The 10 Selected Productions

Der Menschenfeind (The Misanthrope)

By Molière
German version in rhymed verses by Jürgen Gosch and Wolfgang Wiens

Deutsches Theater Berlin

Premiere 29 March 2019

Anne Lenk has staged Molière’s classic, translated by Jürgen Gosch and Wolfgang Wiens, as a straightforward delight with an exceptional concentration of language and wit.

Der Menschenfeind

Der Menschenfeind. Ulrich Matthes, Manuel Harder, Lisa Hrdina, Franziska Machens, Jeremy Mockridge, Elias Arens

© Arno Declair

  • 1 h 30 min, without interval

How can you live up to your own aspirations and those of society’s norms? Alceste is an idealist and a master of hurtful words, always eager to hold up a mirror to his fellow human beings. But he has finally found his match in the young widow Célimène: As rhetorically gifted as he is, she has no intention of giving in to his whimsies. Anne Lenk has staged Molière’s comedy without frills, creating a space that is given brilliance by her sophisticated cast and the splendidly rhymed translation by Gosch/Wiens.

Statement of the Jury

This production of the classic “The Misanthrope” at Deutsches Theater Berlin takes its material seriously and generates historical references. At the same time, it sets it staunchly in our present times, partly due to the German translation by Gosch and Wiens with its wild, unrestrained verses. Over large parts of the show, Anne Lenk shifts the focus from Alceste towards Célimène: It is a great pleasure to watch how Franziska Machens’ both casual and hypnotic acting takes over the lead. Ulrich Matthes lends human depth to his Alceste – the tragic circumstance that neither of them is willing or able to act against their nature gives the evening an undercoat of deepest black. Although there is plenty of drastic comedy, none of the characters are buffoons, but rather people constrained by the corsets that hide their inner turmoil. Behind the comedy, Lenk finds individuals in all their disjointedness, in all their truth. Thanks in part to the exquisite set and costumes, this production can be read as a parable both of Versailles under Louis XIV and of our present days.


Director Anne Lenk
Stage Design Florian Lösche
Costume Design Sibylle Wallum
Music Camill Jammal
Lighting Design Matthias Vogel
Dramaturgy Sonja Anders

Alceste Ulrich Matthes
Philinte Manuel Harder
Célimène Franziska Machens
Éliante Lisa Hrdina
Arsinoé Judith Hofmann
Oronte Timo Weisschnur
Acaste Jeremy Mockridge
Clitandre Elias Arens

Der Menschenfeind. Video trailer

© Deutsches Theater

Performing rights: Verlag der Autoren, Frankfurt/Main