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MAX BLACK, or, 62 Ways of Supporting the Head with a Hand

Directed by Heiner Goebbels

The Stanislavsky Electrotheatre

Renowned German director and composer Heiner Goebbels's riveting production focuses on American mathematician and philosopher Max Black, who studied the principles of fuzzy logic in the 1930s. He is the image of a scientist obsessed with the very process of thinking. In this performance, the actor (played masterfully by Alexander Panteleev), the lighting, sound and pyrotechnic effects work as partners and co-authors of what transpires on stage. Fire flashes and fragments from notebooks of great thinkers illustrate the inner life of a scientist, his manner of irradiations, his moments of despair. Traditional drama is abandoned revealing a world in which mechanisms, electricity and melodies tell us their stories  – thus becoming tools for creating polyphony.

Presented in Russian with English subtitles.

Photos: Olympia Orlova

Language: Russian
Translation: English subtitles
Running time: 1 h 35 min 
(No Intermission)

Heiner Goebbels: “I think Max Black is my most ‘electrical’ piece because it is the story of doing research in a laboratory. No matter what experiment he may do, all the sounds accompanying him are recorded live, played back and transformed. In the course of his research he creates his own soundtrack which, in its turn, creates the choreography and rhythm of his movements.”


We see a scientist’s laboratory and a store of pyrotechnic and acoustic miracles where it is not so much a plot that is acted out both comically and seriously, but more a notion such as “follow that thought.” (Vedomosti newspaper)


Goebbels’ production casts just one actor, impeccably selected by the director for this role. We also have the right, however, to talk about a true ensemble, where we must include at least the sound engineer, the pyrotechnics engineer, the lighting designer and numerous sophisticated props. (Screen and Stage newspaper)

About the Director: Composer and director Heiner Goebbels is widely considered to be one of the definitive voices of the contemporary music and theatre scene. His compositions for ensembles and large orchestras, published by Ricordi Berlin, are currently performed worldwide as are several of his theatre works and staged concerts, mostly produced by Theatre Vidy Lausanne, the Ensemble Modern and the Ruhrtriennale International Festival of the Arts. He has been awarded the prestigious Europe Theatre Prize, is a laureate of the German Critics' Prize and is a winner of the International Institute of Theatre's Prize, the Ibsen International Prize and the Carl Orff Prize among many others. His production of Max Black or 62 Ways of Supporting the Head with a Hand premiered at the Stanislavsky Electrotheatre in October 2015.

Creative Team

Text –Heiner Goebbels, based on notebooks of Paul Valery, Georg Christoph Lichtenberg, Ludwig Wittgenstein, and Max Black

Director, Composer – Heiner Goebbels

Costume Design – Jasmin Andreae, Anastasia Nefyodova

Light and Set Design – Klaus Gruenberg

Sound design – Willi Bopp, Alexander Mikhlin 

Live Sampling – Vladimir Gorlinsky


Alexander Panteleev

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