Slaughterhouse 5

The world premier took a place on  September,24 2020 (European Centre for the Arts Hellerau, Germany)

Kurt Vonnegut tells about the horror of war and at the same time makes remembrance itself a subject. His novel “Schlachthof 5” is a collage, satire, biography, science fiction and everything at the same time: the novel narrative wanders through different time levels in a fragmentary, excerpt-like manner, allowing personal experience and lessons learned to merge with fiction. Vonnegut was taken prisoner of war as a young American soldier in 1944 and was brought to Dresden. In the cellars of Schlachthof 5 he survives the heavy bombing raids of 13 and 14 February 1945. His novel, published in 1969, becomes a cult book. How do we remember the war? Which experiences become part of our cultural memory? 75 years after the end of the Second World War, the questions raised by “Schlachthof 5” are more topical than ever. Already during the Nazi and GDR times, the events of the night of bombing became the plaything of a varied instrumentalization by various political actors* and camps. And even today the “Dresden myth” is constantly being continued. A broad alliance of civic engagement has formed across various population groups, parties, institutions and civil society organisations to counter the bombing raids by (neo)nationalist and right-wing populist groups.

Against this background, the Russian theatre director Maxim Didenko is designing a new stage version of “Schlachthof 5”, which will premiere in September in HELLERAU – European Centre for the Arts Dresden. Didenko, who has received many awards and is internationally known for his visually powerful choreographic-theatrical stage language, is looking for new possibilities for a contemporary view of Vonnegut’s text, the local commemorative culture and the “Dresden myth” with his production. The production is conceived as a multimedia music theatre project at the interface of theatre, dance, music and performance, with performers, dancers and singers acting on stage. The music by Vladimir Rannev, composed especially for the piece, will be performed live by AuditivVokal Dresden. For the choreographic realisation with a nine-member performers’ ensemble, Didenko works closely with the choreographer Vladimir Varnava. For the spatial realisation of “Schlachthof 5” the artist and lighting designer AJ Weissbard uses the natural light concept from the founding years of the Festspielhaus Hellerau and Oleg Michailov creates the video art.

A co-production of tristan Production and HELLERAU – European Centre for the Arts

Supported by the Federal Cultural Foundation as well as by the state capital Dresden, the Office for Culture and Monument Protection and the Cultural Foundation of the Free State of Saxony

Duration: 1 hour 40 minutes


Maxim Didenko

Production group

Music by Vladimir Rannev
Text version: Johannes Kirsten
Stage design, costumes, lighting design: AJ Weissbard
Choreography: Vladimir Varnava
Video design: Oleg Michailov
Musical direction: Olaf Katzer
Design and stage design assistance: Sasha Kuznetsova, Filippo Moretti Olaf Katzer
Actors: Wolf-Dieter Gööck

Dancer ensemble:
Aleksandr Chelidze, Amy  Schönheit, Aya Sone, Donna-Mae  Burrows, Leon Damm, Rodolfo  Piazza Pfitscher da Silva, Yasmin Schönmann, Charles Washington

Singers AuditivVokal Dresden:
Alexander Bischoff, Anne Stadler, Dorothea Wagner, Felix Schwandtke, Katharina Salden, Konrad Furian, Philipp Schreyer, Stefan Kunath

Project management Tristan Production: Isolde Matkey

Technical management/collaboration light design: Ted Meier

Assistant director: Ekaterina Didenko
Reheasal assistant: Alba Maria Thomas Alvarez
Assistant AuditivVokal: Nicole Meier

Collaboration costume: Michael Wolf, Dennis Schmidt

Dressing: Sybille Rauchfuß, Karin Krüger (Atelier MASSIVE)

We especially thank our technical supporters:

The company Neumann & Müller GmbH & Co KG , Mr. Omar Samhoun, for
Provision of the Timax acoustic positioning and matrix system

The company Studt – Akustik Dresden, Dipl. Ing. H.-P. Studt, for
Provision of the loudspeaker systems.

Sound engineer: Helge Petzold

Installation and operator of the acoustic positioning system: Omar Samhoun /
Alexander Nickol / Robert Schöne

Support wireless technology: Sebastian Rietz

Video technology: Johannes Petzold