WHAT IS IT ABOUT?
Heinrich von Kleist (1777 - 1811) was the Sarah Kane of his day and Penthesilea his most scandalous piece of work: A young woman slaughters and devours the man she loves. Substituting the classical concept of fate with politics and psychology, Kleist portrays a passionate and godless world in which religion and society program the genders for mutual destruction. A profoundly dysfunctional society in which Penthesilea and Achilles can only court violently and love murderously. Euripides meets Strindberg, one might say.
After being banned from the stage for almost a century, Kleist's tragedy of the Amazon queen in most recent years is receiving increasing attention and applause for its radical subjectivity, graphic language and emphatically anti-authoritarian attitude.