after the novel von Franz Kafka
One night a stranger named K. enters a village guest house. He is told that no one is allowed to stay in the village without permission from the authorities in the castle just outside it. K. identifies himself as a surveyor who has been hired by the castle only to be informed three days later that no surveyor is required and it is not even certain that one was ever sent for. For reasons that are unclear and against his wishes, K. is given the job of school caretaker, even though he also receives a letter from the castle confirming that his work as a surveyor was entirely satisfactory. While the castle administration operates in a dubious manner and the decisions of its officials appear arbitrary, the veracity of K.’s incoherent statements is equally subject to doubt. In order to establish the legitimacy of his presence and duties, K. eventually attempts to present himself inside the castle, but all his efforts to obtain entry fail. The harder he tries, the more distant and inaccessible the castle seems to become. It also remains unclear what might explain this – all that is certain is that K. will never achieve his objective. False trails are constantly laid, contradictory information provided, vague conjectures put forward, doubt cast on details – because the nature of the «castle» is its resistance to interpretation. Or, as the sociologist of cinema Siegfried Kracauer, a contemporary of Kafka put it: «The Castle» is an expression of «how mankind is cut off from the truth».
2024 will mark the 100th anniversary of Franz Kafka’s death. To mark this occasion, Karin Henkel, one of the most distinguished directors in the German-speaking theatre, will stage Kafka’s fragment of a novel, published posthumously in 1926, this enigmatic key work of literary modernism. Her poetic, extremely contemporary feminist interpretation of «Medea» after Euripides continues to be part of the Residenztheater repertoire.