What can be trusted, what can be relied on: these questions are hotly discussed now as always. What the facts are, what can be believed, what is real – who decides?

The Devil, perhaps. He turns up in Moscow in the 1930s in the shape of the black magician Woland, makes heads roll and then puts them back in their places, makes banknotes rain down and crumble into confetti, transforms people into animals or magics them away to distant places, mocks the authorities, literary editors, higher ups in general and those who believe in them and soon has the lunatic asylum overflowing. With his strident band of followers, he calmly shows the people that their world is based on greed, deception and cowardice and reveals that he is less God’s opponent than a great metaphysician. So is he the one who decides what is right and what is wrong and what there is at all.

Or is it love? He helps this achieve its happy ending, although perhaps not on earth – Margarita is searching for her lover, a writer called the “Master”, and becomes Woland’s belle of the ball, riding a broomstick and storming the heavens, being granted a reunion with her lover as her reward. Though the lovers will only be able to live together after drinking poison.

Or is it the state that decides what is allowed and what is not? In Bulgakov’s novel, which was not permitted to be published during his lifetime, although – or specifically because – Stalin was one of Bulgakov’s readers, there is another unpublished novel: one that the Master wrote about Pontius Pilate, who wishes to save Yeshua Ha-Notsri but does not do so, about Levi Matvei, who recounts Yeshua’s story highly capriciously with serious consequences, and about Judas, who betrays and is punished. In the face of state censorship, the Master throws his manuscript in the fire and hides in the lunatic asylum. But Margarita saves the text which increasingly inscribes itself on the reality (which one exactly?) of the novel, until the Master and Margarita, Pontius Pilate and the Devil, Moscow, Bulgakov and all of us are all sucked up into it as if in a vortex. A shout of “Follow me, reader!” comes from the book. And we will decide.

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  • Premiere: 08.10.2021
  • Director, Stage Design, Music: Robert Borgmann
  • Costume design: Helen Stein, Magdalene Schön
  • Light design: Carsten Rüger
  • Dramaturgy: Angela Obst