Hamburg (dpa) - The culture of the Western world is in the eyes of the French author Michel Houellebecq rapidly down the stream. For his provocative Complete Decline stories, the writer earns much praise and honor - but also harsh criticism.

In the bestselling novel "Submission", for example, Houellebecq black-satirically draws attention to the imminent Islamization of France. And the Deutsches Schauspielhaus Hamburg achieved a spectacular success with a brilliant three-hour solo by actor Edgar Selge, staged by artistic director Karin Beier, for which the theater prize "Der Faust" was presented.

On Friday evening, the season 2019/20 at the Schauspielhaus began with the world premiere of Houellebecq's latest novel "Serotonin". The version, which has a lot of ambition, is written by the author and director Falk Richter. He presents a garishly colorful show with a lot of rock music from The Doors to Nirwana (stage: Katrin Hoffmann, music: Matthias Grübel). The range of topics begins with the lost and indebtedness of the older, white, heterosexual man. It ends with the bloody uprising of desperate dairy farmers against the agricultural policy of the EU and the destruction of nature.

Four actors give the protagonist and narrator Florent - Jan-Peter Kampwirth, Carlo Ljubek, Tilman Strauss and Samuel Weiss. Like Houellebecq in real life, he is a graduate agricultural engineer. And he is full of frustration and neurosis. The use of an antidepressant, which is supposed to increase its serotonin level - that of the "happiness hormone" - has unfortunately led to the disturbance of libido and potency. Thus, the almost three-hour evening gets richly illustrated, enriched with pithy retro sound narrative heaped defeats in several fields of his life.

"I've never been anything but an insubstantial sissy," is one of Florent's core cognitions. The evening begins after the unemployed person at a gas station in Spain has failed again with a flirtation attempt. This is followed by his memories of botched and by him so-called Fick relationships with women moving from feminism, such as a young Japanese woman and an administrative trainee. At the same time, Romandramatisation is more narrative than dramatic. Richter is countering with grotesquely overarching stage material, with his actors, including Sandra Gerling and Josefine Israel, permanently changing roles.

Since the ex-girlfriend and young actress Claire is on the hunt for jobs ever provided with false giant back and oversized doll's head. At other times amoebas flicker across video screens. If the first part of the evening is about the messed-up inner nature of modern humans, then the second part takes up large-scale factory farming, forced land sales to foreign investors and dying of the farm because of miserable milk prices. The stage design works here with realistic elements such as rows of cereals. Aymeric, Florent's old-school friend and landlord, on the other hand, seeks to become a martyr.

And the protagonist confesses in the monkey costume his greatest sin in a society that is driven by the illusion of freedom: "I had developed no kindness." In the meantime, he even recognizes "the standpoint of Christ" - he was angry about the Hardening of the heart ».

German playhouse