• Theater


By Frank Castorf


  • French with Spanish subtitles
  • 240 minutes

This piece combines a seventeenth-century Turkish tragedy with texts by Antonin Artaud, crossing over between centuries, styles and reflections. It’s an instant classic from German creator Frank Castorf.

Frank Castorf, one of the main players to have revived the European scene, commandeers an Ottoman tragedy in the five acts of Bajazet, written in Alexandrine verse by Jean Racine in Paris in 1672. This is complemented by El teatro y la peste, the conference that Antonin Artaud held at the Sorbonne in the thirties. In this, he summarizes his ideas about what theater should be: a violent catharsis capable of transforming the people in the audience, made possible through styles far removed from the social taboos of the time.

Protected by these distant masters, Castorf puts his name to the adaptation of a play that underlines the tragic collision of private passions and political power, inspired by a historic event: Ottoman Sultan Murat IV’s murder of his brother, Bajazet, in 1625. Faithful to the original text apart from the epilogue, Castorf brings five characters to the stage, all of whom are driven by a sick obsession for power.

Cast and crew

Directed and adapted by: Frank Castorf | Staging: Aleksandar Denic | Costumes: Adriana Braga Peretzki | Video: Andreas Deinert | Music: William Minke | Lighting: Lothar Baumgarte | Assistant directors: Hanna Lasserre and Camille Logoz, Camille Roduit | Staging assistant: Maude Bovey | Wardrobe assistant: Sabrina Bosshard | Texts: Jean Racine and Antonin Artaud, with additional quotes by Blaise Pascal and Fiodor Dostoïevski | Performers: Jeanne Balibar, Jean-Damien Barbin, Claire Sermonne, Adama Diop, Mounir Margoum, Andreas Deinert (video) | Technical, media, audience and administration teams: the Vidy-Lausanne Theater | Produced by: the Vidy-Lausanne Theater - the Seine St-Denis Cultural Center (MC93)| Coproduced by: ExtraPôle Région SUD* and the Provence Main Theater with support from Friche Belle de Mai the Autumn Festival in Paris the Strasbourg National Theater - Maillon, the Strasbourg Theater, national stage - TANDEM national stage, Douai - Bonlieu, the Annecy national stage (TNA)/ the Argentine National Theater, the Cervantes Theater the Emilia Romagna Theater Foundation.

Frank Castorf


Sampling classics

He was born in East Berlin in 1951 and became a playwright and then a director after writing a thesis on Ionesco, with the subversive characters in his shows bringing him notoriety. He set up his own company in Anklam in 1981, adapting and directing texts by Heiner Müller, Antonin Artaud, William Shakespeare and Bertolt Brecht, which led to him being censored. Castorf managed to maintain his independence after the fall of the Berlin Wall, which allowed him to create shows in West Germany and all over Europe. He was renowned for his unique approach to far-fetched, philosophical and dramatic texts, all brought together with particular intensity. He was named director of the Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz in Berlin in 1992, where he continued being the bad boy of theater by using texts by authors such as Sophocles, Dostoevsky, Chekhov, Strindberg and Beckett to question the world. From the very beginning, his inventiveness led to him exploring the use of video on stage and his direction of actors based on energy and invention - as well as his knowledge of repertoire and theatrical history - set a precedent, leading them all to interact.

“A mythical director, eminent authors and talented and committed actors turn this play into a stunning combination of mastery and inventiveness”.

Inferno Magazine

»Frank Castorf has definitely come into his own: deconstruction leads to the creation of new systems”.


Supported by

You might like