Volksbühne Berlin am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz

Baumeister Solness

The Master Builder - adapted from Henrik Ibsen

Frank Castorf’s engagement with the Norwegian psychographer Henrik Ibsen is an important constant in his work as a director, spanning across two different political systems and across theatres in the East and in the West. His production of “A Doll’s House” (1985 in Anklam), which shaped his characteristic theatre aesthetics, was followed by “An Enemy of the People” (1988 in Karl-Marx-Stadt), “John Gabriel Borkman” (1990 at Deutsches Theater Berlin) and “The Lady of the Sea” (1993 at the Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz). In his new production of “The Master Builder”, Castorf once again returns to Ibsen’s cosmos dealing with existential issues of life oscillating between the ingenious and the average, between resistance and conformity, between change and clinging to the consensus - and not least, also with the pressing issue of passing on the realm of the Master Builder to the next generation.

„The thing which interests me and what interests me about Ibsen, is moral ethics and continuity – just how long will people stick to a cause, support you, show solidarity and remain loyal? And where is the point when this continuity is suspended and put out of force? I’m talking about opportunism and such things. That’s rather difficult to grasp. You cannot use simple dramatic forms for that. Not even satirical or grotesque techniques like those used in plays by Bulgakov or Mayakovsky will do for the character development of the self-seeking “time-server”, who is backtracking and taking expedient action. It is an exciting task to find a dramatically appropriate form to depict the functioning of opportunism. How people are suddenly maintaining the opposite of what they believed was true just an hour ago, as if on fast forward; in the play it takes days, in real life sometimes years or, depending on the historical context, even decades. That’s what I’ve been interested in from the beginning, in all my productions of plays addressing this theme. (Frank Castorf 1988 in a conversation with Stefan Frohmader).

Duration: 4h, one break



With: Marc Hosemann (Halvard Solness, Baumeister), Kathrin Angerer (Hilde Wangel), Harald Warmbrunn (Knut Brovik, früher Architekt, jetzt Assistent bei Solness), Daniel Zillmann (Ragnar Brovik, sein Sohn, Zeichner und Aline Solness, Frau des Baumeisters), Hanna Hilsdorf (Kaja Fosli, Knut Broviks Nichte, Buchhalterin) and Mex Schlüpfer (Doktor Herdal)

Director: Frank Castorf
Stage Designer: Bert Neumann
Costumes: Bert Neumann
Light Design: Lothar Baumgarte
Sound Design: Klaus Dobbrick
Dramaturgy: Sebastian Kaiser

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Inspiration by

Edward Grieg - Lyric Suite op.54 "Shepherd's boy"
Coil - Are you Shivering?
Nicole - Berlin, Berlin
Carl Nielsen - Five Piano Pieces, Op.3 -I. "Folketone"
Freddy Quinn - Hundert Mann und ein Befehl
The Beatles - Revolution No.9
The Monks - Complication
Van Morrison - Beautiful Vision
David Bowie - Space Oddity