New German dramatic art - Plays

Kredit (“Credit”)

Money has no value in itself. It holds out an abstract promise of happiness that can only be translated into reality if we exchange it for goods, services or information. Acquisitions and property are associated with the illusion that we can hold on tight to happiness – feelings of security, wellbeing and belonging –, can tear them away from transience. Does a person, once he or she ceases to be, really leave behind what he or she owned? What continues to live – in others? Family ties. Memory. Fragile things…

The development of this play is centred around the memory of Hans, the father of five children, a generous man in every respect. His children take his far-too-early death as the occasion to mount a living panorama of memorable stories. Five actors play the members of a widely scattered family over a period of about 60 years. The milestones along this journey are various family celebrations – baptisms, confirmations, weddings, birthdays and funerals –, events that are exploited to talk about topics such as money, emotions and death. In doing this, a prose text laid down by the author alternates with scenes of improvised dialogue in which the actors develop and expand on the themes and characters in fresh ways every evening.
(Gustav Kiepenheuer Bühnenvertrieb)
Responses to the Play:
“Hans is the starting point for the plot, the children group themselves around their dead father and remember: a family gathering in the true sense of the word, not some little psychological game.
With a light touch, the author and director Jan Neumann sketches out his ‘family history play’, as the subtitle puts it, about the Huber family. In the piece, all the actors slip at some point into the role of the omniscient narrator, using intricate detail and subtle wit to untangle the family saga. In between, family life through the decades is depicted in quick-fire, partly improvised scenes.

‘Credit’, which has just been premiered, was created as a commission for the Schauspiel Frankfurt […] in a rehearsal process. The author and director has switched back and forth between a set script and improvisation before in spinning his tender, comic stories, for instance in ‘Love’s Repose’, a play about aging love and euthanasia.
We race through the years in fast-forward, 1948, 1962, 1974, 1984, 2007, 2008. To provide a contextual background, Hans’s story is connected with historical dates – Yuri Gagarin’s voyage into the heavens suddenly plays a role in the collapse of Hans’s faith when he is an adolescent, the 1974 banking crisis has an impact on his wedding and the 2007 Treaty of Lisbon overshadows his 58th birthday.

Encounters with relatives who seem familiar strangers take place at the obligatory celebrations: two funerals, a confirmation, a wedding, a baptism, a birthday. At the same time, as the cycle of life rolls on, Neumann bangs the old, hopeful drum, linking every death with a new life. Absurd stories from his parents’ farm are combined with the confused heterogeneity of their descendants, with Parisian bohemians, financial geniuses and rebellious students. The clash of the generations regularly escalates in agitated, vociferous exchanges in which .they all babble past each other, in which everyone wants to get a piece of the cake one way or the other – whether that means winning an argument, grabbing attention or just having the last word.”
(Esther Boldt, “Nachtkritik”, 18 January 2008)
Technical Data
Premiere 18 January 2008, Schauspiel Frankfurt
Director Jan Neumann
Cast 1 F, 4 M
Rights Gustav Kiepenheuer Bühnenvertriebs GmbH
Schweinfurthstr. 60
14195 Berlin
telephon: +49 30 8971840
fax: +49 30 8233911
Translations Theatre Library