The dog, the night and the knife (2009)

Marius von Mayenburg
The Dog, the Night and the Knife
Direction: Thanassis Sarantos
Apo Michanis (Ex Machina) Theatre

Translation: George Depastas
Direction: Thanassis Sarantos
Settings: Lina Motsiou
Costumes: Despoina Makarouni
Lighting design: Lefteris Pavlopoulos
Sound design: Nikos Patrelakis
Actors: Vasilis Boulougouris, Maria Panouria, Kostas Vasardanis

On a hot August night, M finds himself lost after dinning with his friends. In a cul-de-sac of an unknown, weird street, where nothing seems to move and the time has stopped, he encounters only closed plastic window shutters, sand behind the houses and deserted streets. A man appears out of nowhere, looking for his dog. The Dogman offers to help M, but suddenly an outburst of a mortal strife introduces M to nightmarish wanderings in a weird city where wolves and dogs wander in the outskirts, there is hunger everywhere, everyone M meets looks alike, and all of them share the Dogman’s ‘cannibalistic’ intentions of helping him. In the first scene, M, the main character of the play, says: ‘I want to open my eyes, but they’re already open’: the nightmare has already begun. 

Where are we precisely? Somewhere in the Unconsciousness zone? In a metaphysical painting of Giorgio de Chirico? Within surrealist poetry? Or in a kafkaesque Trial? Indeed, the play’s affinity to Kafka’s Trial goes beyond the awkward perfection of the clinical setting, the suffocating atmosphere of non-time, where M’s incomprehensible story takes place. In both stories, the main character sinks into an absurd, senseless world, where he is exposed to a series of facts which transcend him, cancelling all reasonable beliefs. This fluidity is contrasted by the play’s realistic prose and the simultaneous narration of the facts by M himself. This reiteration allows M’s consciousness to undergo a gradual transformation as he experiences the unthinkable and the illusional. While K in the Trial is condemned for a crime he did not commit, M is not condemned for the many crimes he ends up committing: in a much harsher reality, the author merely abandons him to the realisation that even hope lies beyond the boundaries of innocence.