The Secret Agent
by Joseph Conrad / Repertoire
An international summit of leading politicians is about to take place. The intelligence services are fighting against terrorist attacks all over Europe, but they are also fighting each other, and for one foreign intelligence service the English legislature seems far too liberal. What should be done? An agent provocateur is ordered to carry out a bomb attack in London. In shock, the British will tighten their laws, so the plan. What sounds like a 21st-century vision is the basis of a novel that Joseph Conrad published in 1907. »The Secret Agent« is Adolf Verloc, who runs a grubby shop in London's Soho district with his wife Winnie and her mentally handicapped brother Stevie. Verloc leads a double life: He spies on anarchist circles as an informer for the British police, as well as for a foreign embassy. One day he receives an order from the embassy to carry out a fake terrorist attack on the observatory in Greenwich. Verloc uses his innocent brother-in-law Stevie to fulfill this task. A fatal decision not just for Stevie. »The Secret Agent« is a tough political crime story about the deceptions and self-deceptions of all involved – from the alleged and true terrorists to the police investigators, and the politicians who seek to instrumentalize the terror. With his relentless insight into private and ideological abysses Joseph Conrad also creates many comical moments, as the characters understand each other wrongly or not at all, be it because of ignorance, narrow-mindedness or naivety. Conrad himself considered »The Secret Agent« his best novel. Frank Castorf, whose brilliant production of O'Neill's »The Hairy Ape« is still running at the SchauSpielHaus, will now adapt this novel for the stage.