by Maxim Gorki
In the holiday home of the lawyer Bassov the Russian intellectual middle classes meet: a circle of family members, friends and friends of friends that revolves around Bassov and his wife Varvara Mikhailovna. People are in holiday mood, do little work and abandon themselves to boredom and amusement. However, social change really is in the air. Among these summer visitors, Varvara Mikhailovna and the doctor Maria Lvovna never tire of articulating the possibility of a better life for all and an awareness of collective political responsibility. However, with every conversation, every argument, every disclosure, it becomes more questionable whether these summer guests really are capable of a different, truer form of life and the realisation of a more just society.
«They’re going to ask me how they should live. And what am I supposed to answer?»
In brilliantly sketched scenes that seem to have been overheard from real life, Gorki’s play – first performed in St. Petersburg in 1904 – presents a panoramic view of a social stratum – the Russian intelligentsia – in danger of freezing on the threshold of historical change. It is the eve of the Russian Revolution of 1905, that will begin with thousands of workers in Petersburg marching on the Winter Palace and being bloodily beaten back by the Tsar’s army. And neither the author nor his characters could suspect how close they had come to a historic turning point. In this urgency and in Gorki’s determined questioning of our capacity for solidarity with those who are weaker and disadvantaged lies what is radically contemporary about this modern classic.
With «Summer Guests» the British director Joe Hill-Gibbins, whose artistic trademark consists of precise work on dialogue and character, introduces himself to Munich audiences for the first time.