Petty Bourgeois (Kleinbürger)

by Maxim Gorki

Premiere May 10, 2011
Helmut MooshammerWassilij Wassiljew Bessemjonow
Barbara SchnitzlerAkulina Iwanowna
Ole LagerpuschPjotr
Natali SeeligTatjana
Felix GoeserNil
Markus GrafPertschichin
Olivia GräserPolja
Katrin WichmannJelena Nikolajewna Kriwzowa
Peter JordanTeterew
Thomas SchumacherSchischkin
Mark BadurLive-Music
Wassilij Wassiljew Bessemjonow
Akulina Iwanowna
Tatjana
Pertschichin
Jelena Nikolajewna Kriwzowa
Teterew
Schischkin
Live-Music
Deutschlandradio
Michael Laages, 11.05.2011
This play is staged so seldom that each attempt has the makings of a revival. Jette Steckel, far younger than the young Gorky who wrote the piece, is now at Berlin’s Deutsches Theater. Her production of this virtually unknown work is a major achievement. […] A powerful play and an impressive performance – delivered by the actors who came to Berlin from Hamburg and elsewhere with new Artistic Director Ulrich Khuon […]. Currently (and particularly here with Jette Steckel) they are creating the most powerful theatre that the [German] capital has to offer. This play is staged so seldom that each attempt has the makings of a revival. Jette Steckel, far younger than the young Gorky who wrote the piece, is now at Berlin’s Deutsches Theater. Her production of this virtually unknown work is a major achievement. […] A powerful play and an impressive performance – delivered by the actors who came to Berlin from Hamburg and elsewhere with new Artistic Director Ulrich Khuon […]. Currently (and particularly here with Jette Steckel) they are creating the most powerful theatre that the [German] capital has to offer.
Neues Deutschland
Gunnar Decker, 14.05.2011
Director Jette Steckel demonstrates a good sense of rhythm – and a balanced approach to the question: How do you take Gorky’s work seriously, yet bring in our historical experiences at the same time? […] Steckel shows the sickness of the time, but not for a second do we think that this is merely a story of the past. The future is both enticing and threatening in equal parts […] And we see that, focused on our own little worlds, we go on the defensive when the cruel universe reaches out for us. We’re virtuosos of survival – nothing more, nothing less. Director Jette Steckel demonstrates a good sense of rhythm – and a balanced approach to the question: How do you take Gorky’s work seriously, yet bring in our historical experiences at the same time? […] Steckel shows the sickness of the time, but not for a second do we think that this is merely a story of the past. The future is both enticing and threatening in equal parts […] And we see that, focused on our own little worlds, we go on the defensive when the cruel universe reaches out for us. We’re virtuosos of survival – nothing more, nothing less.
Die Welt
Matthias Heine, 12.05.2011
It’s risky to bet that Gorky’s Philistines might have anything to say to the chattering classes of 2011. But the wager pays off, as timeless conflicts lie beneath the struggles of the period. […] The actors express the lines in all their depth and insight, and Gorky’s words haven’t aged a day. Theatregoers step off a train in the Russian Steppes – and land up in Prenzlauer Berg It’s risky to bet that Gorky’s Philistines might have anything to say to the chattering classes of 2011. But the wager pays off, as timeless conflicts lie beneath the struggles of the period. […] The actors express the lines in all their depth and insight, and Gorky’s words haven’t aged a day. Theatregoers step off a train in the Russian Steppes – and land up in Prenzlauer Berg
Berliner Morgenpost
Anne Peter, 12.05.2011
It works. A couple spectators in the parquet actually get up and say, “Something has to change, I won’t put up with this any longer!” […] In her production of Maxim Gorky’s Philistines, young director Jette Steckel gets serious – and a bit too heavy-handed at this point. […] Nonetheless, the constant winds of change which blow through her first work on the DT’s main stage are appealing. And it is impressive how Felix Goeser portraysthe revolutionary Nil without irony and with an optimism we can believe in.

Throughout the three-hour performance the production relies on […] the authenticity of its actors. They portray the characters with increasing depth and intensity until one theatrical highlight follows the next. […] So, in the end, it is not the politics which entrances us. It is the love stories and intergenerational conflict which touch us most.”
It works. A couple spectators in the parquet actually get up and say, “Something has to change, I won’t put up with this any longer!” […] In her production of Maxim Gorky’s Philistines, young director Jette Steckel gets serious – and a bit too heavy-handed at this point. […] Nonetheless, the constant winds of change which blow through her first work on the DT’s main stage are appealing. And it is impressive how Felix Goeser portraysthe revolutionary Nil without irony and with an optimism we can believe in.

Throughout the three-hour performance the production relies on […] the authenticity of its actors. They portray the characters with increasing depth and intensity until one theatrical highlight follows the next. […] So, in the end, it is not the politics which entrances us. It is the love stories and intergenerational conflict which touch us most.”
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
Irene Bazinger, 13.05.2011
The motto of this production could be summed up as: “The bourgeois in me is the bourgeois in you” […] [Jette Steckel] delves into the biographies of the ten actors and mixes their experiences with those of the characters in the play. Unfiltered, this risky move could descend into kitsch. But it works, thanks to the courage of all involved. This turns the never particularly successful Philistines into an amusing, unsentimental and moving production. […] Short films show the actors […] in their everyday clothes, reading from their diaries, doing the laundry, hanging out in Berlin. This way, the ensemble convincingly inhabits Gorky’s ‘dramatic sketch in four acts’, and gives it a current and historical legitimacy. It’s an artistic revival. The motto of this production could be summed up as: “The bourgeois in me is the bourgeois in you” […] [Jette Steckel] delves into the biographies of the ten actors and mixes their experiences with those of the characters in the play. Unfiltered, this risky move could descend into kitsch. But it works, thanks to the courage of all involved. This turns the never particularly successful Philistines into an amusing, unsentimental and moving production. […] Short films show the actors […] in their everyday clothes, reading from their diaries, doing the laundry, hanging out in Berlin. This way, the ensemble convincingly inhabits Gorky’s ‘dramatic sketch in four acts’, and gives it a current and historical legitimacy. It’s an artistic revival.

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