Der Stein (“The Stone”)

1934. A Jewish family has to sell its house in Dresden. It is a transaction that will not make anyone happy. The residents of the house also change as political systems come and go. The play traces intertwined lifelines through into the 1990s. It is centred around the mother and daughter of the family that purchased the house in dubious circumstances during the 1930s.
What are at stake are claims of various kinds, moral, legal and very much practical, the worldly desire for property and the characters’ failure to put the “past” behind them. We are confronted with guilt and repression, a long-cherished family legend falls apart. And again and again it is the women who have to cope with life while the men make themselves scarce. – With its bold chronological leaps and contradictory characters, Marius von Mayenburg’s new play explores the contemporary relevance of exemplary conflicts in recent German history.
(Verlag henschel SCHAUSPIEL)
Responses to the Play:
“The action jumps between six different years in 34 brief scenes […].
The scenes are assembled together in such a way that the last utterances of the scene that has just ended are repeated as the first utterances of the following scene set in another year. However, the spatial situation never changes: the same room with the same table in the same house. As a result, we perceive mysterious synchronicities that run across three German states. The room is enriched with history as the sequence of scenes unfolds. At the same time, the perspective with which history is depicted directs our attention at the theatrical process.
What makes ‘The Stone’ unique is the way it brings historical situations into the present through collage. The changes of time create two parallel spaces: the realistic space of the scene we are watching in its own time and the conceptual space of the house, the time layers of which materialise in the present of the performance.
[…] Just as the characters reinterpret their previous histories and the stone is transfigured into a symbol of resistance, home and homeland, the scene changes transform what has been said previously. We look into the characters’ past and their future simultaneously, and witness the genesis of their lies, which have become self-explanatory truths in the present day of 1993.”
(Bernd Stegemann, “Jahrbuch Theater Heute 2008”)
Technical Data:
Premiere 31 July 2008, Salzburg Festival/coproduction with the Schaubühne am Lehniner Platz, Berlin
Director Ingo Berk
Cast 5 F, 1 M
Rights Henschel SCHAUSPIEL Theaterverlag Berlin GmbH
Marienburger Str. 28
10405 Berlin
Telephone: +49 30 44318888
Fax: +49 30 44318877