Volksbühne Berlin am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz

Emil und die Detektive

by Erich Kästner, including texts from Alfred Döblin’s „Berlin Alexanderplatz“ adapted by Frank Castorf

When someone steals 140 Marks from 11 year old Emil, who just arrived in Berlin from Neustadt, it doesn’t mean he is just going to put up with it. He gathers his friends to go after the lousy thief Grundeis, in the name of justice. When Frank Castorf stages Kästner’s international hit novel, it doesn’t mean he is just going to celebrate the golden twenties. Too close from where the young detectives are moving about is Döblin’s Alexanderplatz, for them not to meet his protagonist Franz Biberkopf, his shoulder and his fate.

Set in the scenery of Döblin’s Berlin Alexanderplatz, in “Emil und die Detektive” Frank Castorf discovers yet another world, which holds its ground beyond the suffering and disorientation of the adults of the twenties: the world of the children. Amidst inflation, home and joblessness the under 150cm year olds are gathering on the streets of Berlin. Impoverishment and disorientation are threatening the childrens’ experience realm, the theft from Emil’s pocket is only the straw to break the camel’s back.

“Tomorrow, children, you’ll get nothing! Who get’s nothing, get’s patience!”, goes Erich Kästner’s version of the famous Christmas carol. “So what?!” goes the reply of the infant protagonists to such threats as they go on to defend their autonomy, if necessary with air guns from the funfair.

Two versions: for over nine year olds and for over 17 year olds.


With: Luise Berndt, Georg Friedrich, Michael Klobe, Ewa Mostowiec, Milan Peschel, Volker Spengler, Catalina Bigalke, Zosia Coly, Jacob Funke, David Gabel, Viktor Groß, Christopher Gruner, Marcel Heuperman, Titus Hetzer, Béla Jellinek, Rosa-Rebecca Jellinek, Luise Schumacher and Michael Schweighöfer

Director: Frank Castorf
Stage and Costumes Supplier: Bert Neumann
Dramaturgy: Dunja Arnaszus
Light Design: Lothar Baumgarte

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