"Honour and kindness! …When it comes to business, those two are like sand in gears... Nobody needs kindness, nobody! Pay me what I'm worth, nothing more..."
Vassa Zheleznova runs her family’s ailing business with a shrewd mind and a strong hand, in an attempt to preserve the family’s refined materialistic inclinations. Although her incapable or simply unhappy children use up much of her energy, they remain immensely important to her. Vassa hushes things up, lies and fights to the very last drop of her blood in the hopes of succeeding in her seemingly impossible task. She commits devious misdeeds, justifying all of her actions through her responsibility as a mother – an extraordinary line of arguement even by the standards of the time.
Maxim Gorki’s “Vassa Zheleznova”, a portrayal of ruthless exploiter in a failing capitalistic society, was written in 1910 as a reaction to the failed first Russian Revolution. Vassa is an animalistic mother figure that simultaneously terrifies and fascinates, and is evidence of capitalism’s ability to deform human experience, and to result in emptiness, coldness and violence.
Premiere May 16, 2014
Corinna HarfouchWassa Schelesnowa
Franziska MachensAnna, her daughter
Christoph FrankenSemjon, her son
Alexander KhuonPawel, her son
Lisa HrdinaNatalja, Semjon's wife
Katharina Marie SchubertLjudmilla, Pawel's wife and Michailo Wassilijew's daughter
Michael GoldbergProchor, brother of Wassa's husband Sachar
Bernd StempelMichailo Wassilijew, executive director
Marcel KohlerAlexander, Wassa's assistent
Ljudmilla, Pawel's wife and Michailo Wassilijew's daughter
Prochor, brother of Wassa's husband Sachar
Michailo Wassilijew, executive director
Alexander, Wassa's assistent