Das Schloss / The Castle
Based on texts by Franz Kafka
When K. arrives during the night, the fog is so dense that the castle cannot be seen. But the dark eyes that watch, scrutinize and reject K. are clearly visible. You’re not from here, you don’t belong here and you never will belong, they seem to say. But K. came to this remote village with a mission, commissioned by the lord of the castle to work as a surveyor. And yet, everyone claims ignorance.
All of K.‘s attempts to gain access to the castle and to talk to his employer fail: Even the doors, which seem to open with the help of his lover Frieda, his alleged helpers Artur and Jeremias and the castle’s errand boy Barnabas, turn out to be deceptive. K. finds himself stranded in an unfathomable labyrinth of jurisdictions and power structures, unable to decode its laws. And so, despite all his efforts, K. remains an outsider throughout the six days of the story’s duration: Both the castle and the village community defy him to the end – and yet he is unable and unwilling to consider giving up, removing himself from the castle’s mysterious spell and leaving the village behind.
K. is another protagonist who bears Kafka’s own initials. In this further development of the “Process”, he no longer even has a first name, only a single letter which could stand for how strange and forlorn the character is. After studying law, Franz Kafka had to take “day jobs” with insurance companies to finance his life as an author, and he frequently complained about the exhausting bureaucracy that abounded there. In 1922, he started the novel “Das Schloss (The Castle)”. A few months later, he abandoned the work and never completed it. His friend Max Brod published the fragment after Kafka’s death in 1924, suggesting that, although K. was supposed to die of exhaustion on the seventh day, the permission to live and work in the village should have given him at least partial satisfaction. It remains doubtful, however, whether Kafka had really wanted to finish the work – and with such a twist, at that – because before his death, he wrote that he intended to leave the work forever unfinished.
Philipp Preuss studied theatre directing at the Salzburg Mozarteum and has been working as a freelance director and visual artist since 2001. His productions are distinguished by an installative-atmospheric approach and powerful imagery. He has worked at theatres including Schauspiel Dortmund, Schauspiel Frankfurt, Theater an der Ruhr Mülheim, Deutsches Theater Berlin, Residenztheater München and Schaubühne Berlin. His exhibitions were presented in cities like Bregenz, Vienna and Milan. Philipp Preuss has been Director in Residence at Schauspiel Leipzig since 2015/2016, with productions including “Ein Sommernachtstraum (A Midsummer Night’s Dream)”, “Peer Gynt”, “Gespenster oder Denkwürdigkeiten eines Nervenkranken”, Thomas Köck’s “atlas” and Kleist’s “Prinz Friedrich von Homburg”.