New plays for children’s and youth theatre

Undine, die kleine Meerjungfrau (Undine, the Little Mermaid) after H.C. Andersen and Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué by Franziska Steiof

“Undine, die kleine Meerjungfrau” © 2010 Junges Schauspielhaus Düsseldorf

Franziska Steiof was born in 1962 and has worked as a freelance director, playwright and personal trainer for management consultancy firms since 1992. She has staged productions for theatres including the Städtische Bühnen Kiel, GRIPS Theater Berlin, Landestheater Schleswig, Staatstheater Oldenburg, Kampnagel Hamburg, Moks am Bremer Theater, Theater Triebwerk, Schauspiel Hannover and Junges Schauspielhaus Düsseldorf. Franziska Steiof is a co-founder of the independent group DeichArt , lectures at the Federal Academy of Cultural Education in Wolfenbüttel and is a drama group trainer.

The story of the meeting of two mutually unfamiliar worlds, the world of the sea and the human world, and the longing for the unknown associated with it, is part of a timeless and universal heritage of sagas and fairy tales. Franziska Steiof was commissioned to dramatise this theme by the Junges Schauspielhaus. In so doing, she wove together motifs from the two most beautiful adaptations of this material.
Undine, the sea king’s daughter, takes the greatest pleasure in hearing stories of the distant foreign world of human beings. After saving the life of young Prince Hans, she chooses a dangerous path to win his love - she enters the world of human beings. At the prince’s castle, she becomes acquainted with those strange two-legged creatures and is bewildered at first by their strange rules. But her love is put to a hard test when the prince is to marry another woman.
(Verband deutscher Bühnen- und Medienverlage – Association of German Stage and Media Publishers)

In her powerful reworking of Andersen’s fairy tale, the author succeeds in using the Undine myth to tell an unusual story of emancipation. Against her father’s will and against the law, Undine leaves the underwater world and is a stranger in the new world with its different rules and habits. Her love for the prince whom she saved is just a game for him. But Undine goes her own way and asks to have her heart back so she can be transformed into a sylph. This is also a metaphorical presentation of an aspect of children’s development. The time comes when they too have to loosen their ties and go out into the world. In Franziska Steiof’s stage version of the story, which is both funny and melancholy, she succeeds in implicitly encouraging children to let themselves in for something new and to see the future’s uncertainties as an opportunity.
(Jury’s statement, German Children’s Theatre Prize)

Nominated for the KinderStückePreis 2010

Nominated for the German Children’s Theatre Prize 2010
Technical data
Uraufführung 8 February 2010, Junges Schauspielhaus Düsseldorf
Director Nora Bussenius
Number of roles 3 female, 3 male
Recommended for age 6 +
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