after the novella by Heinrich von Kleist
Heinrich von Kleist’s novella, which references the earthquake that took place in Santiago de Chile in August 1647, is writing of crystalline beauty that disturbs the reader with its concise and harrowing poetic vision of contemporary debates in times of a pandemic. From the very first sentence, Kleist places his readers at the epicentre of the catastrophe. Traumatised survivors are occupied with interpreting the earthquake, however, these partial descriptions of impotence, defencelessness and death – which are dependent on particular interests – fail to produce any meaningful narrative. The narrator reports his knowledge of looting in this lawless state, but also of people’s sacrifices, courage and self-lessness. And the deceptive idyll of the paradise they believe they had lost to which survivors flee and that lacks any social boundaries is followed by defamation, persecution and mob rule.
«The mechanism of guilt and atonement is continually retold in new interpretative patterns. The epidemic that is raging across the entire world spreads a feeling that the deadly danger of its emergence must be connected if not with us all, then with the way of life of certain individuals, peoples or nations. Whether the virus infected humans through the illegal consumption of exotic animals in the markets of Wuhan or was deliberately cultivated by the vaccine advocate Bill Gates – support for conspiracy theories is growing rapidly and supporters cling tenaciously to these beliefs even when they know better. Sometimes all it takes is one sentence to turn a community into a violent mob.» Ulrich Rasche
Ulrich Rasche, well known to Munich audiences since his production of «The Robbers» and considered one of the most exceptional directors of his generation because of the strict formality of his spoken choruses and spectacular stage constructions, will stage Kleist’s «The Earthquake in Chile».