"Until the bubble bursts: In Göttingen, a theater director and a sociologist take on Goethe's "Faust II"... a charmingly cozy mind game, which incidentally explains the bursting speculative bubble of the world financial crisis in 2008. Simply thrilling how charmingly rogueish Münnich develops all this and is accompanied by Kühn with grumpy curiosity... a stimulating science slam that gets to the heart of Goethe's thinking... that is stimulating, not to say gigantic, crazy, life-changing." (Jens Fischer, TAZ, 11.5.2019)
"A capital adventure on stage" (Tina Fibiger, Göttinger Stadtradio, 25.4.2019)
"An exciting project by the university and the Deutsches Theater: directed by Jan Philipp Stange, who is experienced in project theater, Nikolaus Kühn fills many passages from Goethe's Faust with life, while Sascha Münnich places them originally in overall social contexts. Countless nuances sparkle - as in the stream that should flow through the auditorium. Stage and costume designer Jakob Engel not only invented a Mephisto costume in the dominant color red for Nikolaus Kühn. He also succeeds in filling the oh-so-sober auditorium with something like a theatrical atmosphere using the tools commonly used there, such as a document camera. Choral sounds almost seem spherical in the staging.... As befits the show, the choir members also stride onto the stage in "Science and Fiction" waving candles, thus creating the setting for an atmospheric finale. The largest lecture hall, HS 11 with 900 seats, is transformed into a performance venue that evening. Whether it's a lecture or a theater, each audience member has to decide for himself where to place the emphasis. One thing is certain: 'Science and Fiction' with Faust II is a project to listen to twice." (Ute Lawrenz, HNA, 7.5.2019)
"Gigantic: It is a symbiosis of theater and lecture. A symbiosis that one would like to see more often there. The starting point of the play is Goethe's Faust II, the - direkt quote - first play critical of capitalism. Fittingly, a professor of sociology appears alongside the consistently convincing Nikolaus Kühn as Mephisto. Namely, the extremely likeable Sascha Münnich, who focuses his research on money and the financial crisis. Together, the two present a successful mixture of Goethe's texts, informative lectures and sharp dialogue on how much our society is dominated by faith and the pursuit of money and what it can buy. The actors create an innovative, touchingly detailed and thoroughly entertaining play, which is absolutely worth seeing! There are even rumors that the play will change the world ..." (Maren Wöbbeking, Scharfer Blick, 28.4.2019)
"Extraordinary Faust II staging: Everything is different in the Göttingen production 'Science and Fiction (Faust II)'. Half theater, half science, a new form of presentation is put together from these two hemispheres that entertains and educates ... The attempt to bring together what at first glance appear to be two different fields as science and theater actually produces something special in this case, perhaps even something actually new. Old familiar structures (theater and science) are dismantled and put together in a new way. That is refreshing. It takes courage. Of course, the world-changing effect would still have to be discussed. But this is already given, if some theater guests take away from this play the suggestion that it is in our, the human hand, in which way we live together as an earthly community, that it is in our hand to create moments, of which we say, quite Goethean: "Stay, you are so beautiful ... Theater, of course, is everything. Everything. Dizziness, if you will. Scope for free creation, to put it positively. Once you have recognized this, you can change the world. Gradually, by choice and, for a change, for the better. What is decisive is what we believe in. And here - and this is also Goethean - the degree of our education has an importance that should not be underestimated..." (Ulrich Meinhard, Göttinger Tageblatt, 26.4.2019)
"The premiere last Thursday is accompanied by numerous laughs and the attentive audience has a great time, especially with Sascha Münnich's presentations. Vigorous and prolonged applause attest to the fact that the entire team has achieved a great success. A heterogeneous crowd experiences the premiere, many age groups and different interest groups are represented in the 011. DT subscribers as well as premiere visitors from theater circles, interested people from the university milieu and students. The latter in particular are absolutely thrilled and describe that some effects gave them goose bumps. The project character and especially the mixing of theater and science is praised in many ways... The play wants to trace the secret of money, to trace the great myth of the substance that holds the world together in its innermost. This clarifies the role of Sascha Münnich. After all, since his studies in social sciences, which he began in 1998 at the University of Göttingen, he has been concerned with nothing other than our economic system and its moral and ethical legitimation. The classical theater part as Mephisto is played by Nikolaus Kühn, who has been engaged at the DT since the 2004/2005 season and plays with both intensity and nonchalance. Both actors meet on the subject of money and play not only their roles, but somehow also themselves... Play-wise, the two protagonists complement each other excellently. Kühn plays his Mephisto know-it-all and very casual, sometimes cheeky and arrogant. At least until Münnich's Faust knocks him off his perch, matter-of-factly, but not without a wink and a good portion of humor. In the end, even he has to realize that, despite all the poetry, the eternal cycle of paper money, party, crisis, destruction and the subsequent economic miracle cannot be broken. One utopia of a better world follows the next, but the better world ends at the theater gate. "Man errs as long as he strives." ... Together with a ten-member choir and its musical director Fred Kerkmann, as well as the now violin-playing Mephisto, Faust performs a beautifully sung earworm that resonates for a long time." (Christoph Mischke, Blog GT, 2.5.2019)
Science and Fiction (Faust II), Deutsches Theater, Göttingen, 2019
Professor Sascha Münnich teaches sociology at the University of Göttingen. He did not study philosophy, law or medicine, and, unfortunately, did not study theology either. Instead, he researches money and the consequences of the financial crisis. Young Goethe also wanted to be a professor in Göttingen, but his father harboured animosity against the city on the Leine. So, Johann Wolfgang had to become a poet instead: ‘Nach Golde drängt / am Golde hängt / doch alles’ (To gold they tend / On gold depend / All things). Faust II, the second part of Goethe’s tragedy, negotiates the impacts of state bankruptcy. The emperor has spent all the money, but Mephisto creates new money from nothing, funded by the country’s as yet untapped mineral resources. This puts speculation out into the world together with competition, crisis, exploitation and the compulsion to increase profits. For this production, theatre and scholarship come together again to unravel the secrets of money, the great myth of what ‘die Welt / im Innersten zusammenhält’ (binds the world’s innermost core together).
Professor Sascha Münnich, born in 1977, has been Professor of International Comparative Sociology at the Institute for Sociology at Georg August University in Göttingen since 2013. His research looks into the social and cultural conditions of capitalist economies and the welfare states that support them. He is also the lead singer of a number of bands, including Men in Black.
Premiere on 25 April 2019. Further performances on 03.05., 04.05., 05.05., 08.05., 24.05., 25.05., 26.05., 05.06., 07.06. and 12.06.
With Sascha Münnich and Nikolaus Kühn, Director: Jan Philipp Stange, Stage Design: Jakob Engel, Dramaturgy: Jascha Fendel, Text: Jakob Engel, Sascha Münnich und Jan Philipp Stange, Assistant Director: Leonie Rebentisch | Photos by Jakob Engel