New German dramatic art - Plays

Pablo in der Plusfiliale (i.e. "Pablo in the Plus")

René Pollesch's "Pablo in the Plus" is a product of clip aesthetics, a telenovella between trash and theory, the web and advertising, based on the lurid seventies look and with that epoch's melodic sounds backing big blocks of text. No story, no subject, no offer of identification.
Pollesch's characters are objects of all-out capitalisation, multiple interfaces, and social display. Deploying the jargon of technology and neo-liberalism, they talk about their existence as if it were the most obvious thing in the world. (...) Here Pablo (after whom the play is named) is a child who wanders into a branch of Plus by mistake and somehow or other disappears. So you never get to see him. But that's alright. After all this piece is concerned with ideology. Such consumerist meccas as Aldi-Süd and Lidl, Schlecker and Metro, are shown to be monster constructions of capitalism and declared to be a launching-pad for criticism of consumerism verbosely aware that it can communicate nothing and revels all the more in apocalyptic collapse".
(Andreas Rossmann in: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, No. 103, 4.5.2004)

Responses to the Play:

"This play (...) was premiered at the Ruhr Festival in Recklinghausen, co-financed by trade unions, so Pollesch reflects both maliciously and accurately the helplessness with which those unions react to a capitalism that is getting harsher and to the collapse of welfare systems. On the one hand he shows solidarity with protest movements against neo-liberalism, but at the same time Pollesch, as a professional outsider, makes clear the dividing-line that separates him from the union middle-class mainstream. Anyone who has never belonged to this social centre views with a degree of malicious pleasure the way in which upright citizens are losing sources of security. Instead Pollesch places trust in a shadow-economy, social networks, and ways of survival deployed by the marginalised".
(Peter Laudenbach in: Der Tagesspiegel online, 28.5.2004)

"Neo-liberalism and globalisation are the themes around which René Pollesch time and again circles in his serially-structured plays. High-tech gobbles up souls: Western Internet technology as a new means for exploitation of the Third World; globalised capitalism as a thumb-screw for the welfare achievements fought for by trade unions in the 'old' world; reduction of (inter)human existence and of the realm of individual feelings to economic processes; supposed powerlessness in the face of global economic activities, presented by politicians as being inevitable".
(Pitt Herrmann in: Herner Feuilleton, 02.03.2005)

Technical Data

Premiere Ruhr Festival, Recklinghausen, 02.05.2005
Director René Pollesch
Number of Performers 5-6
Rights Rowohlt Theater Verlag
Hamburger Str. 17
21465 Reinbek
Tel. +49 40 7272270
Fax +49 40 7272276
Translations Theatre Library