© Salzburger Landestheater

The Robbers

Friedrich Schiller

Premiere 10/02/2020 / Salzburg State Theatre


The play’s protagonists are as young and passionate as its author: The brothers Karl and Franz von Moor lead opposite lives; and they both go to extremes. Deeply depressed by his role in life – that of the younger son – Franz becomes a malicious schemer who will not hesitate to commit fratricide and patricide. Karl at first pursues heroic ideals of courage and freedom, but as the leader of a band of robbers he allows the killing of innocent people – and despairs over it. Both brothers revolt against a patriarchal order, each in their own way, and both fail miserably in their plans.

When Karl tries to abandon his robber’s life and returns home, he finds his family destroyed and swears to take revenge on his brother. Franz, tortured by nightmares and guilt, believes that Karl’s return will endanger his existence – and commits suicide. For Karl, who is bound to the robbers by an oath he has taken, there is no turning back either. The only woman in this male world is Amalia, who is engaged to Karl, threatened by Franz and finally betrayed by both…

Young director Sarah Henker presented her debut production “We Should All Be Feminists” at the Salzburg State Theatre in 2019 to widespread acclaim and was aided in this endeavour by author Lea Mantel and stage and costume designer Eva Musil. The same team now examines Schiller’s classical text from a contemporary perspective on rebellion, social order and the action patterns in which we are all caught up.

Schiller (1756–1805) caused a scandal at the Mannheim National Theatre in 1782 with his passionate drama about a family’s self-destruction: The epic about freedom alienated audiences at the time with its force, violence and destructive passions. Even today, its central theme – the perversion of idealism and uncompromising desire for freedom into terrorism and destruction – has lost nothing of its poignancy.

Sarah Henker was born in Berlin; she studied applied theatre studies at the Justus Liebig University in Gießen and worked at the Theater Junge Generation in Dresden for one year. Her productions in Salzburg include “Amoral One-Act Plays”, “We Should All Be Feminists” and “Ne me quitte pas”. Eva Musil has been active as a stage and costume designer at the Salzburg State Theatre for many years.