Already closed | 2h 0m | Brooklyn

History of Violence

From 29 member  reviews
Members say: Intense, Great acting, Ambitious, Great staging, Thought-provoking

About the show

Director Thomas Ostermeier and Schaubühne Berlin return to St. Ann’s Warehouse with Édouard Louis’ searing autobiographical novel.  More…

From the show:

Through the fractured recall of Édouard, his sister, police, and doctors, the “brave and ambitious” (The Guardian) History of Violence reconstructs the trauma of a desire-filled encounter turned violent. A layered retelling that is both devastating and funny, the production uncovers deeply rooted societal racism, homophobia, and rage unbridled, until all that remains is a nuanced, closely guarded memory.

2h 0m | Already closed | St Ann's Warehouse (Brooklyn)

Member Reviews (29)


Intense, Great acting, Ambitious, Great staging, Thought-provoking
Avg Score

Innovative staging, Intense, Ambitious, Absorbing

See it if ur open to an honest & personal lesson about trust, lust, insecurity, suspicion, prejudice & forgiveness centered around a harrowing crime.

Don't see it if you'll be triggered by frank depictions of sexual violence; you're uncomfortable with male nudity; you don't want to read supertitles.

Also Although not requisite, I do highly recommend either seeing the produc... Read more Read less

Forensic, Clinical, Intermittently powerful, Handsome

See it if you’re interested in multi-media staging possibilities at the end of the 2nd decade of the 21st century.

Don't see it if you’re looking for a play: Though this piece often dips into drama, it’s proudly post-dramatic.

Also Interested in contemporary staging possibilities? You’ll want to see “... Read more Read less

Thought-provoking, Riveting, Great staging, Ambitious, Absorbing

See it if you're a fan of Edouard Louis, like plays about gay men, interested in recovery after a horrible trauma & in modern German theater,

Don't see it if Upset by sexual trauma, male nudity, gay issues, not a fan of supertitles or use of video in plays, only like plays in English

Experimental, Intense, Edgy, Great acting, Ambitious

See it if Male perspective as victim of assault and three actors in multiple roles absorbing its aftermath.In German with supertitles,video-cam,beats.

Don't see it if Missed is a deeper dive:Assault is power and aggression.With the added burden of racial tension and assumption.More topic needed in its 2hrs

Harrowing, Thought-provoking, Riveting, Intense, Intimate

See it if Experimental theater highlighting social conflicts in racism/ homosexuality/education/class; superb acting, staging & use of video

Don't see it if Nudity, rape, violence and/or homosexuality are sensitive subjects for you; use of herbal cigarettes can be overpowering at times.

Also Excellent use of drums amplifies the already existing tension. It take... Read more Read less

Raunchy, Intense, Excruciating, Edgy, Ambitious

See it if you enjoy an interpreted piece with subtitles depicting white privelege gayness vs third world gayness

Don't see it if subtitles displayed on the screen with multiple people talking confuses you ( it did me) and if gay themes are of no interest to you

Thought-provoking, Quirky, Great acting, Intelligent, Intense

See it if you like experimental, edgy theater that uses new techniques to powerfully tell a story.

Don't see it if you object to watching staged acts of violence. This is an intense show


See it if Layered intersections of sex, class, family relationships, and loneliness harshly yet beautifully rendered with multimedia experience.

Don't see it if Explicit guns, rape, attempted murder are triggering. French setting in German with English supertitles is a little confusing.

Also Diversity: multiple narratives of the gay man of poorer upbringing, wo... Read more Read less

Great acting, Great staging, Riveting, Relevant, Intelligent

See it if In the style of Ivo van Hove. Immersive and challenging. Generous and brave acting.

Don't see it if In German,

Resonant, Profound, Great acting, Ambitious, Absorbing

See it if You love theater, with it’s spotlight on topical subjects, with unflinching recoil from topical subjects, and themes that need explored.

Don't see it if You have issues with nudity, sexual violence, or theater in its raw form—this is a tough visual to experience, but worthy if you’re able.

Slow, Confusing

See it if This is, at best, a mediocre production of the writer's autobiography. Do you we need music, video and dancing in a PLAY. Not really.

Don't see it if The actors are quite compelling. The nudity, at times, unnecessary. Editing could help improve this German language production.

Thought-provoking, Intense, Great staging, Ambitious

See it if you are interested in seeing how Edouard Louis's novel can be dramatized with intensity and intimacy. This multimedia experience was unique.

Don't see it if you are easily unset by brutal sexual assault on stage as well as moral and political ambiguity, not a very black and white world shown.

Quirky, Great staging, Great acting, Edgy, Ambitious

See it if you want something different, you like German theater

Don't see it if you don't like to be challenged at the theater, you don't go to the theater to read subtitles (it's in German)

Also A unique play in German that touches on how we view violence.

Painful, Intense, Great acting, Riveting, Resonant

See it if A dramatization of how we so easily fall into conflict along lines of race, gender orientation, emigration status, and class. Honest.

Don't see it if This a play that leaves little to the imagination. Multiple trigger warnings. A male-on-male rape explicitly portrayed.

Relevant, Great writing, Great staging, Great acting

See it if you enjoy foreign language theatre that explores violent events and the struggle to deal with the aftermath.

Don't see it if you don't like plays with violence and nudity and a non-linear structure.

Thought-provoking, Great acting, Ambitious

See it if you want an intense theatrical experience. It will make you squirm. Unique. Makes you think about perspective vs. experience. Great acting.

Don't see it if you are uncomfortable with violence, a character being attacked. This is not fun and games. Much could be trimmed a bit. Glad I saw it.

Riveting, Relevant, Intense, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if you like complex, layered, dark, non-linear, graphic, powerful dramas ... performed in german with supertitles.

Don't see it if you don't want to read subtitles; you try to avoid upsetting stories; you've already seen your share of naked men on stage this year.

Also History of Violence is well worth the effort it requires to watch. thi... Read more Read less

Resonant, Masterful, Enchanting, Clever, Absorbing

See it if you like brilliant and layered storytelling: timelines intercepting each other, videography, movement, live percussion

Don't see it if you don't like to see rape being depicted on stage

Also Love the perspective of "you remember by trying to forget", meaning on... Read more Read less

Intelligent, Intense, Relevant

See it if You want to see a modern theater view of homophobic violence

Don't see it if You do not like theater mixed with video and cell phone, you are homophobic , or easily squeamish

Riveting, Overrated, Indulgent, Great staging, Edgy

See it if You want to see a multimedia exploration of how we navigate our sexualities, race, class, and families. Ambitious and psychologically heavy.

Don't see it if You were expecting more. It was more than a little self-indulgent and indicative of privilege despite it desperately not wanting to be.

Resonant, Indulgent, Great staging, Ambitious

See it if You enjoy theatre that takes risks and attempts to break boundaries and tell stories in original ways. You enjoy foreign theatre

Don't see it if You can't stand to read subtitle for an entire 2 hour production with no intermission. You can't take explicit, violent depictions.

Intense, Relevant, Resonant, Thought-provoking

See it if You like creative use of video as part of the production.

Don't see it if You can't watch violence. Needless to say I stayed in well lit areas on my bike ride home.

Masterful, Great staging, Great acting, Exquisite, Absorbing

See it if you like flawless execution from master director. Love to see the theatre philosophy in action on stage. Can deal with a bit of un-comfort.

Don't see it if you may be triggered by sexual assault. Can't handle subtitles on stage ( but, if there is a time to try it, this is it - well integrated).

During previews
Moving, Impressionistic, Punishing

See it if you are interested in experiencing foreign culture via theatre. If you’re interested in pure theatre as artistic expression.

Don't see it if you are particularly sensitive and/or triggered by hyper realistic depictions of sexual violence.

Also I wept throughout this piece, sometimes inexplicably. The acting acros... Read more Read less

During previews
Thought-provoking, Great staging, Great acting, Beautiful, Stunning

See it if powerfully portrayed true story of an act of violence between gay men; gorgeous staging; astonishing acting; beautifully realized

Don't see it if you're triggered by rape, although very well foreshadowed; can't do cigarette smoke or flashing lights (not strobe); hate subtitles (German)

Also The first ten minutes or so are tough after a long day looking at the ... Read more Read less

November 18th, 2019
"Fleeing Home, but Not Homophobia: Two plays based on the autobiographical novels of Édouard Louis put the problem of violence against gay men in a larger social context."
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November 18th, 2019
4/5 Stars: "Adapted from Édouard Louis's autobiographical novel, History of Violence tells a painful personal narrative, revisiting the scene of a crime and parsing the trauma it caused. As directed by the visionary German theater-maker Thomas Ostermeier, it is a brutal and bracingly intimate act...
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November 19th, 2019
"What Makes the Man: Édouard Louis’s 'History of Violence' and 'The End of Eddy'"
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November 19th, 2019
"'History of Violence' is a horror story, but a contemplative one; it features one of the most disturbing acts I have ever seen onstage, out of which it teases a multiplicity of meanings. It is a difficult, demanding, and extraordinary piece of theatre."
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Cast & Creatives (4)