New plays for children’s and youth theatre

“Jo im roten Kleid – Eine szenische Fantasie nach einem Bilderbuch von Jens Thiele” (Jo in a Red Dress – A Scenic Fantasy based on a picture book by Jens Thiele) by Heino Sellhorn, Nina Mattenklotz and Uwe Schade

© Theater Triebwerk“Jo in a Red Dress” © Theater Triebwerk

Theater Triebwerk was founded in 1995 as a narrative theatre group in Hamburg. The group is an association of self-employed theatre-makers who join forces to work on project-based concepts and productions. All members of Theater Triebwerk also work in other artistic connections as the group does not have its own performance venue, nor does it enjoy regular funding. Theater Triebwerk works as a collective and tries to realise new projects on the one hand with project funds from the Culture Department Hamburg, on the other hand by means of co-productions with other theatres. Theater Triebwerk is a member of ASSITEJ Germany and of KITSZ e.V. Hamburg.
(Theater Triebwerk)

This boy is about ten years old, and as if his life between the schoolyard and his home was not complicated enough - now there is something else and it changes everything: his body. Just a moment ago it was simply there, doing what it should – eating, drinking, learning, skateboarding, kicking a football, but suddenly (when exactly did that happen?) this body wants something, something of its very own, so it seems. He now feels uncomfortable playing football, instead he prefers looking at himself in the mirror. Is that already embarrassing for a boy? Not yet, for sure. But what if this body now also wants to feel the mother’s red dress on it? Embarrassing? Or not?
Questions that are followed by more questions, all a man’s life long. What is masculine? How much masculinity does a man need to be classed as a man? Does he really need that? Is this “masculinity” perhaps just a word from the perfume commercials?

The group Heino N. Schade was inspired by Jens Thiele’s picture book of the same name to create their own images, texts and dramaturgical solutions. To be gay or not to be gay, that is here not the question. Not the all-important question, in any case. The two musicians and actors check attitudes to life. Who loves who – no matter how difficult the first answer may be, it doesn’t solve our problems once and for all, it gets more difficult: How do I behave to myself and to the others. How fair do I have to be, even to my enemies? What am I planning to do with myself in this life? May I be afraid without being a coward? Persistent questions, no matter whether one is female or male, only ten or already an adult. With verve and humour, however, Schade and Sellhorn never generalise or proselytise. The topic is too vast to be restricted to one single story or message; they retain its diversity with the means of narrative theatre and collage, without lecturing or lapsing into scenic haphazardness. Bass and cello, dialogue, harlequinade, direct addressing of the audience and even Grönemeyer as a ballad singer– Uwe Schade and Heino Sellhorn have mastered many means of being difficult in a light-hearted way.
(Oliver Bukowski, Mülheim, May 2013)

2013 Nominated for the Mülheim Children’s Play Prize
Technical Data
Premiere 18.10.2012 Theater Triebwerk Hamburg/ Hanover
Director Nina Mattenklotz
Number of roles 2 musicians/ performers
Recommended age 10+
Rights Peter Hammer Verlag, Wuppertal
Postfach 20 09 63
42209 Wuppertal

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