by Frank Hoerner
Translated by Marion Sonnenfeld
Premiere 7th November 2004
St. James Cavalier Theatre
7, 8, 9; 15, 16; 21, 22, 23; 29, 30 November 2003 at St.
James Cavalier, Theatre in the round. Bookings at 2122 3200
Amphitryon is at war and his wife Alkmene longingly
awaits him. One night he appears unexpectedly and they spend
a blissful night together. Alkmene is perfectly happy. She
is just a little surprised as to why Amphitryon keeps on asking
her to distinguish between husband and lover
he is both in one person and she is a bit hurt
not know that she had just spent her blissful night with Jupiter,
the god, who came disguised as Amphitryon. Jupiter knew this
was the only way to win Alkmene. But, vain as he is, he cant
bear the thought that she did not realise he wasnt her
husband!! Amphitryon comes home the next day after a long
time at war and is not amused when Alkmene welcomes him: You
are back so soon??
Amphitryons servant, is on his way to see his wife Charis,
but something weird happens to him: a stranger wont
let him pass and claims he is Sosias himself. The stranger
knows all his secrets and is Mercury, Jupiters messenger,
who has to spend a night with Charis against his will. He
provokes a clash to avoid any tender physical approach
Sosias doesnt understand why hes been shouted
at when he finally arrives at home.
Confusion develops. The mortals doubt their own existence
and in the end Alkmene has to decide at a public hearing which
of the two men is Amphitryon, her husband.
It is a play about lost identities, wishful thinking and
illusions. Kleist wrote a tragic comedy
piece of world literature.
Heinrich von Kleist (1777 1811) was a poet, novelist
and playwright of the German Romantic period. He is one of
the German giants of literature together with Schiller and
Goethe. Well known plays besides Amphitryon (original:by
Plautus), include Prince of Homburg, The Broken
Jug and the novella Michael Kohlhaas.
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