New plays for children’s and youth theatre

“was innen geht” (what’s up inside) by Anja Hilling

Anja Hilling, born in 1975, graduated in Theatre Studies and German Literature in Munich and Berlin and then went on to study Dramatic Writing at the University of Arts, Berlin, from 2002 to 2006. It was there that she wrote her first theatre play, which gained her an invitation to the Stückemarkt at the 2003 Berliner Theatertreffen where she was awarded the Dresdener Bank Young Dramatists’ Prize. In September 2007, her play “Sinn” (Sense), which Anja Hilling wrote for a coproduction between the Comédie de St. Etienne and the Thalia Theater Hamburg, was staged in both French and German. In October 2007, “Schwarzes Tier Traurigkeit” (Black Beast Sorrow), a work commissioned by the Schauspiel Hanover, premiered there in a production directed by Ingo Berk. Anja Hilling lives in Berlin.

Ovid is fourteen years old, he has a cat, three pairs of jeans and no chance. He has no brothers, no friends and since elementary school he has hardly slept a wink. After school there is no home, only a dump on the 14th floor. Ovid lives with his mother in the one-room apartment of a high-rise tenement, mould behind the furniture, the smell of sweat, fish and dry fodder in the upholstery. No one combs his hair, no one remembers his birthday.
Ovid’s hair is black and greasy like the Black Sea where his “begetter” comes from, a man who predicted that he and the mother were a doomed couple and left her after one night. Alone, the mother was still doomed, she’s now a smack head, a heroin addict. She sleeps with the man from the Youth Welfare Office who comes to check that everything is as it should be. She doesn’t notice that her son is being taken apart, he is disintegrating and disappearing.

Ovid’s classmates bully him, they blackmail and abuse him. They see Ovid as an animal. Ovid’s refuge is the forest in his mind, his salvation the metamorphoses. He transforms the skin in which he has to live, changes his form, his being, his power, turns himself into birds, trees, flowers, light and water. Out of the coldness, cruelty and lack of humanity in his life he creates an organic inner world, rich in dynamics, in which life becomes bearable and in the inescapable beat of his life still throbs against the stoic ignorance of his mother and the torment by his fellow-pupils. The transformations relieve him, without releasing him, and although the world spits in his face, inside him there rages a love, which finally explodes and transforms the world itself.
(Felix Bloch Erben)

“Where does it all come from - the power of language? The urgency of the protagonist’s emotions? – The ingenuity in describing emotions beyond commonplace feelings? And then the rhythm, the pressure, the zest, the stunning imagery conjured by words with which Anja Hilling propels her Ovid through all the blows of fate that make up his life. Where do they come from? And the power that allows the innermost forces, the diverse, contradictory, superimposed emotional currents to surface? (…) A young man and his borderline experience – also a borderline experience for contemporary theatre and its stages. A stunning text, a stunning description of a young boy’s life, stunning language, poetry, drama.”
(Statement by the Jury, Dutch-German Kaas & Kappes Prize for Young People’s Drama)

2013 Awarded the Dutch-German Kaas & Kappes Prize for Young People’s Drama
Technical Data
Premiere Free for premiere
Number of roles 2-8 females or males
Recommended age A play for young people
Rights Felix Bloch Erben GmbH & Co. KG
Verlag für Bühne, Film und Funk
Hardenbergstraße 6
10623 Berlin

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