Volksbühne Berlin am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz


by Anton Chekhov

Gotscheff’s Iwanow is a tale of existential despair. His staging lives on a reduction to the essential. The Bulgarian-born director does without the visual elements that are synonyms of Chekhov’s world: white linen suits, samovars and tea cups. It is not about the ennui of a rich society, but about figures that have become unable to act and to fulfil what used to be one of their essential requirements. The insecure and the timid give up. Fog covers an antisocial world.

In his productions, Gotscheff follows the philosophy of the poor theatre, which discards the atmospheric first aid of great props. Despair and immobility, hope and failure take place in a space crossed only by wafts of mist. In this large emptiness, only the rules of chance apply and the actor must give everything.

Gotscheff strips Chekhov’s text of all traces of Naturalism and social life becomes a circus, a vanity fair. Samuel Finzi is Iwanow, a gentleman who realises his life has become senseless and empty. He plays this existential debacle in such a nuanced way that he is often funny in his inability to find anything in life but cynic self-abandonment.

Duration: 2h 20min


With: Samuel Finzi, Wolfram Koch, Thorsten Merten, Birgit Minichmayr, Milan Peschel, Silvia Rieger, Michael Schweighöfer, Marie-Lou Sellem, Alexander Simon, Sir Henry, Winfried Wagner and Almut Zilcher

Director: Dimiter Gotscheff
Stage Designer: Katrin Brack
Costumes: Katrin Lea Tag
Music: Sir Henry
Light Design: Henning Streck
Dramaturgy: Peter Staatsmann

Dimiter Gotscheff (* 26. April 1943; † 20. Oktober 2013)

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