10 remarkable productions

Die Vaterlosen

Tragicomedy by Anton Chekhov
German translation by Ulrike Zemme
Including “DAD MEN TALKING: Gesprächsreihe mit wechselnden Gästen & Carl Hegemann” as well as a monologue by Katja Brunner

Münchner Kammerspiele

Premiere: 3 June 2023

Die Vaterlosen © Münchner Kammerspiele

Can the changes brought by the Modern Age be ignored? In Jette Steckel’s precise and witty production of Anton Chekhov’s “Die Vaterlosen (Fatherless)”, a society dances on the grave of its former glamour.

Audience Talk
Sunday, 12.5.2024 after the performance
Impulse: Rebecca Ajnwojner (Dramaturg)
Jury member: Eva Behrendt
Moderated by Florian Malzacher

There are indications of sensitive and/or health-relevant content.

There is a party at Anna Petrovna’s country estate and the guests are revelling as if there were no social decline or loss of status, money and reputation. Among the party guests is Platonov, the village schoolmaster who arouses strong feelings in three women at once and causes more than one disaster. In their interpretation of Anton Chekhov’s early work from 1880, director Jette Steckel and her enthusiastic cast, with Wiebke Puls, Katharina Bach and Joachim Meyerhoff leading the way, expertly display a society that tries to close its eyes to its own demise. The production integrates a wide range of formats and topics, including a talk show by and with Berliner Volksbühne’s former chief dramaturg Carl Hegemann and varying guests, where members of generation 70+ volubly exchange their views of the world.

Statement of the Jury

There is no fourth wall in the beginning. The Kammerspiele-cast around Wiebke Puls as Anna Petrovna, impoverished widow of a general, casually chat into the stalls, heave beer crates across the ramp and try to get into the party spirit. But there is no buzz, no matter how much the “fatherless” try. This is Anton Chekhov’s first play, written when he was still at school in the Russian provinces, while his bankrupt father had fled to Moscow to avoid his creditors. Jette Steckel stages it as a dance on the volcano’s edge. One after the other, strong women succumb to Joachim Meyerhoff’s toxic school teacher Platonov, throwing themselves at him in a craving for perdition and defiantly declaring him to be their “utopia”. One, at any rate, successfully sues him in a text insert by Katja Brunner – and Platonov promptly declares himself the victim. And then there are the “DAD MEN TALKING”, older gentlemen (and ladies) whom dramaturg Carl Hegemann interviews on the generational experience of fatherlessness in talk show parentheses, until Platonov knocks the stuffing out of them. A celebration of acting, full of collective repressions and projections!

Tojuror Martin Thomas Pesl's video statement in the Berliner Festspiele Media Library (in German)

Digital programme booklet on the websiteof “Die Vaterlosen”

Künstlerisches Team

Jette Steckel – Director
Florian Lösche – Stage Design
Pauline Hüners – Costume Design
Matthias Jakisic – Live Music (Composition)
Anna Bauer – Musik (Composition)
Jens Baßfeld, Jake Witlen – Video
Emilia Heinrich, Tobias Schuster – Dramaturgy
Maximilian Kraußmüller – Lighting Design


Wiebke PulsAnna Petrovna Voyniseva, young general’s widow
Bernardo Arias Porras – Sergei Pavlovich Voynitsev, her stepson
Katharina BachSofia Yegorovna, his wife
Edmund TelgenkämperPorfiry Semyonovich Glagolyev, landowner
Abel HaffnerKirill Porfirjevich Glagolyev, his son
Anna Gesa-Raija Lappe – Maria Jefimovna Grekova
Walter HessIvan Ivanovich Triletsky, retired colonel
Martin WeigelNikolai Ivanovich Triletsky, his son, doctor
Joachim MeyerhoffMikhail Vassilyevich Platonov, village schoolteacher
Edith SaldanhaAlexandra Ivanovna (Sasha), his wife
Thomas SchmauserOssip, horse thief
Carl HegemannCarl

Performance rights: Rowohlt Theater Verlag, Hamburg (translation by Ulrike Zemme); S. Fischer THEATER & MEDIEN, Frankfurt am Main (monologue by Katja Brunner)