by Albert Camus
Direction: Philipp Preuss
German translation by Uli Aumüller
»I knew I’d shattered the balance of the day, the exceptional calm of this beach where I had been happy. But I fired four shots more into the inert body, the bullets pierced it without leaving any trace. And it was as though I was making four short raps on the door of misfortune.«
In Albert Camus’ 1942-published novel »The Stranger«, the Frenchman Meursault becomes by chance a murderer. He kills an Arab on the beach at Algiers. He does not defend himself in the subsequent trial, even though it ends in him being sentenced to death. He, the passive spectator of his own life, follows what happens to him so dispassionately as if it were happening to someone else. And it appears that the death sentence has less to do with the murder of the Arab, who remains nameless throughout, than with Meursault’s apathy which he recognises as inherent in the world.
»The absurd is born of this confrontation between the human need and the unreasonable silence of the world« writes Camus in his essay »The Myth of Sisyphus«, also published in 1942. According to him, the realisation that existence and the world are unbearably meaningless can befall anyone at any time. We must acknowledge that there is no higher significance and accept unconditionally what we cannot change. Camus’ stranger is a paragon of the absurd: Meursault not only embraces the randomness of his life but also, with a shrug, his own death.
Following Thomas Bernhard’s »The Lime Works«, »The Stranger« is the second work of the Austrian director Philipp Preuss for the Schaubühne.
>>> Essay about the production in our blog Pearson's Preview: Dreaming Camus’ Stranger
Premiered on 13 November 2016