New German dramatic art - Plays

Hund, Frau, Mann (Dog, Woman, Man)

(after Yael Hedaya's story Liebe pur, published by the Diogenes Verlag)

An unorthodox view of a relationship between two people: a dog describes the strange behaviour of the woman and the man who literally cling together even though they can scarcely stand one another. When they meet for the first time the dog runs up to them and from then on stays because - like them - it has nothing to lose, because - like them - it seeks shelter in a warm apartment. That would be enough for the dog as a way out of solitude, and master and mistress "could also have been pleased not to wake up alone any longer, but human beings don't hit on such simple ideas". After a brief period of devoting loving attention to one another human behaviour returns: love becomes a claim to possession, closeness is replaced by suspicion and alienation. Nevertheless both separation or any other variant of change are out of the question for the man and woman. The energy-draining routines of their everyday life as a couple, lived by others as something normal and thus dutifully followed by this man and woman, restrain them like a taut leash. That ultimately seems absolutely natural to the dog: "We dogs and human beings are in many respects related. For instance, we deal with catastrophes in the same way. We accept them".

Responses to the Play

The shabbiness of human existence,powerfully expressed in Sibylle Berg's prose, is also the theme of her new play "Hund, Frau, Mann" which has now been premiered. A brief text, more prose than drama, a coquettish lamentation of never-ending disappointment, transient pleasure, and eternal failure. In her novels Berg throws light on her characters' lack of inner life, and that is why drama, dependent on the spoken word, is a form which seems irreconcileable with her style. In "Dog, Woman, Man" Berg has developed a skilful trick for revelation of what is happening beneath the surface. A dog comments on the human beings: "They like humbling themselves, but that's nothing new" - he says, calmly watching the crazy antics of ridiculous love from his blanket.
(Adrienne Braun, Stuttgarter Zeitung, 1.10.2001)

A piece by Sibylle Berg has been chosen for the third time running - each time with a special dramatic trick allowing mediation of her idiosyncratic view of the human zoo: a well-balanced mixture of chilled out, usually romanticized everyday feelings [...]. Now "Hund, Frau, Mann" brings something more which some previously thought painfully lacking: a kindly, gentle look at what is called a need for life or love.
(Dietmar N. Schmidt, programme for the Mülheim Theatre Days, 2002)

Technical Details

Premiere Rampe Theater, Stuttgart, 29.09.2001
Director Stephan Bruckmeier
Cast 1 woman, 1 man, 1 other actor (either m. or f.). Basic set
Rights Rowohlt Theater Verlag
Hamburgerstraße 17
21465 Reinbek bei Hamburg
Tel. 040/ 72 72 270, Fax 040/ 72 72 276
theater@rowohlt.de
Translations Theatre Library