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penthesilea

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duration nnb
premiere 18 Jun 2023


Penthesilea by Heinrich von Kleist is considered one of the masterpieces of the world theatre repertoire. In this searing drama about a fatal love, a blistering passion churns unstoppably to the surface. Kleist himself wrote about it: 'My innermost being is to be found in it, the whole filth and loftiness of my soul.'

The Amazons are a nation of exclusively female warriors. They were allowed to marry and procreate only with men who had been defeated by them in battle. In the Trojan War they do not fight against the Greeks to help the beleaguered Trojans, but rather to capture soldiers. When the Amazon queen Penthesilea and the Greek army commander Achilles come face to face on the battlefield, it is love at first sight. From that moment on, Penthesilea does everything in her power to defeat him.


ELINE ARBO ABOUT PENTHESILEA

'Kleist knows how to translate the age-old conflict between man and woman into a moving love story with complex characters. The meeting between Penthesilea and Achilles plunges them both into an existential crisis. She represents a hopeful, new form of love. And yet they fail to get together. They underestimate each other, and the consequences are horrific.

The play is therefore more than a story about the difference between man and woman. It reveals how we internalise the norms and values ​​of our own culture. Kleist wrote a dramatic piece with a tragic ending. But the real tragedy is that in the society Penthesilea and Achilles live in, there is no room for their version of love.'


 

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