adapted from the story by Herman Melville


BARTLEBY, THE SCRIVENER adapted from the story by Herman Melville

As a clerk in a New York law firm, Bartleby appears to be the ideal employee: he is dutifully hardworking, upright and calm. However, quietly and gently, he soon begins to repeat the one sentence that drives his superior to despair - “I would prefer not to.” Bartleby would prefer not to check copies. He would prefer not to run errands. Ultimately, he would prefer not to write at all. But he doesn’t want to leave the office either. He remains undaunted, silent and resistant to every encouragement, every threat, every offer of help. His rebellion against homogenous office life and ultimately against life itself makes him a central figure in modern world literature.

“Even in his catatonic or anorexic state, Bartleby is not the patient but the doctor of a sick America, the Medicine-Man, the new Christ or the brother to us all.” (Gilles Deleuze)


A TON UND KIRSCHEN THEATER PRODUCTION Margarete Biereye, Francesco Bifano, Regis Gergouin, David Johnston, Rob Wyn Jones, Nelson Leon, Zina Méziat, Daisy Watkiss.

ARTISTIC DIRECTION Margarete Biereye & David Johnston

PHOTOGRAPHY by Jean-Pierre Estournet

TRAILER by Stephan Samuel


Potsdamer Neueste Nachrichten, Astrid Priebs-Tröger, November 2016

(…) But one image in particular provokes (besides anger) deep sadness: Bartleby is alone in the office at night. He stands at the window and simply follows his reflection as it begins to move through the room. What narcissism, what loneliness! At the very end, the notary breathes a mournful “Ah!” for him and all humanity. Touching and disturbing in equal measure!

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Kultursegler, Heidi Jäger, November 2016

This gripping, fresh production allows for many associations: not only is it reminiscent of Edward Hopper’s dissonant metropolitan symphony, but also of Kafka’s fragile characters and Beckett’s apocalyptic mood. These 80 minutes of tense theatre capture our world falling apart: this era that constantly demands productivity, in which inner withdrawal and depression are rapidly on the rise. Ton und Kirschen leave us shaken.

Read it in German

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