based on the novel by Lion Feuchtwanger
Munich in the early 1920s: Dr. Martin Krüger, the progressive Director of the State Art Gallery, acquires some indecent pictures for his museum – a welcome opportunity for the Bavarian government to remove this awkward customer from public view. A politically-motivated trial for perjury catapults the innocent man into prison. This injustice is a thorn in the side of the 26-year-old graphologist Johanna Krain, first the prisoner’s fiancée and then his wife. Her mission is clear: Martin must regain his freedom. Johanna starts fighting and soon ends up deep in the jungle of political intrigue, also becoming emotionally involved in the hotbed of beery Bavarian life. She enters a relationship with an industrialist, sleeps with an upstart from the demi-monde and finally ends up in a liaison with an egocentric writer. All of them promise to help Krüger, but fate and the passage of time put Johanna severely to the test.
With «Success», we journey into the inner workings of a society in which everything is measured in terms of personal career advantage, the demands of embittered contemporaries, hatred of one’s neighbours, anger at those with a different political opinion and one’s own lack of any sense of direction. Politics becomes an arena for personal emotions and individual needs. Just what an unscrupulous character like the nationalist Rupert Kutzner was waiting for, whose «True Germans» progressively bypass the rule of law while he advances to become a fatal figure of hope. Following his production of «Count Öderland» (invited to the Berlin Theatertreffen 2021), in Feuchtwanger’s «Success» Stefan Bachmann examines material that presents a prescient and astonishingly topical analysis of the socio-psychological mechanisms into which democratic structures retreat.