“There is always hope. It’s not over until the body is cold!” – Ruth Wolff
Ruth Wolff is the chief physician at an institute for neurological patients. She admits a 14-year-old girl who hasn’t much time to live, trying to give her the most peaceful departure. The next morning, after a tumultuous night, an unexpected visitor shows up at the door of the young patient: the priest from the parish to which the girl’s parents belong. He has come to give her the last sacrament. By refusing an unknown and uninvited priest permission to enter the patient’s room, the physician creates a chaotic situation, resulting in what could be termed a witch hunt. But why didn’t anyone listen to the priest? And was the girl Catholic or not? Was the priest treated in an unjust, aggressive way? And did the doctor do this, perhaps, because she herself is Jewish?
This variation on Schnitzler’s key drama Professor Bernhardi, by the British playwright and screenwriter Robert Icke, returns to the fundamental themes of the early twentieth century themes which are unfortunately still (or perhaps again?) frighteningly topical. It shows that even those who have dedicated their lives to the healing of others might be affected by racial and religious prejudice spread in the public domain without proper justification. And however absurd it is to base one’s decisions about a dying patient on confused public opinion, these things do happen.
Czech premiere: 25th Mai 2021 at the Reduta Theatre