Der Kick (i.e., “The Kick”)

n the night of 12/13 July 2002, the two brothers Marco (23) and Marcel (17) and their friend Sebastian (17) attack the 16-year-old Marinus, who is friendly with Marcel, tends to stutter and belongs to the hip-hop scene. The shaven-headed attackers beat their weaker victim for hours on end.
There are adult witnesses who fail to intervene. The victim and his tormentors know each other, they all come from Potzlow, a village in the Uckermark area. In a pigsty, Marinus is made to bite a pig trough and is killed when Marcel recreates the curb kick in the film "American History X", jumping on the back of his victim’s head. The "Potzlow murder" was pigeonholed by public opinion with shorthand labels: Marinus’s torture and killing were classified as an ideologically motivated crime committed by right-wing extremists. […]

However, the violence of the crime does not begin in this night. Nor with the disintegration of the region’s villages after German reunification. On closer inspection, it is found as a constant in the life histories of those involved, their parents and grandparents: in the treatment of Polish slave labourers in 1942, in the forced collectivisation of the farms in 1960, in the treatment of the "new" foreigners during the 1990s. Both the family of the murderers and that of the victim are "offcomers" who have never really found a place in the village community.

By assembling a montage of condensed transcripts of interviews with the brothers, Marco and Marcel, their parents, the victim’s friends, the public prosecutors and the village community that has been affected, "Der Kick" seeks to illuminate the biographical background to the crime.

(Fischer Verlag, Theater und Medien)

Responses to the Play:

“Veiel reveals to us a process of mental and moral erosion, during which a long river of experienced violence and humiliation has been dammed up in the histories of the families touched in one way or another: the War, the post-War period, the arbitrary rule of the Russians and the East German communists, the social impoverishment after 1990 and the spiritual regression it has particularly encouraged.

The people in the East German idyll of the Uckermark are tormented by their traumas and their lack of a future. This is not intended to excuse the excesses of brutalisation – looking away when violent incidents occur and the unrestrained infliction of violence. Rather, it makes the inhuman shockingly human. […] This also results from the deeply moving power of authentic language. The monologues send the audience on a rollercoaster ride between attraction and repulsion. There is no monolithic chorus of evil. Rather, we are presented with a mosaic of differentiation. This intelligent individualisation of the ‘case’ means it gets under our skin in way that is probably hardly possible for a fictive work of art.”

(Reinhard Wengierek, “Die Welt”, 26.04.2005)

“This text cannot simply be shaken off. It implants itself in your mind, it sinks its teeth into you, it creeps across your pillow for a couple of nights. It leaves behind pictures of a heinous crime: after reading it, you see moonlit paths through the fields in your mind’s eye, empty crates of Sternburger beer and combat boots that kick out at an exhausted body. You hear a drunken teenager gabbling in panic, “I am a Jew”, and later the cracking of bones. At the same time, this text tells us far more than what happened in the course of one schnapps-soaked night.

[…] Inferiority complexes, an absence of role models or poor role models, limited horizons, very large quantities of alcohol and a peculiarly uninhibited attitude towards violence as an instrument of power and outlet: Veiel and Schmidt cleverly sort the scraps of evidence about the causes of the crime they have gathered in Potzlow, together with the empty spaces that gape between them. They do not constitute a coherent chain of motives, a rousing indictment or even a “tribunal”.

Instead, “Der Kick” shows how the tragedy of Potzlow resists clear interpretations. The evil that appears so stupid and shabby in the hollow German of the police withers away in the helpless talk of the parents, the awkward, serious words of the murderers and the good-natured statements of their neighbours.”

(Eva Behrendt, “Theater Heute”, 6/2005)

Technische Daten

World premiere

23.04.2005, Theater Basel

Director Andres Veiel
German premiere 

24.04.2005, Maxim Gorki Theater, Gewerbehof in der alten Königsstadt, Berlin

Director Andres Veiel
Cast 1 female, 1 male
Rights NavigationssymbolS. Fischer Verlag GmbH, Theaterabteilung
Hedderichstr. 114
D-60596 Frankfurt/Main
Tel.: 069-60 622 71
Fax: 069-60 623 55
Translations Theatre Library