Roland Schimmelpfennig

Der goldene Drache (The Golden Dragon)

The play centres around The Golden Dragon, a Chinese-Vietnamese-Thai restaurant that does a good trade selling local residents its Asian fast food to take away as well.
It is here, between hissing gas cookers in the cramped kitchen, that a young Chinese man without a residence permit has an incisor that is tormenting him pulled out with a wrench. This tooth accidentally lands in the Thai soup, in which it finds its way into the mouth of a stewardess, one of the restaurant's regulars.
And then someone tells the story of the hungry cricket who becomes the victim of the businesslike ant one winter. Who is ill-treated the whole dark winter long by the other ants without noticing it has actually been spring for some time.
While the fate of the little Asian girl who runs into the arms of the corner shop owner's drunken mate just as she is leaving her tiny, dark room seems painfully familiar. He only wants to taste a little of her foreignness just this once. Unfortunately, the way he goes about it is rather careless. Something so delicate easily gets broken. And when the young Chinese man bleeds to death after the operation with the wrench, he is wrapped up in a large dragon carpet and thrown into the river. From there, he finally floats home, to China. Unfortunately, he is dead and has not brought his sister back with him, although he had said it was her he was going abroad to find.

Roland Schimmelpfennig looks at the things that happen in and around the Golden Dragon from the most varied perspectives. Each pattern of behaviour is given new nuances by an ingenious twist: men are played by women, women by men, young characters by old actors and old characters by young actors. The results are poetic, brutal, mysterious and touching.
(Fischerverlag, Theater und Medien)


'How do you tell stories about illegal immigrants' lack of rights: about people who cannot go to the dentist when they suffer from agonising toothache, people who cannot go to the police when they are forced into prostitution or abused by a pimp, people who get loved to death? How do you write about the parallel world of migrants who, condemned to the catacombs of prosperity, provide for the needs of our lower bodies, as kitchen coolies or sex slaves? And how do you depict all this without adding too much social kitsch to the theatrical pot (a pot full of fragrant Asian soup at the Chinese takeaway where Roland Schimmelpfennig's The Golden Dragon is set)?
Schimmelpfennig avoids the risks inherent in a theatre of outrage by cooling down his dramaturgy in epic style, adding fairytale ingredients and chopping up the scenes like the little morsels on a sushi tray.'
(Christopher Schmidt, 2010 Berlin Theatertreffen programme)


'In The Golden Dragon, Schimmelpfennig applies his short-cut dramaturgy to the genre of social drama – with the pleasing consequence that he succeeds in dragging it out of the musty attic of realism, but never defuses it, in spite of all the play's alienation and abstraction.
In brief, bitterly comic episodes, Schimmelpfennig tells stories about the dark sides of our globalised world, about exploitation, greed, illegality and brutality – about how closely we are all linked together in the short-circuited modernity we inhabit, even if the fate of some anonymous Asian kitchen help seems nothing to do with us. Until one of his hairs lands in our soup, or possibly even his tooth…'
(Christine Dössel, 2010 Mülheim Theatertage)

Technical data:

World premiere 5 September 2009, Burgtheater (Akademietheater), Vienna
Director Roland Schimmelpfennig
German premiere 19 March 2010, Theater Ingolstadt
Director Alexander Schilling
Cast 2 F, 3 M
Rights S. Fischer Verlag GmbH
Theater & Medien
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60596 Frankfurt am Main
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Mail Symboltheater@fischerverlage.de
www.fischertheater.de
Translations Theatre Library