The 10 Selected Productions

Reise ans Ende der Nacht (Journey to the end of the night)

By Louis-Ferdinand Céline
German translation by Hinrich Schmidt-Henkel in a version by Frank Castorf with excerpts from Heiner Müller’s “Der Auftrag”
Residenztheater, Munich

Premiere 31 October 2013
Reise ans Ende der Nacht

Reise ans Ende der Nacht. f.l. Götz Argus, Bibiana Beglau

© Matthias Horn

  • 4h 30, one interval
  • With English surtitles

Past Dates

Public discussion 9 May 2014, following the performance
Haus der Berliner Festspiele, Bar
with the ensemble and Peter Laudenbach (jury)
Moderation Christine Wahl

With its furious nihilism and raggedly aggressive language, Céline’s novel is a shock. Castorf’s production takes on these shock effects, it is the antithesis to inflationary stage adaptations of novels which confuse literature with its plots. He deals with the novel just as Céline deals with reality – through associations. The production’s flickering images, the stylistic device of overheating hysteria, Castorf’s lack of interest in any kind of orderly economy of narration – in Aleksandar Denić’s set design of corners and angles, all this translates Céline’s narrative style into theatre. Céline’s sentence “One surrenders oneself to noise as much as to war” seems to catapult Ferdinand Bardamu, played clearly and precisely, yet with overheated expressiveness by Bibiana Beglau and Franz Pätzold, through the hells of the early 20th century, through a world war, the crimes of colonialism in Africa and the brutalizing capitalism of the factory. This production constitutes the discovery of an only superficially amoral novel of the century as a text for the theatre.

Directed by Frank Castorf
Stage design Aleksandar Denić
Costume design Adriana Braga Peretzki
Lighting design Gerrit Jurda
Live camera Marius Winterstein, Jaromir Zezula
Video Stefan Muhle
Dramaturgy Angela Obst

Capitaine Frémizon, Monsieur Henrouille, Le père Götz Argus
Ferdinand Bardamu Bibiana Beglau
Angel of Despair, Sasportas, La femme du Directeur de la Compagnie Pordurière du Petit Congo, Sophie Fatima Dramé
Lola, Madelon, Madame Henrouille, La fille Britta Hammelstein
Léon Robinson, Directeur de la Compagnie Pordurière du Petit Congo, Le fils, Debuisson Aurel Manthei
Ferdinand Bardamu, Léon Robinson Franz Pätzold
Molly, La cliente Katharina Pichler
Professeur des Écoles du Congo, La grand-mère Henrouille, La mère Michaela Steiger
Sergeant Alcide, Docteur Baryton Jürgen Stössinger