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And every day a new tea has to be served, tidied up, cooked, something repaired. Every day you have to jump when someone calls for you. And always the stench from the private laboratory of the head of the family who thinks he can develop new organic matter. They all don't know how to handle money either. The worst thing, however, is that you constantly have to listen to the do-nothings, who pass the time with their love affairs, their painting and their scientific dilettantism, trying to remedy the primitive state of the masses...
Maybe that's how they think, the employees in Protasov's house, without whom nothing would work here. The scientist Protasov cannot concern himself with profane things like everyday life. He wants to bring about progress, chemically and intellectually. Nothing less than the final liberation of humanity is the focus of all his work. Thus he has neither an eye for the widow Melaniya, who is burning in desperate love for him, nor - and this is worse - for his wife, who turns lonely to their mutual friend Wagin. The tender signs of love between his sister Lisa, who has long been severely traumatised by the sight of bloody street riots, and the morally deranged veterinarian Tschepurnoi also escape him - as does the catastrophe that is brewing between the two. But cholera is rampant on the streets, there are deaths, and suddenly the air in the ivory tower becomes dangerously thin.
The author Maxim Gorky - a pseudonym that translates as "the bitter one" - wrote the play during his imprisonment in the Peter and Paul Fortress, where Dostoevsky was also imprisoned.
Written in the aftermath of the so-called St. Petersburg Bloody Sunday, which was to usher in the Russian Revolution of 1905, Children of the Sun – masterfully directed by Mateja Koležnik – is a tragi-comic inventory of a deeply divided society that must reinvent itself if its days are not to be numbered.
The casting is so perfect that almost every single role is played slightly better, with more vitality and sophistication, than one would visualise in reading the play. And of course, not every theatre can do that.
Only three days before it tours Cankarjev dom, the brilliant and widely heralded Schauspielhaus Bochum production Children of the Sun, directed by Slovenian director Mateja Koležnik, will open this year's Belgrade International Theatre Festival Bitef.
A play by: Maksim Gorki
Director: Mateja Koležnik
Dramaturgy: Angela Obst
Cast: Anna Blomeier, Jele Brückner, Konstantin Bühler, Christoph Lux, Christian Paul, Taner Yen, Meral Pektaş, Marta Grabski, Tim Brockmann, Anna Trier, Guy Clemens, Dominik Dos-Reis, Victor IJdens, Michael Lippold, Emily Lück, Karin Moog, Anne Rietmeijer, Alexander Wertmann, Amelie Willberg
Production: Schauspielhaus Bochum