New German dramatic art - Plays

Die eine und die andere (i.e., “The One and the Other”)

Two lifelong enemies – their duels, their vices, their inseparability.

Lissie has been the other woman twice in Insa’s life! Lissie came between Insa and two of the men she has loved, destroying their love in each case. And now she turns up one last time – she has been sacked from her job and has had to sublet her flat. We meet two female superpowers who cannot escape one another. And woe betide if one of them tries to get up: the other responds by bellowing, "Stay where you are!" The women inflict deep wounds on each other in bitterly comic dialogues before their last strength leaves them. Hardly any room remains for their children, Elaine and Timm, in the shadow of these formidable mothers. While Elaine, who is very much the good daughter at home, seeks pain in a bizarre world of things in order to feel alive, Timm is looking for his father – who is also Elaine’s father. The two get to know each other and experience what is "almost a sibling fairy tale".

(Berliner Ensemble)

Responses to the Play:

"‘Die eine und die andere’ […] is a comic tragedy. It is the 60-year-old writer’s sober, often virtuosically satirical, but then melancholically disillusioned reckoning with his own generation. And a stock taking of what proclaimers of self-realisation who fail when confronted with objective reality leave behind as their legacy: 30-something children who are unable to grow up on their futile search for recognition and love.

This makes ‘Die eine und die andere’ a play about Germany after reunification, about failed hopes, false dreams, a submerged future. And Strauß, a man with a deep understanding of women, has written a play about two women who have grown old, who once queened it over their small circle, who encounter each other unprepared one more time and raise themselves to top form in a last battle over a man. The fact that the reality of the theatre runs throughout the piece, that Strauß is also telling the story of two actresses – makes the play additionally attractive.”

(Sabine Dult, “Münchner Merkur”, 28.01.2005)

“Like all Botho Strauß’s stage characters, these are encoded in literary terms as ‘rulers in a small, borderless domestic realm’; the air between the lines burns with intertextual echoes. The women play a Beckettian endgame, they are Schiller’s Queens, Elisabeth and Maria Stuart, but also Chekhov’s sisters who, having returned from Moscow, become embittered back in the country and mope their days away. At the same time, they are reminiscent of the two elderly comedians in Neil Simon’s ‘Sunshine Boys’, who spoil each other’s punch lines in their hatred of each other’s quirks – which of course gives the play its best punch lines. Botho Strauß has hardly ever referred so directly to generic figures.

The two children of the same age, Elaine and Timm, are as enigmatic as the mothers are transparent. Strauß follows in the steps of Shakespeare and Kleist, varying the motif of siblings who do not recognise each other, and locating them poetologically in the mechanical world of E.T.A. Hoffmann.”

(Christopher Schmidt, “Süddeutsche Zeitung”, 29/30.01.2005)

“As ever, in ‘Die eine und die andere’, Botho Strauß also flits about through the past and the future, art and life, love and talk – dreamily elusive, metaphysically heated glow worm words float through the text, and linguistic turbulence disturbs the order of things. […] Botho Strauß reports from the undergrowth in which life that has grown old, that knows itself only too well, gets caught up, life that has its promises behind it, but in which the old drives and instincts are still at work.”

(Peter Michalzik, “Frankfurter Rundschau”, 31.01.2005)

Technical Data

World premiere

27.01.2005, Residenztheater, München

Director Dieter Dorn
Cast 4 female, 4 male
Rights NavigationssymbolRowohlt Theaterverlag
Hamburger Str. 17
D-21465 Reinbek
Tel.: 040-7272270
Fax: 040-7272276
Translations Theatre Library