after Oscar Wilde in an adaptation by Jarosław Murawski
Thu 06 Feb
after Oscar Wilde in an adaptation by Jarosław Murawski
Premiere 06. February 2025

In the Bible, the daughter of Herodias, who demands the head of John the Baptist in return for her skills as a dancer, doesn’t even have a name. Only in the centuries that followed did she become the prime example of the femme fatale: the character of Salome is a seamless combination of eroticism and exoticism, seductiveness and cruelty. Around the turn of the 20th century, an era that discovered female desire as a subject and immediately pathologised it, many artists would develop the myth further: in addition to Oscar Wilde, there were Richard Strauss and Jules Massenet in opera, Gustave Flaubert and Stéphane Mallarmé in literature, and Lovis Corinth and Edvard Munch in the visual arts. In Wilde’s drama, Salome bursts into a world that is ruled by men, yet Herod’s legitimacy as the ruler of Galilee appears threatened from several directions. On one hand he has to negotiate with the Roman occupying forces, on the other he is worried by Jokanaan, the prophet of a new faith, who is gathering ever more followers. And yet neither political nor religious issues are what inflame feelings most, but Salome’s beauty, which neither her stepfather nor any man at court can take their eyes away from – none except Jokanaan, who brusquely rejects the Princess and pays for it with his life.

«For Wilde, Salome is no passive object of Herod’s desire. Nor is she a loser or a victim. She puts her stepfather to the test: with the dance of the seven seils she provokes him. With the prophet she does the same. She turns male-coded behaviour around and blurs the boundaries between the sexes. But at the end of the play Wilde presents her sexuality as ‹disturbed› and we want to challenge that. When Salome kisses the severed head of the prophet, for us this is not a gesture of craziness, but an expression of her freedom, with which she confronts her family, the prophet and the audience. This is where her victory lies: she is the one who establishes the rules and the themes. She is the true prophet.» Jarosław Murawski

Artistic Direction

Stage Design Mirek Kaczmarek
Costume Design Julia Kornacka
Dramaturgy Jarosław Murawski,  Michael Billenkamp