Guest Performance History of Violence

History of Violence Photo: Arno Declair


St. Ann's Warehouse

45 Water Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201

Schaubühne Berlin, History of Violence, after Édouard Louis, directed by Thomas Ostermeier

American premiere on November 17

Director Thomas Ostermeier and Schaubühne Berlin return to St. Ann’s Warehouse with an adaptation of Édouard Louis’ searing autobiographical novel, History of Violence.

At 4:00am in the Place de la Republique in Paris, while returning home from a Christmas dinner, young Édouard meets Reda, a man who has an Algerian background. They get talking, start to flirt, and soon Édouard is taking Reda back to his studio apartment. The two spend the night together, Reda talks about his childhood and his father who fled to France from Algeria. The mood is playful, they, laugh, exchange caresses, and have sex. But when, as they say goodbye to each other a few hours later, Édouard discovers his smartphone is missing and Reda suddenly takes out a gun and threatens him, the situation quickly turns to one of intimidation, violence, and rape. The next morning, Édouard goes to the police and seeks medical attention. At a loss over how to deal with his trauma, he flees to his sister Clara in provincial northern France and confides his story to her. The reactions to the dramatic incident by the people around him as well as the police and medical staff who are treating him uncover the racism, homophobia, and obscure power structures deeply rooted in society.

With his reconstruction of a traumatic night, Louis creates a work which is both a personal and penetrating social analysis ofcoming of age, desire, migration, and racism, and, in the diversity of voices reacting to the crime committed against him, makes audible the socially repressed forms of violence. 

Thomas Ostermeier, born 1968 in Soltau, Germany, has been Berliner Schaubühne’s artistic director since 1999. Educated at the Ernst Busch Academy of Dramatic Art Berlin, he has worked as a director and actor ever since. Numerous engagements led him to work at several other renowned theatres in the German-speaking area, such as Kammerspiele Munich and the Burgtheater Vienna. His plays are invited regularly to international festivals. He has been awarded many times for his work and received the Golden Lion for his lifework at the Biennale of Venice 2011.

Co-production with the Schaubühne Berlin, Théâtre de la Ville Paris, Théâtre National Wallonie-Bruxelles and St. Ann’s Warehouse. Supported by the LOTTO Stiftung Berlin.

This production is part of a series of events celebrating Édouard Louis in collaboration with BAM, which will present The End of Eddy as part of the 2019 Next Wave Festival.
Direction: Thomas Ostermeier
Associate Director: David Stöhr
Set and Costume Design: Nina Wetzel
Music: Nils Ostendorf
Dramaturgy: Florian Borchmeyer
Lighting Design: Michael Wetzel
Collaboration Choreography: Johanna Lemke
With: Christoph Gawenda
With: Laurenz Laufenberg
With: Renato Schuch
With: Alina Stiegler
With: Thomas Witte (musician)
Duration: ca. 120 minutes