Philipp Löhle

Der Wind macht das Fähnchen
(It is the Wind that Makes the Flag)

This story about a totally normal family begins in nineteen hundred and this-or-that, when the world was still in order. A father, a mother, a son and a daughter smile regularly into the camera for snapshots at the breakfast table or on holiday in Italy, while time rushes past in fast-forward. Of course, there are soon hints of the first conflicts, and each one keeps his or her little secrets, as is the way with people like Mr and Mrs Average and the little Averages, after all. However, there is no avoiding the first big row after the father resigns from the job he believes is beneath him and sets up a Web business, totally overestimating his ability to make money out of the new-fangled technology of the Internet. Crisis and separation are followed by reunification and new family portraits in apparent harmony. Yet there is no way of papering over the cracks any longer. At the latest after the Internet bubble has burst – taking the father’s new job with it at the same time –, the harmonic petit bourgeois idyll is lost. By the time we arrive in the present day, two thousand and something, all that is left of the family spirit is vicious infighting.
It is no coincidence that the ups and downs in Philipp Löhle’s ‘nuclear family play’ are reminiscent of the rises and falls in share prices. The ‘germ cell of society’ is redefined as its smallest economic unit – with consequences that are as amusing as they are fatal for the family.
(Rowohlt Theaterverlag)

Responses to the Play:

‘This drama is a comedy, a satire, a tragedy, a chamber piece. A difficult, tangled bit of Germany. At the end, the son becomes a policeman and forces the family down on their knees. Humiliation, disappointed love, dashed hopes. “My Nauru”, the father calls his family, which makes him the “ruler over a pinhead-sized dot in the middle of blue nothing”.
Yes, a good piece of theatre and, as ever with Löhle’s work, a phenomenological study conducted with enormous precision and, at the same time, a satirical caricature of reality.’
(Ulrich Seidler, Dirk Pilz and Doris Meierhenrich, Berliner Zeitung, 6 June 2012)

‘Löhle’s text is multilayered, and it is enjoyable to follow him when he is in the mood for exploration. He examines three “circles/crises”: the first is West Germany on the Rhine, the second is the united land, the third is a present and future in which nothing is certain. Below the surface of society, the family is sprouting new growth, and its womb is terribly fertile. People want happiness and get photographs. Eventually, the son/policeman arrests his parents, impoverished failures devoid of all conscience who want to rob their own daughter. She has made her money with an Internet fashion company, although she admittedly did this illicitly – without registering the business or declaring her earnings –, so the son arrests her as well in a reprise of their childhood rivalry at a higher level.
[…] A German story. Alexander Mitscherlich’s “fatherless society” of the early Federal Republic was marked by both physical absence and psychological absence on the part of fathers who were away from home at work for long hours, but failed to engage mentally or emotionally when they returned, fathers who were afraid of their own wives and hardly knew what their children were really like. At the end, the son plucks up the courage to act like a man, representing the paternal principle, society, the superego. […] Finally, the son says the words his father spoke at the outset. “My family. All my pride.” The children see that the community needs rules, but they do not understand them any more than their parents do.’
(Michael Opielka, Nachtkritik, 20 January 2012)

Technical Data

Premiere 20 January 2012, Theater Bonn
Director Dominic Friedel
Cast 2 female, 2 male
Rights Rowohlt Theaterverlag
Hamburger Str. 17
21465 Reinbek
Postfach 1349
21453 Reinbek
Теl.: 040-7272270
Fax: 040-7272276
Translations Theatre Library