Richard Gärtner is completely healthy. Nevertheless, he wants to die and has applied for a lethal dose of sodium pentobarbital from the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices. The institute refused, so Gärtner turned to his family doctor with the request to help him die. This is legally possible, ethically it can be debated. And that too on the open stage. At least that is the starting position that the author and lawyer Ferdinand von Schirach developed for his play “Gott”.
A few days before the end of the season, the debate piece “Gott” will have its premiere at the Residenztheater. On Friday, July 23rd, there will be negotiations about the right to die. It became clear in November 2020 that the topic and the play certainly stimulate discussion. At that time, the ARD broadcast a film based on Schirach’s original, which was viewed by 3.88 million viewers. They were later able to vote on whether Gärtner should receive the drug. According to the ARD, around 546,000 viewers cast their votes, around 70 percent opted for it.
Max Färberböck directed the play in Munich. Färberböck also directs at the theater as well as for film and television. The director developed the television series “Bella Block” and shot various Tatort episodes. His first movie is well known Aimée & Jaguar (1999) with Juliane Köhler and Maria Schrader, who was nominated for the Golden Globe and was also a German Oscar entry.
At the Residenztheater, Färberböck is working again with Juliane Köhler, who appears as a professor of constitutional law. At Schirach, Gärtner’s case is negotiated before an ethics council, where experts from the fields of law, medicine and theology are heard. So it becomes theoretical in the theater. A woman’s case is being negotiated at Färberböck: Richard’s name is Elisabeth Gärtner, played by Charlotte Schwab. Their interests are represented by lawyer Biegler (Michael Wächter) and the constitutional lawyer, while a theologian (Michael Goldberg) and a doctor (Robert Dölle) oppose this.
Originally, “Gott” should have premiered much earlier this season, namely in November. After all, this will still work shortly before the summer break. Robert Dölle wrote down his thoughts on the play in the Lockdwon. “To put it pathetically, we play and watch theater on the one hand to question our existence and on the other hand to celebrate it, to bring light into the darkness.” So now the time has come.
Good, Premiere, Fri., July 23, 7.30 p.m., Residenztheater, Max-Joseph-Platz 1, phone 21851940