after the novel by Thomas Mann adapted for the stage by Bastian Kraft
«I thought … I thought … there is nothing else to come», says young Hanno in an attempt to justify himself when his father, Senator Thomas Buddenbrook, makes him account for himself. His provocative announcement of the end of the family’s illustrious history is eventually borne out in the fateful personal and financial failures of the generation of siblings Thomas, Christian and Tony Buddenbrook. «And often the outward signs of ascent only become apparent once the decline has begun again.»
In his 1901 novel, subtitled «The Decline of a Family», Thomas Mann uses precise characterisation and an ironic style to describe the incipient structural collapse of the grande bourgeoisie. Mann drew his inspiration for «Buddenbrooks» from the story of his own family in Lübeck and people of the city where he was living at the time: Munich. Mann shows the potential complexity of relations between North and South Germany with considerable humour in the relationship between Tony Buddenbrook and the Munich hop-trader Alois Permaneder.
This family novel defined its epoch, questioning the relationship between tradition and a new generation as well as the model of family networks that appear outwardly stable once time-honoured certainties begin to collapse. Thomas Mann’s debut novel, which was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1929, is an international bestseller.
Director Bastian Kraft is well-known for his concentrated, multimedia adaptations of literary classics. In his adaptation, presented from the perspective of the youngest member of the family, Hanno, the looming dawn of a new age, crumbling of privilege and questioning of traditional certainties are all emphasized: is it possible to understand ourselves better through those people who went before us?