Volksbühne Berlin am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz

Die Brüder Karamasow

based on the novel by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

”There are two Europes”, Heiner Müller wrote in 1989. “One shaped by Rome, the other by Byzantium.” In the past, Berlin used to mark the geographic borderline between these two cultural spheres; in the meantime, the line has shifted across the Dnieper, where a war is being waged today. The Brothers Karamazov, Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s last great novel couched in the guise of a crime story, employs a“polyphonic”approach (Mikhail Bakhtin) to uncover the ideological and philosophical voices of the systems prevalent in the West (liberalism) and East (orthodoxy) in a manner that remains striking to this day. The questions that Dostoyevsky analyses in relation to the murder of the father Fyodor Karamazov and the suspicions subsequently cast on his sons Dmitry, Ivan and Alyosha are the ultimate conundrums of human existence and thematise the concepts of God-man and the ideal society. The impulse that drives the family to become increasingly enmeshed in a maze of emotions and laws is nothing less than love – in this case, for the femme fatale Grushenka. Dostoyevsky is a modernist and knows that love needs money – actually 3,000 roubles - like fire needs air.

Following in the wake of Dämonen / Demons, Erniedrigte und Beleidigte / The Insulted and Injured, Schuld und Sühne / Crime and Punishment and Der Spieler / The Gambler, Frank Castorf adds his interpretation of the great Russian writer’s last novel to his own magnum opus, the exploration and analysis of“planet Dostoyevsky”, with this adaptation of The Brothers Karamazov.

A co-production of the Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz and Wiener Festwochen.

Duration: 6h 20min, one break



With: Hendrik Arnst (Fjodor Pawlowitsch Karamasow), Marc Hosemann (Dmitrij Fjodorowitsch Karamasow), Alexander Scheer (Iwan Fjodorowitsch Karamasow), Daniel Zillmann (Alexej Fjodorowitsch Karamasow), Sophie Rois (Pawel Fjodorowitsch Smerdjakow), Kathrin Angerer (Agrafena Alexandrowna Swetlowa (Grusenka)), Lilith Stangenberg (Katerina Iwanowna Werchowzewa), Jeanne Balibar (Starez Sossima, Katerina Ossipowna Chochlakowa und der Teufel), Patrick Güldenberg (Michail Ossipowitsch Rakitin), Margarita Breitkreiz (Lisaweta Smerdjastschaja) and Frank Büttner (Vater Ferapont)

Director: Frank Castorf
Stage Designer: Bert Neumann
Costumes: Bert Neumann
Light Design: Lothar Baumgarte
Video: Andreas Deinert, Jens Crull
Camera: Andreas Deinert, Mathias Klütz, Adrien Lamande
Live Editing: Jens Crull
Music: Wolfgang Urzendowsky
Sound: Klaus Dobbrick, Tobias Gringel
Boom Arm: William Minke, Dario Brinkmann
Dramaturgy: Sebastian Kaiser

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Inspiration by

Liturgy of St John Chrysostom Valaam Monastery - The Valaam liturgy of St John Chrysostom
Alfred Schnittke - Agony
Irmin Schmidt - Geisterlied
Hymn for Mother of God of St.Nectarius of Aegina in church-slavonic. St.Sergius & Herman of Valaam church. Valaam. Russia. 1998. - Agni Parthene - Valaam Brethren Choir
Russischer Punk Rock´n Roll Mix (Русский Панк) - Tschudo (дзюдо)
Irmin Schmidt - Abschied
Wolfgang Urzendowsky - Tubengesang
King Dude - Fear Is All You Know
King Dude - Empty House
Wolfgang Urzendowsky - Screw Waltz
Fields Of The Nephilim - Celebrate
Fields Of The Nephilim - The Watchman
Fields Of The Nephilim - Endemoniada
John Scofield - Green Tea
King Dude - My Mother Was The Moon
Wolfgang Urzendowsky - Parade
Serge Gainsbourg - Je T'aime Moi Non Plus Au Motel
Yo La Tengo - The Love Life Of The Octopus
Wolfgang Urzendowsky - Begegnung
Wolfgang Urzendowsky - Nadryw
AC/DC - Hells Bells
King Dude - Deal With The Devil
Tool - Lateralus
Morphine - I Had My Chance
Christiane F - Wunderbar
Irmin Schmidt - Hinter Glas
Wolfgang Urzendowsky - Freak Show
Johann Sebastian Bach / Glenn Gould - Fugue In E, BWV 878
Jr. Kimbrough / North Mississippi Allstars - JR
Wolfgang Urzendowsky - The Appearance