(Sandra Sarala’s article appeared on ExBerliner, 7/15; Photo from Exberliner.)
Michael Kohlhaas is relentless. Just as the character – based on a version of 16th-century merchant Hans Kohlhase that appeared in Heinrich von Kleist’s 1810 novella – is relentless in his pursuit of cross-border justice, the play reflects his hellish quest with its brutal pace. Starting with the premise of a staged reading, the actors go all-out to the end, switching clothing, personas and species while posturing, pleading for clemency, fighting battles and burning villages. Essentially nobody wins, but as an audience we’re nevertheless happy to reap the spectacular rewards.