New plays for children’s and youth theatre

Als wäre ich Papier (As If I Were Paper) by Daniela Dröscher

“Als wäre ich Papier” © Theater Speyer

Daniela Dröscher was born in Munich in 1977. She lives in Berlin, and writes prose, essays and plays. Since 2008, she has been studying scenic writing at the UniT in Graz and received a scholarship from the writers’ workshop Prosa 2008 of the literarisches colloquium berlin.
Her first novel Die Lichter des George Psalmanazar (The Lights of George Psalmanazar) was published by Berlin Verlag in August 2009, and was followed by her short story collection Gloria in autumn 2010. Works for the theatre followed, including Als wäre ich Papier (As If I Were Paper), a play for young people, and a new version of Madame Bovary, which she co-authored with Christian Weise.

In Als ware ich Papier, Daniela Dröscher uses poetic language to sketch out a fast, strong play for young people with a protagonist who keeps everyone around her in suspense. Liz wants things to last for ever. And she has the defiant energy to evade growing up.
Liz is the youngest of four siblings who spend their childhood together. Playing, exploring an old house, making pancakes, having a caravan where the washbasins come up to the adults’ knees. Sooner or later, the beds and washbasins are too small - the children have grown out of them. And Liz, the youngest, blusters that she does not want to grow up. She wants to stay 15 for ever. Or does she?
What happens one day by the lake? Liz went there by herself to go skating and saved a boy’s life. This boy later shoots a bullet through his head. He commits suicide. “Life is beautiful,” he writes at the end, “but the world is bad.” Liz internalises this statement and draws her own conclusions. She does not take away her sister Ruby’s boyfriend, as Ruby fears she will. But she does take all the other boys.
When Liz was even younger, she played Anna Louise and Anton at school. She is Anna Louise and her brother Vinc is her Anton. Liz is beautiful, she is bright, and seems to be as light as paper. Later, her mother says: “It should have been heaven, but it was hell.” Her father has left the family and nobody really noticed. Liz takes drugs, steals, needs money, and disappears night after night. Curfews don’t help. “What’s the matter with you?” asks Vinc. “Nothing,” says Liz, “I’m just young, that’s all.”
Als wäre ich Papier is a play for young people about a girl who looks for the limits, takes drugs and loves excitement. “They have no idea what it means to be young,” says Liz.

Someone take over the role of mother, someone refuses to join in, and someone gives love because the others are unable to do so. And someone disappears.
The play is a philosophical composition for four voices. Liz’s story is unfolded with great precision. Why does a person take drugs? Is it really unavoidable? What is help? When does one give, what is right, when is it too much? Because this play deals with big issues but conveys them easily, this is a significant and above all caring text. Every teenager will recognise himself or herself in it in some way because life’s existential questions are universally relevant, and because the drug problem is not presented as a cliché, but almost incidentally. Because the play combines tenderness and doubt.
Growing up means conflict, loneliness and lots and lots of questions. Als wäre ich Papier gives no clear-cut answers, but lightly, powerfully and precisely shows what’s what … and where things could go wrong if you do not watch out for a moment.
(Jury’s statement, Dutch-German children’s and youth theatre festival Kaas & Kappes 2011)

Winner of the "Wortschatz Rhineland-Palatinate” writers’ competition

Third prize of the Dutch-German children’s and youth theatre festival Kaas & Kappes
Technical data
Premiere 12 March 2011, Children’s and Youth Theatre Speyer
Director Matthias Folz
Number of roles 3 female, 1 male
Recommended age 14 +
Rights schaefersphilippen
Übersetzungen Theaterbibliothek