Kostüme)
Carsten Weber (Dramaturgie)
Bastian Klügel (Video)