Production | 10 remarkable productions

Kinder der Sonne

By Maxim Gorki
German translation by Ulrike Zemme

Schauspielhaus Bochum

Premiere 7 October 2022

An older man helps a younger man up from the floor as a young woman looks on in horror.

Trailer © Schauspielhaus Bochum

With precise character portraits and a detailed, realistic set, Mateja Koležnik’s production plunges deep into the life of a scientist whose search for the origins of life renders him blind to his surroundings.

Watch the full-length performance online
in the 3sat-Mediathek and in the BerlinerFestspiele Media Library from Friday, 12 May to Thursday, 7 September

Audience discussion
Friday, 26 May after the performance and until 31 December 2023 as videoon demand in the media library
Moderation: Susanne Burkhardt, attending jury member: Sascha Westphal

Russia in the time of cholera: The chemical scientist Pavel Protasov is so busy researching the secret of life that he loses track of what is happening in his own house. His wife Yelena turns to the artist Vagin and a gentle romance develops between Protasov’s traumatised sister Lisa and the veterinarian Chepurnoy, ultimately headed for disaster. Chepurnoy’s widowed sister Melanya in turn falls in love with Protasov, who notices only her interest in his science. The household also includes domestics: Protasov’s experimental instruments are constructed by the violence-prone metalworker Egor; housekeeper Antonovna tries to stay on top of things; Fima, the maid, knows that only money can give her security and not Roman, the caretaker. But while the people in some parts of the house ponder on art and progress, an angry mob has formed outside their door. Because more and more people have died from cholera and rumour has it that Protasov and his experiments are to blame…
Mateja Koležnik and her brilliantly cast company of actors present Maxim Gorki’society portrait from the year 1905 as a precise study of character that trusts the power of the narrative. A show like a time machine, uncompromising, subtle and with quiet humour.

Statement of the Jury
At first glance, Mateja Koležnik’s production of Maxim Gorki’s “Kinder der Sonne (Children of the Sun)” appears to be from a different time. Raimund Orfeo Voigt’s hyper-realistic set, which reflects the decline of a self-absorbed bourgeoisie in every detail, and the psychologically exact acting by a company that is perfectly cast even in the smallest roles, align themselves with theatre traditions that have gone a little out of fashion. And yet, there is nothing museum-like about Koležnik’s approach. In fact, her work is highly topical. The scientist played by Guy Clemens, whose unworldly behaviour is an expression of toxic privilege, and all the others who revolve around him reveal themselves to be tragi-comic egocentrics and blind to everything that is happening around them. In this way, Koležnik moves Gorki’s characters closer to us and our crisis-ridden reality.

Tojuror Sascha Westphal’s video statement in the Berliner Festspiele Media Library (in German)

Artistic Team

Mateja KoležnikDirector
Raimund Orfeo VoigtStage Design
Ana Savić-GecanCostume Design
Lukas TobiassenSoundtrack
Jordy ZoetSound Design
Bernd FelderLight Design
Angela ObstDramaturgy


Guy ClemensPavel Protasov
Anne RietmeijerLisa, his sister
Anna BlomeierYelena, his wife
Victor IJdensDmitry Vagin
Dominik Dos-ReisBoris Chepurnoy
Jele BrücknerMelanya, his sister
Konstantin BühlerNazar Avdeyevich
Michael LippoldEgor, a locksmith
Karin MoogAntonovna, a housekeeper
Alexander WertmannRoman, a caretaker
Amelie WillbergFima, a maid
Emily LückLusha, a maid
Christoph Lux, Christian Paul, Tim Brockmann / Taner YenVillagers

Performing rights: Rowohlt Theater Verlag, Hamburg