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©Simon Hallström
©Simon Hallström
©Simon Hallström
©Simon Hallström
©Simon Hallström
©Simon Hallström
©Simon Hallström
©Simon Hallström
©Simon Hallström
©Simon Hallström
©Simon Hallström
©Simon Hallström

Urfaust

Play by Johann Wolfgang Goethe

Altersempfehlung: Ab 14 Jahre

Goethe’s work on the Faust myth spanned over six decades. When he composed his first adaptation of the medieval fable which had made such a deep impression on him, between 1772 and 1775 – at the same time as he was working on ‘Werther’, he could hardly suspect that this material would continue to occupy him until his life’s end in 1832. ‘Faust. A Tragedy’ was published in 1808, with ‘The Tragedy Part Two’ appearing posthumously. The sole surviving manuscript of ‘Urfaust’ was not discovered until 1887, but since then the history of the development of the most famous work of dramatic literature in the German language has become a decisive step clearer.  

Goethe’s earliest version of ‘Faust’, alternating between forms of verse and prose, is primarily a tragedy of love. The role played here by Mephistopheles is very different from the one he takes in the more developed version of 1808: the agreement and wager between the Devil and the scholar do not take place. Mephisto simply hastens Faust towards misfortune. Neither the witches’ kitchen nor Walpurgis Night feature in «Urfaust‘. However, many early versions and in some cases surprisingly precise renditions of the later tragedy, from the drunken revels in Auerbach’s cellar to the final emotional ravings in the jail scene, can be found in this early text – Faust’s disastrous relationship with Margarethe in particular is illuminated in all its detail. Having been seduced by Faust, she ends up a sinner and a murderer against her will, who is driven to madness.  Gretchen’s question about religion, set to Heinrich, is one she ultimately answers herself in uncompromising fashion: she denies herself to the man who will rescue her from prison in order to entrust herself to the court of God and thus to the death she believes she has deserved.

Nora Schlocker, resident director at Theater Basel, will take on this immortal myth of dramatic literature following her productions of ‘Children of the Sun’, ‘Edward II. I Am Love’ and ‘Farinet’.

Preisstufe IV (Schauspielhaus)



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