An excerpt of the announcement of the Stuttgart Theatre:

From the societies of pre-antiquity to the Middle Ages to civil protests of recent times, it was overwhelming debt that drove people into oppression and to revolt. David Graeber, who is often called a “mastermind” of the Occupy movement, has dedicated a book to this changeful history of excessive indebtedness and outrage, a book which breaks radically with the hypocrisy of stock-market capitalism. In a sweeping historical overview, it probes the roots and settings of our financial system: the silver mines of antiquity, the gold cellars of the Federal Reserve, the battlefields of the commodities wars and the mazes of the international currency bureaucracy. In all these settings, witnesses are quoted: bankers, warlords, Pharaohs, historians, civil rights activists, victims, offenders, profiteers. They all report on a system of debt economy which is about to collapse worldwide, faced with dwindling resources and increasing inequality.

David Graeber’s book Debt: The First 5000 Years appeared in New York in 2011 and also resonated widely in Germany. In Freiburg and Stuttgart, this “Non-Fiction Book of the Year” becomes the point of departure for a special coproduction: the director, performer and author Andreas Liebmann stages the material in a project involving acting students. On 400 pages, Graeber dissects unquestioned ideas about guilt and debt, showing what debt might also represent: the stuff holding together human coexistence. However, it also shows what debt has meant in the history of mankind: violence, dehumanisation, slavery. A combination of painstaking research with flamboyant statements. This large-scale masterstroke has epic aspects. That’s why it belongs on stage.

Debts, the first 5000 years

after the book from DAVID GRAEBER



Director: Andreas Liebmann

Stage/Costumes Mai Gogishvili

Dramaturgy Tilman Neuffer Bernd Isele

With: Julius Forster Daniel Friedl Lilith Häßle Alrun Herbing Marianne Helene Jordan Arlen Konietz,

Yana Robin la Baume Andreas Ricci


Coproduktion Schauspiel Stuttgart, Theater Freiburg,

HMT Stuttgart


All rights on the text: Klett-Cotta / Schäffersphilippen



You owe me your money

your life

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