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Das Leben des Vernon Subutex 1

by Virginie Despentes
Direction: Thomas Ostermeier
In a version by Florian Borchmeyer, Bettina Ehrlich and Thomas Ostermeier


Translated from French by Claudia Steinitz

Things are going remarkably badly for Vernon Subutex. Formerly the owner of a record store renowned throughout Paris, blessed with customers ranging from the rock scene to the hip bourgeoisie, and idolised by female groupies, in times of digital file-sharing and streaming services, Vernon first loses his shop and then, after a failed attempt at online-retail, his entire job. Even worse: his raison d’être. As a dinosaur of the analogue age, for years he buries himself with six packs and TV series in his flat which he can only afford with the help of his former band mate — the now legendary singer Alex Bleach. When the latter dies a premature pop-star death, Vernon’s final financial foothold slips away. He ends up on the street and begins a couch-surfing odyssey with old friends and lovers and, hence, a journey to the depths of an utterly insecure society that is characterised by division, inequality and social neglect — until, ultimately, he truly becomes down-and-out in Paris. Whether it be a hapless screenwriter, a former punk turned right-wing bigot, a liberal Muslim with a fundamentalist daughter, a feminist ex-porn star, a super-snoop specialising in cyber-bullying, a Brazilian trans-woman, a fascist group of thugs, housing estate machos or the animal-loving, brawling homeless — in startling changes of perspective, the French writer and filmmaker Virginie Despentes creates a dazzling cast of characters spanning several generations, social classes, gender identities and political orientations. The first part of her trilogy about Vernon Subutex is simultaneously a tour de force through the topics of our age and a fascinating social panorama. After »Returning to Reims« and »History of Violence«, Thomas Ostermeier is dedicating himself once more to the contrasts of an increasingly polarised and brutalised present in the form of an adaptation of a contemporary French prose text.

Premiere am 8. Mai 2020


Co-production with Croatian National Theatre Zagreb.

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