Old Multscher fell asleep at the wheel of his car and ran Ringo over. Since then Ringo has been in a wheelchair, won't leave his apartment, and has to rely on his girlfriend Betsi to nurse him.
He doesn't like the fact that Betsi has temporarily taken in her sister Friderike, who has been found unconscious at the side of the motorway. Friderike is pregnant and keeps threatening to kill herself. Petrik, her husband, has previously cared little for her, but now he comes to Betsi's flat with suspect offers of reconciliation. Multscher, who cannot bear the burden of his guilt, has also found his way there.
On a hot summer's day all five get caught up in a grim fight about and with each other. Demands for deliverance are made, caring becomes clinging. Friderike swallows pills and survives. The paralysed Ringo tries to escape. They are all going to pieces and need each other to survive.

Responses to the Play

In Marius von Mayenburg's new play five people are searching for their lives and not one of them can be alone. Mutual parasites – the healthy ones need the sick ones just as much as the other way around – who are not really in a position to help each other at all. Mayenburg shows the symbiotic relationship between hate and love. Each one feeds off the other in order to survive. Two mutually dependent couples locked in dispute, and amongst them wanders Multscher, an old man, like some sort of angel of death.
(Hartmut Krug in "Tagesspiegel", 20 May 2001)

Supermarket beings all, plastic-bag individuals, blown through life with nothing better to do than get tangled up in each other. Beings devoid of mystery in a world devoid of spirituality, cut-out figures like those paper dolls you can always dress in new clothes, fixing them on with paper tabs (...) What makes the repugnance in Mayenburg's characters so disturbing is the fact that the author lacks an outlet for this sense of disgust at the world. Schwab uses explosive language, Kroetz has Bavaria, Bernhard has Austria: Mayenburg's only option is to locate this disgust within individuals. And this is what makes him so existential.
(Georg Diez in the "Süddeutsche Zeitung", 20 May 2001)

Technical Details

Premiere Deutsches Schauspielhaus Hamburg, May 2000
Director Thomas Ostermeier
Cast 2f, 3m, 1
Rights henschel SCHAUSPIEL Theater-Verlag Berlin GmbH
Marienburger Straße 28
10405 Berlin
Tel: 030/4431-8888, Fax: 030/4431-8877
Translations Theatre Library