New plays for children’s and youth theatre

“Schlafen Fische?” (Do Fish Sleep?) by Jens Raschke

© Olaf Struck„Schlafen Fische?“ © Olaf Struck

Jens Raschke was born in 1970. After reading Nordic literature and history, he worked as a dramaturge at the Schauspielhaus Kiel, the Theater am Neumarkt in Zürich, the Folkwang University in Essen and at other theatres. Since 2003, he has been a member of the management team of the Thespis International Monodrama Festival in Kiel. Since 2007, he has been working continually as a writer, dramaturge and director for the Theater im Werftpark, the children’s and youth theatre of the Theater Kiel.
(Mülheim Theatre Festival)

Jette was ten last Monday. Ten. “That is a one with a zero after it,“ says Jette. Jette’s dad says you call that “double digits”. It’s a strange feeling, somehow, to be double-digit, thinks Jette. “There are even people who are triple-digit. A hundred years old. And even more! Like those giant tortoises at the zoo.“ Jette’s brother Emil only lived to be six. That’s just single-digit. Jette tells us what it was like when Emil fell ill and suddenly wasn’t there anymore. She remembers the times before that, happy family holidays, the usual teasing between siblings and all the questions she asked her parents to which they never had an answer. Can blind worms sneeze? Why is the sun so hot? And what is 'dying’? What happens to us when we are 'dead’? Is death really the 'big brother of sleep’? And anyway, do fish sleep too? And will the angry black clouds that Jette has been painting for a year lighten up one day? Do they have to? Jens Raschke has written an undogmatic, sometimes light-hearted and sometimes sad play for one performer about one of the last taboo subjects of our day - a child experiencing and coming to terms with death. The play addresses children and adults, siblings and parents, pupils and teachers. It is not about answers, but about the way we deal with life’s small, great and ultimate questions.
(Theater im Werftpark, Kiel)

In all its seriousness, “Schlafen Fische?” is also intended to have its light aspects. And much more than telling us about the death of the little boy, it tells of his big sister’s grief.
(Kieler Nachrichten, 25.01.2012)

To write a stage play for children about a child’s death is a delicate business. Jens Raschke has made a very good job of this difficult task. With sensitivity and a sense of proportion, he addresses the big, ultimate questions surrounding the taboo subject of death in his play for one performer “Schlafen Fische?” [...] The changes of mood, often coinciding with changes of roles, are effective and convincing. Minimal props ensure additional dynamism in this monologue about death that is so full of life.
(Kieler Nachrichten, 31.01.2012)

2012 Nomination for the German Children’s Theatre Prize

2012 Awarded the Mülheim Children’s Play Prize
Technical Data
Premiere 29.01.2012, Theater im Werftpark, Kiel
Director Jens Raschke
Number of roles 1 female
Recommended age 10 +
Rights Theater Stück Verlag
Mainzer Str. 5
80804 München


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