New plays for children’s and youth theatre

Die besseren Wälder (The Better Forests) by Martin Baltscheit

“Die besseren Wälder” ©

Martin Baltscheit was born in Düsseldorf on 16 September 1965. He studied communication design in Essen. From 1986 to 1992 he was a member of the Junges Ensemble Düsseldorf theatre. He began by drawing comics, and then devoted himself mainly to writing and illustrating books. He has also made many radio plays and cartoon films.

Martin Baltscheit’s play Die besseren Wälder is a modern fairy tale about topical questions of cultural identity. Ferdinand is a wolf that grows up among sheep. When his girlfriend is found dead, he comes under suspicion. Ferdinand escapes to the wolves. But the clever wolves would like to be “sheep”, with warm electric blankets, nice clothes and health insurance policies ... They make a virtue and a tradition of their hard lives. Eventually, Ferdinand finds friends: a goose that claims to be a fox and a bear that is a bee. In taking for granted that they are who they want to be, they have found individual answers to the question of identity. To sum up this story about growing up and coming of age: “It doesn’t matter where you come from, but rather where you are going and with whom.“

Having been rejected from the community, Ferdinand tries to join a pack of wolves and to live a wolf’s life. Yet he faces narrow-mindedness in both worlds. He cannot deny his identity, nor does he want to do so. He brings together different cultures, as contrary as they may seem. With graphic vividness and a sense of drama, Baltscheit has written a story about growing up that can be interpreted in multifaceted ways. The author skilfully cloaks questions about inclusion and exclusion in an animal parable, adding a strong douse of his blistering, serious humour. The German Youth Theatre Prize 2010 jury presented the award to Die besseren Wälder for its powerful and relevant story which, while based on convincing individual fates, points beyond a single individual and has no qualms about using exaggeration and comedy.
(Jury’s statement, German Youth Theatre Prize)

German Youth Theatre Prize 2010

Included in the pool of plays of Kaas & Kappes 2010
Technical data
Premiere 30 March 2012, GRIPS Theater Berlin
Director Robert Neumann
Number of roles 2 female, 3 male
Recommended for age 12 +
Rights Verlag für Kindertheater Weitendorf GmbH
Übersetzungen Theaterbibliothek