New German dramatic art - Plays

Schwarze Jungfrauen (i.e., Black Virgins)

The writing duo of Zaimoglu and Senkel have adapted the radical statements of women who could be described as “neo-Muslims” for the stage in a series of ten monologues. These reports from real life are based on interviews the authors conducted with a number of women.
In these discussions, in which the two interviewers mainly acted in a listening role, the women were able to give free rein to their sometimes very extreme views. Their ideas have been preserved, but Zaimoglu and Senkel have recast their words, transforming the women’s “voices” into an artistic, literary language. All the more do we feel the force with which the “black virgins” shamelessly demolish every aspect of the politically correct image of Muslim women who live in Germany. There is the law student who grew up with the Western education system, but also reveres Bin Laden and dreams of an Islamic revolution in Europe, which she would like to serve with her knowledge. The young woman who has run away from her village due to an affair with a neighbour displays an ambivalent attitude towards Islam. She may have left the traditional faith of her parents’ generation behind her and may live a supposedly modern, sexually liberated, self-determined life in the metropolis of Berlin, but passionately advocates the creation of a radical Islamic theocracy. The German Christian who has converted to Islam and believes she has to defend her new faith against foreigners is another contradictory figure.

No comment is made on the women’s monologues, which speak for themselves with their rage, their passion and their blindness. The authors were interested above all in “allowing people to see what is there without making moral judgements”.

Responses to the play:

“In fact, Zaimoglu’s artistic language is as ambivalent as the stories told by the neo-Muslims themselves. It adds rhythm and punch to their confessions, but also improvises gleefully on sexual and politically incorrect motifs. In sex and Islam, we get two explosive topics at once, and Zaimoglu’s ‘virgins’ have no inhibitions talking about them: The young Turkish woman hiding from her own family in Berlin discusses the joys of her sexual life in glowing terms, while the ‘cripple’ describes the erotic relationship between herself and a carer with a mixture of pleasure, self-loathing and, above all, meticulous precision.”

(Eva Behrendt, Theater Heute, 5/2006)

“The young Turkish woman with the postmodern patchwork identity who combines hardcore Islamism with an urbane lifestyle does not fit into the rough and ready schemas that only distinguish between ‘modern’ and ‘traditional’ immigrants. This insufficiently complex understanding of difference is predicated on an inaccurate view of the situation. Such ideological barriers and the straightforward classifications they encourage are undermined by the documentary play Schwarze Jungfrauen. […] What this creates is a vision of complicated constructed identities that are far more confusing that all the clichés of the Islamic-Turkish parallel society…”

(Peter Laudenbach, Süddeutsche Zeitung, 20 March 2006)

“The Schwarze Jungfrauen (i.e., Black Virgins) are […] raging, aggressive, terrifying speeches that tell of the very complex, complicated strategies people deploy in order to live out Islam and the urge for sexual freedom, the spirit of rebellion and the obedience of faith alongside each other within a particular body, at a particular time, in a particular place. It is the ‘black virgins’ radicalism that makes them sexy, their insolence that makes them witty, even when they get tangled up in contradictions and talk nonsense. They use attack as the best form of defence instead of making gestures that plead for pity and understanding.”

(Kathrin Bettina Müller, taz, 26 March 2006)

Technical Data:


17.03.2006, Theater Hebbel am Ufer, Berlin


Neco Çelik

Cast 10 D
Rights Rowohlt Theater Verlag
Hamburger Str.17
21465 Reinbek
Tel. 040/ 72 72 270, Fax 040/ 72 72 276
Translations Theatre Library