by Heinrich von Kleist in an adaptation by Elsa-Sophie Jach
«Allowed! I am the luckiest of the people!»
No other play by Heinrich von Kleist inspires quite so many superlatives as «Käthchen of Heilbronn». It is not only the most successful, but also the most romantic, the most fairy tale-like and at the same time the most mysterious play that he wrote. And indeed, Kleist makes use of everything the theatre had to offer in 1807: a secret vigilante court, battles between knights, a burning castle, a cherub, plus devious plots, a poisoning and numerous intercepted letters. Kleist’s world, it seems, is in uproar. Only Käthchen, the daughter of an armourer from Heilbronn, refuses to let herself be taken in. She sticks resolutely to the course that was revealed to her in a dream. She remains on the heels of Count Wetter vom Strahl, who the dream foretold would be her great love. And because the world around Käthchen appears so chaotic and fairy tale-like, it makes her stubbornness and conviction seem all the more authentic.
For Elsa-Sophie Jach, Resident Director at the Residenztheater, Käthchen is the alter ego of her creator. Kleist also felt he was misunderstood and was treated by many people as an oddball who remained convinced of his destiny as a writer despite many disappointments. Like him, his Käthchen is someone who fights for the word and for poetry. And she is an ally in his search for a partner who is worth loving.
«Kleist’s characters dance their way between their words and yet cannot speak. They talk about their lives, stutter, lurch around, breathe heavily and break off in silence. They faint repeatedly. This break in their speech becomes what they actually want to say, the appearance of gaps turns into a second form of notation, Kleist‘s own wrestling to be heard in a bourgeois society where he felt entirely misunderstood becomes the starting point for his writing.» Elsa-Sophie Jach