The Life of Vernon Subutex 1

The Life o
f Vernon Subutex 1

by Virginie Despentes / Directed by Thomas Ostermeier / In an adaptation by Florian Borchmeyer, Bettina Ehrlich and Thomas Ostermeier / Translated from the French by Claudia Steinitz


Thomas Ostermeier

Set and Costume Design

Nina Wetzel


Sébastien Dupouey


Nils Ostendorf


Bettina Ehrlich

Lighting Design

Erich Schneider


Joachim Meyerhoff (Vernon Subutex)
Julia Schubert (Emilie, Audrey, Gaëlle)
Holger Bülow (Xavier Fardin)
Stephanie Eidt (Sylvie, Die Hyäne)
Axel Wandtke (Laurent Dopalet)
Ruth Rosenfeld (Pamela Kant)
Henri Maximilian Jakobs (Daniel)
Bastian Reiber (Kiko)
Mano Thiravong (Marcia)
Hêvîn Tekin (Aïcha, Anaïs)
Thomas Bading (Patrice)

Blade AliMBaye (Alexandre Bleach im Video)

Henri Maximilian Jakobs, Ruth Rosenfeld, Taylor Savvy and Thomas Witte (Musicians)

It’s going remarkably badly for Vernon Subutex. As the owner of one of the best-known record shops in Paris, his livelihood has suffered in the era of digital downloads and streaming services. Even worse: he has lost his raison d’etre. A dinosaur from the analogue era, he has spent years hiding away in his flat with crates of beer and TV series, and eventually ends up on the street.  

Vernon, a sleazy playboy played brilliantly by Joachim Meyerhoff, begins a sofa-surfing odyssey among old friends, and starts a journey into the gulfs of a deeply uncertain society, shaped by division, inequality and social neglect.


Be it an early punk, a now “privileged git”, a liberal Muslim with a fundamentalist daughter or a feminist ex-porn star – using abrupt changes of perspective, French author and film maker Virginie Despentes creates a dazzling panorama of different social layers, gender identities and political orientations. The first part of her Vernon Subutex trilogy is simultaneously a superb ride through the issues of our time and a fascinating social panorama.


Guest Performance Schaubühne am Lehniner Platz, Berlin

Co-production with the Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb

In German with English Surtitles



Duration 4.15h, with intermission

4th and 5th February 2022, Thalia Theater



The performance on 5th February will be followed by a Q&A with the ensemble, chaired by Iris Radisch (DIE ZEIT)




Press review

“A four plus hour odyssey into the heart of darkness of a society that is beginning to erode at every turn.“
- Tagesspiegel, 5th June 2021

“A wonderful Joachim Meyerhoff in the title role of Virgine Despentes’ novel.“
- Berliner Morgenpost, 6 June 2021

“One feels a little anxious as one enters the new era and wonders what it will bring. Theatre can do no more than that.“
- Welt, 6 June 2021


Funded by
Foto: Thomas Aurin / Zeichnung: Stefan MarxFoto: Thomas AurinFoto: Thomas AurinFoto: Thomas AurinFoto: Thomas AurinFoto: Thomas Aurin