Nis-Momme Stockmann

Kein Schiff wird kommen (No Ship Will Come)

A young author has been commissioned to write a play about the collapse of the GDR. But he was a child when the Wall came down and grew up a long way from Berlin: on the North Sea island of Föhr. He has no real feel for the subject, and is just responding to the demands made of him by dramaturgs, artistic directors and editors that his play should 'relate to the real world' and 'make an impact'.
Now he hopes to get some ideas from his father, whom he goes to visit on the island where he grew up. He and his father talk about the old days, conversations he notes down as material without finding them truly convincing. However, instead of creating a quick, easy tabloid version of history, which is what he had planned, his digging about in the past unexpectedly brings forth dark fruit. His research results in a crisis: Which parts of his personality are still real and felt, which parts are poeticised and stylised? No Ship Will Come is the story of a young man who goes looking for a political drama and finds a family tragedy.
(Verlag schaefersphilippen)

'Of course, this play is heavily autobiographically coloured, for Stockmann himself is a highly promising young dramatist from the island of Föhr and probably the person who has earned the most unanimous approval from theatres and critics this season. If his decision to draw a picture of the theatre business and its protagonists that wavers between the somewhat disillusioned and the caustic right at the beginning of his career seems less like professional hari-kiri than one might suppose, it is only because he does not spare himself. His author is a windbag and boaster who has to reconcile his despair at his writer's block, his lack of ideas, his inability to find a way into his subject matter and his latent idleness with his own vanity and the vanities of the theatrical world.
It is a tough task that Stockmann masters without maudlin sentimentality in this finely judged farce. […]
Stockmann's satirical talent makes his plays highly accessible, but feeds on the precise observation of social wounds, which is why his satire never becomes a purpose in itself.'
(Till Briegleb, 2010 Mülheim Theatertage)

'At first, it seems to be about the idiocies of a drama market that demands young authors tackle 'big issues' and 'make a impact' – […] yet only wants to celebrate anniversaries, 20 years since the collapse of the GDR for example. Then this very subject, which has certainly had a massive impact, sneaks in through the back door. For No Ship Will Come is about an author, who remains nameless, travelling to his home island, Föhr, in order to quiz his father about the fall of the Berlin Wall because he does not have any memories of his own. At the same time, in passing, the play brings out the gulf between the collective memory of the big things that happen on the national or international stage and the banality of everyday life.
[…] In their beery conversations, the father and son soon find themselves circling around a blind point in their relationship until we learn of the moment when their personal world was turned upside down in 1989: the mother's mental illness and the father's unexplained role in her death. Here, at last, after two brilliantly unsuccessful attempts at a drama about the peaceful revolution, the son finds his dramatic material, which he works up into a touching scene. Stockmann's belief that drama should be rooted in everyday life is emphasised in this piece, both in the text and through the text – the highest skill is shown in the apparently artless dialogues between father and son, which tear open the whole biography of a relationship in concise, witty one-liners.'
(Andreas Jüttner, Theater Heute, 03/2010)

No Ship Will Come is less a play than an account of the creation and ultimate rejection of a play. Of course, it is also the story of an attempt to come to terms with the past, the culmination of which is a liberation of the self. It is not by chance that No Ship Will Come has also been produced as a radio play. It processes a great deal of text.
It is a witty, cleverly structured drama with a number of passages that serve up language appetisingly on a golden platter to delight the senses. Scenes of dialogue are skilfully implanted into the protagonist's overarching narrative as he records every impression, every scrap of thought, every conversation like a journalist on a dictation machine. Stockmann's virtuosity even makes the audience feel it is eavesdropping when these private recordings are played back: An accomplished puzzle structured around the fiction of the written and the reality of the stories it tells.'
(Verena Großkreutz, Nachtkritik, 19 February 2010)
Technical data
Premiere 19 February 2010, Staatstheater Stuttgart (Theater im Depot)
Director Annette Pullen
Cast 1 F, 2 M
Rights schaefersphilippen Theater und Medien GbR
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