Ward No. 6 (Krankenzimmer Nr. 6)
by Anton Chekhov
German translation by Peter Urban
The setting: a run-down lodge on the grounds of a hospital, somewhere in the Russian countryside. This is where people are kept who no longer function according to society’s rules, who won’t keep in sync with the measured rhythm of "normal" life. But no therapy or healing takes place at this lodge, which resembles a prison more than an asylum. It is run by Andrey Yefimitch Ragin, a doctor who has long since become resigned. He longs for peace and quiet, and is convinced that there is no point in worrying about people as man was born to die. One day an inmate named Ivan Dmitritch Gromov engages the doctor in conversation. Ragin is intrigued by Gromov’s inner fire and his desire to alter his circumstances -- in short, to live. The doctor begins to visit his mental patient more frequently – and people start to talk. With great tenderness and stunning clarity, 'Ward No. 6' touches on life’s big questions: about guilt and responsibility, madness and societal norms, the physical and the metaphysical. Dimiter Gotscheff has adapted Chekhov’s novella – written in 1892 – for the Deutsches Theater stage.
February 26, 2010