by Robert Icke
loosely based on Professor Bernardi by Arthur Schnitzler
07. October 2022
Dates and tickets
An underage patient is dying after a secret abortion attempt. The Catholic priest who wants to perform the last rites on her is prevented from entering her room. During the heated altercation, the girl dies with neither medical nor religious support – an incident that escalates into a social, political and racist scandal.
This was the story told by the Viennese doctor and author Arthur Schnitzler in his play Professor Bernhardi in the early 20th century. The British author and director Robert Icke turned it into a present-day morality thriller. His Professor Bernhardi is the Jewish doctor Ruth Wolff, head of a renowned clinic for Alzheimer-patients. Her uncompromising stance against the Catholic priest leads to anti-Semitic responses. In addition, the priest is a Black man who feels discriminated by the doctor. The deceased girl’s parents are influential sponsors and well connected in political circles.
The future of the entire clinic is in danger. At the eye of the shit storm is Ruth, who refuses to play the game of political correctness and perform the rituals of remorse. At the same time her institute – her life’s work – increasingly becomes a place of annihilation and death.
Stefan Pucher will explore this play’s question of morals and human agency, looking at the complex debate around issues of gender, identity and society. Pucher’s most recent work in Hanover was his staging of Die verlorene Ehre der Katharina Blum with its powerful imagery.