Juliane Kann

Bleib mein schlagendes Herz (i.e. “Stay My Beating Heart”)

It must be the second phase of adolescence the protagonists are living through in Stay My Beating Heart. There are nine of them in total, all aged between 20 and 30, and they have not been teenagers for some time now, yet they still seem directionless and often amazingly despondent and resigned. Who am I? Who with? Alone, together? And where can you go when the Western world or your parents are supposedly giving you every opportunity.

However, there are some of the protagonists for whom the future is no longer wide open and full of possibilities. Lucy is suffering from cancer and a thousand other diseases, in addition to which she is chained to an oxygen bottle, which limits her freedom of movement. Danka is having to get married, but for reasons that are more pragmatic than romantic: She needs a residence permit. A brooding, highly sensitive generation that circles around its sense of the self and has lost the naivety of earlier generations.
The play is, of course, about love, about survival, about the fact that their lives surely ought to be starting at last. After all, they could easily last another 50 years.
People muddle through, as a switchboard operator, a model, a prostitute. They are pragmatic, and most do not believe in any great utopia. But their yearning won't go away – even if it is only a yearning not to be alone any longer. So they attempt to decode the people they talk to: oversensitive boys and supposedly tough girls who like to use attack as a form of defence. Understanding others in order to understand themselves.
A world of great opportunities is simultaneously a world of eternal adolescence. So what should they do with their lives, or the rest of their lives, when they have still not even started properly? When the search for their own identities overwhelms them, they can always search for someone else for the first time, another human being to be with – and the hope that maybe this will be enough is the last thing to die...
(Verlag schaefersphilippen)

Responses to the play:

'She is known for her rather gentle tones and pieces like Birds that cast bright shafts of light onto the lives of modern people accustomed to prosperity who do not really know whom they should despise more: themselves or their parents. Juliane Kann came to wider notice when her play Bloody Homeland was presented at the Berlin Theatertreffen Stückemarkt.
Her more recent dramatic texts have featured characters who seem lightly sketched in. This is certainly true of Julischka, Tilmann, Lucy, Larissa and all the others who stew in the heat like baking plums in Stay My Beating Heart. Finally getting in touch with their own selves would be a special experience for these frantically busy, yet lonely, characters – characters who force directors to practice the art of reading between the lines.'
(Jürgen Berger)

'She always succeeds in creating dense, strange atmospheres, as well as conjuring up multidimensional characters with apparently superficial exchanges of words. They may not give away much about themselves, but we have no doubt there is more to them than meets the eye, even if this "more" is supposed to be produced by the theatregoer's own imagination.'
(Christiane Kühl, Stückwerk 5, Theater der Zeit)

Technical data:

Premiere 13 March 2010, Schauspiel Frankfurt
Director Daniela Löffner
Cast Variable
Rights Verlag schaefersphilippen
Translations Theatre Library