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Im Herzen der Gewalt

Édouard Louis’ memoir of rape. Catch this month Nov 11-14 at Schaubühne.

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Photo by Arno Declair

After adapting Didier Eribon’s Return to Reims for the stage, Thomas Ostermeier continues his investigation of French homophobia, classism and racism in Im Herzen der Gewalt, based on Édouard Louis’ 2016 fictionalised memoir, published in English as A History of Violence. In 2012, before he was even 20, Louis invited a man he met on the streets of Paris back to his apartment, where they had consensual sex until the man robbed and then raped him. Louis’ reluctance to fit himself and his assailant into the roles of victim and perpetrator is heightened by the attacker’s status as one of the oppressed – an undocumented worker whose Berber father emigrated from North Africa. Despite a slow narrative build, some weakly choreographed interludes, and the lazily imagined character of the sister, Im Herzen der Gewalt gathers power largely as a result of Renato Schuch’s performance as Louis’ seducer and rapist. Schuch’s stage presence demands attention; finding the difficult equilibrium between charm and menace, he becomes the enigma at the heart of the crime.

Nov 11, 20:00, Nov 12-14, 20:30 (with English surtitles on Nov 13-14) Schaubühne, Wilmersdorf