Albert Ostermaier

Death Valley Junction

A couple, Valery and Desmond, meet in the desert at various sites including a place called Dante's View. They experience what can only be described as surreal stories, both with each other and in their meetings with other people – another couple on a motorbike, a drug addict, a man by a pool – all of which lead to the same conclusion: Desmond, for reasons which are not explained, has to die. (...) Everything he experiences is a kind of fata morgana, a state of intoxication and a dream at the same time. There remains only the presentiment of awakening, but actual awakening exists no more.
(Christel Weiler in "Stückwerk 3", Berlin 2001)

Responses to the Play

In his play "Death Valley", set in the American salt flats of Badwater, Ostermaier creates a film for the theatre: short scenes, harsh cuts. Cut and black. He shows people searching for their true self, for their past and their future. The paths they follow are convoluted. They fall from reality into dream. They continue to act even when the acting is long over. They search for their guilt, want to understand what is happening to them, with them, yet they never get wise to themselves.
Ostermaier‘s journey leads into the inferno of identity, where everything is extinguished, blurred, false. He sends his characters (...) into deceptive fictions and back-to-front realities. What matters to Ostermaier is the desire to shape one's own life in a society where the only force of motion is the characters' inability to communicate. They are "on the road” to themselves – yet they never arrive.
(C. Bernd Sucher in the "Süddeutsche Zeitung", 22 February 2000)

Technical Details

Premiere Deutsches Schauspielhaus Hamburg, February 2000
Director Nicolas Stemann
Cast 2 f, 6 m, basic set
Rights Suhrkamp TheaterVerlag
Lindenstr. 29 - 35
60325 Frankfurt /Main
Tel. 069/75601-701, Fax 069/75601-711
Translations Theatre Library
Play published Theater heute 4 / 00, S. 62 - 69