Der Spieler: Dostojewski
The Gambler: Dostoyevsky
Theatre project by Christian Franke
Performed in German
In October 1866, Fyodor Dostoyevsky found himself in a seemingly hopeless situation. Having run into financial difficulties, he had entered into a desperate contract with the publisher Stellovsky: he was to deliver a new novel of no less than 10 printed sheets (160 pages) by no later than 1 November, with which his gambling debts would then be paid off. But 26 days before the deadline, Dostoyevsky had not written a single word. A young professor then sent him his student Anna Grigorievna, a woman who was not only well educated, but also a gifted stenographer. Weeks of high drama followed, containing both the successful completion of the required novel, as well as the poet’s marriage to the young Anna, who was twenty-five years his junior. But even the honeymoon abroad became a frantic getaway from the creditors. During their trip, Fyodor and Anna visited the German spas to play roulette, and also took residence in Wiesbaden.
Based on the novel “The Gambler” and illuminated with contemporary documents, letters and (auto)biographical material, the project investigates the phenomena of self-sacrifice as part of the artistic process. It is set in Wiesbaden’s Kurhaus, an authentic location where much of the story took shape.