Plays

Schattenstimmen (“Voices from the Shadows”)

They come from Morocco, Russia or Columbia, they earn their money as dishwashers or drug dealers, prostitutes or carers in nursing homes. No one knows exactly how many illegal immigrants there are living in Germany. Anyone who gets by here without the right papers has learned to make themselves invisible. What is it like in the shadows of society?
Feridun Zaimoglu and Günter Senkel have collected the voices of people who officially do not even exist, but nevertheless are right here among us. Full of confidence and far from any tearful sentimentality, they report on the daily strategies of survival, of disappearing and how, in spite of everything, they stay themselves. Presented as snapshots from the hidden world of migration, the nine monologues shed light on existences with which most of us never consciously come into contact, at the same time casting a glance back at Germany and the Germans from an unaccustomed perspective.
(Rowohlt Theaterverlag)
Responses to the Play:
“Zaimoglu and Senkel’s human discoveries from the social twilight are diverse, but not surprising: the black Africans who work as rent boys or drug dealers at the railway station; the Moroccan who gets by as a kitchen help, the Eastern European luxury prostitute who provides her services to a seriously rich clientele from Zurich to Amsterdam; the cheerful Ukrainian au pair who got stranded in Germany and has spent the last couple of years partying with a succession of boyfriends; the upright Russian married couple who earn their living doing caretaking jobs and caring for old people; the gypsy woman who is training up her large horde of children for a life of petty crime.
The genre, with which Zaimoglu and Senkel experimented in their ‘Black Virgins’ about radical fundamentalist Muslim women, sounds like social reportage – which is not necessarily a bad thing. We learn what reporters usually find out: stories of emigration, the precarious circumstances in which people live, the tricks big and little with which they satisfy the impertinent demands of the legalistic state. But anyone who therefore expects a parade of cowering, intimidated, shadowy figures, a pitiful crowd of fearful nervous wrecks suffering patiently and appealing to the fat heart of German charity, will find themselves badly disappointed. Quite the contrary: it is especially in the semi-legal and illegal dark zones that hatred, joy in life and confidence flourish with such vigour that it becomes a true pleasure to watch them.”
(Franz Wille, “Theater Heute”, 06/2008)


“For the racist, the poly-sexist, the vulgar are mixed through with such demagogic refinement that the speakers’ autoaggression and self-hatred, their will to violence, their contempt, their pornographic, prejudiced thinking and Heiner-Mülleresque rebellion against the First World, its ‘disgusting’ representatives (gay people, above all) and ‘white meal worms’ can no longer be held clearly apart, while clichéd expectations get shown up just as much as any attempt to respond to such statements with an ‘enlightened’ attitude.”
(Andreas Wilink, “Nachtkritik”, 20 April 2008)
Technical Data:
Premiere 20 April 2008, Schauspiel Cologne
Director Nora Bussenius
Cast 4 F, 5 M
Rights Rowohlt Theater Verlag
Hamburger Str. 17
21465 Reinbek
Telephone: +49 40 7272270
Fax: +49 40 7272276
theater@rowohlt.de
www.rowohlt-theater.de
Translations Theatre Library