"Around the middle of the sixteenth century, on the banks of the River Havel, there lived a horse-dealer named Michael Kohlhaas, son of a schoolmaster and one of the most righteous and at the same time most abhorrent people of his time."
Thus begins Heinrich von Kleist's story of a notorious yet principled criminal. At a frontier post Kohlhaas has to give up two horses as a pledge. When he returns he finds the proud horses half-starved and broken by field work. When he is denied compensation, he launches into a campaign of revenge which starts out as an act of resistance by a defenceless man and finally ends in a bloodbath. Kohlhaas goes straight from being a model citizen to a robber and a murderer.
Heinrich von Kleist's novella remains topical for the timeless questions it raises about guilt and justice, the individual and society. It's about the mechanisms of spreading terror and the irresistible spiral of violence.
Michael Kohlhaas will be staged by Andreas Kriegenburg, one of the most stylistically influential and visually compelling directors of his generation. For a number of years now he has directed both spoken theatre and opera at all major theatres in German-speaking countries. He has often been invited to the Berliner Theatertreffen, his productions have been shown at festivals at home and abroad, and he has won the Nestroy theatre prize, Der Faust and many other awards.
Director Andreas Kriegenburg
Set designer Harald Thor