‘Around the middle of the sixteenth century, there lived a horse dealer on the banks of the River Havel by the name of Michael Kohlhaas. He was the son of a schoolmaster, one of the most righteous and yet appalling men of his time.’
So begins Heinrich von Kleist’s story about the politically motivated criminal Kohlhaas who is forced to leave two horses as a deposit at a border post. When he returns, he finds the noble beasts half-starved and ruined by working in the fields. Denied compensation, he embarks on a campaign of revenge that begins as a defenceless person’s act of resistance and ends in a bloodbath. So, Kohlhaas progresses directly from ‘model citizen’ to ‘robber and murderer’. Heinrich von Kleist’s novella poses questions about the nature of culpability, justice, the individual and society, laying bare the mechanisms of terror and the maelstrom of escalating violence.
30 October 2021
Co-production with Bregenzer Festspiele and Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg
Duration: 2 hours, 30 minutes
Peter René Lüdicke