Jugend ohne Gott

The youth are our hope for the future. They’re not worn out yet, they still have basic moral impulses, they’re not yet dulled and resigned. Right? What if a teacher were to be suddenly confronted with racism and contempt for humanity when correcting assignments? If he were facing a class that had fully internalized that which is now praised in their environment?Horváth’s 1937 novel Jugend ohne Gott (Youth without God) is a clairvoyant analysis of a society in which values, norms and morals are clearly shifting. In the micro-cosmic image of a school class, Horváth sketches out the creeping political and social changes that manifest themselves in the school – the place of social development – and come to light all too clearly in the students. Horváth’s teacher is not a hero, he is not the kind of person who is sure of either his material or himself, but he is who begins to have doubts after observing his pupils and the society around them. He struggles and wrestles internally in his attempts to assert himself as an honest individual in a society threatened by brutalisation and massification. Using Jugend ohne Gott as a starting point, they ask: Nurkan Erpulat, a resident director at the Gorki, consults Horváth’s material for its contemporary relevance. Author Tina Müller investigates the novel’s individual motifs and overwrites them. An ensemble of young players, brought together for this production, are confronted with actor Denis Geyersbach as teacher. Using Youth without God as a starting point, they ask: What values are important to us, which norms are shaping ourselves and society today? And: How does the individual perceive itself and become capable of self-assertion?

Premiere: April 12th, 2019

Note: The production uses stroboscopic lighting effects, fast and flickering sequences of images, which may have negative effects on light-sensitive viewers.

Photo: Esra Rotthoff

Aufführungsrechte: Rowohlt Theater Verlag, Reinbek bei Hamburg Gefördert durch den Hauptstadtkulturfonds

A project by
Nurkan Erpulat & Ensemble
Based on the novel by
Ödön von Horváth
Stage adaption by
Tina Müller
Directed by
Nurkan Erpulat


Stage design



Lighting design



Yusuf Çelik


Denis Geyersbach


Eren Kavukoğlu


Helena Simon

Liv Stapelfeldt

Hanh Mai Thi Tran

Theo Trebs