New German dramatic art - Plays

Diebe ("Thieves")

Finn, an insurance broker, opens his eyes and knows he will never walk again. His sister Linda has seen a wolf and hopes her spa hotel, which is threatened with bankruptcy, will soon be located in the middle of a nature protection area. Erwin, the father of the two, would like just once to have a normal conversation, about the weather or the stars.
Monika, a supermarket assistant, has been promised a promotion by her boss. Maybe to manage a branch in Holland. Her husband, Thomas, a policeman, would go with her. Mr and Mrs Schmidt feel they are being observed. By an animal? The pregnant Mira does not want to have her baby. Josef, the father, is really keen on the idea. Gabi and Rainer are looking for a flat or at least going through the motions. Ira, an elderly lady, misses her husband. Did he just want to go for a walk?

Dea Loher weaves together these individual episodes. The characters bump into each other in different constellations and see each other again in surprising encounters. The audience watches a gloomy panorama of contemporary humanity taking shape, a panorama that is nevertheless not entirely devoid of comedy. Always on the edge of the abyss and yet full of hope.
(Deutsches Theater, Berlin)
Responses to the play:
'Little events, fleeting situations, couples who have just been thrown together and couples who have known each other for ages. The characters are loosely linked, in Dea Loher's play Thieves. Some are related, others not, some have the same names, but nothing to do with one another. […]
There are 12 people with hardly anything in common, 12 lives that are not bound to each other by any shared history, 12 existences that meaninglessly, merely are. But there is no suggestion of existential terror or any other exaggeration of the situation, they simply stand around, historyless, futureless, meaningless. [...]
Thanks to the play's open dramatic structure, a certain totality is achieved, these 12 represent 'everyone'. Apart from a few scraps of action, the only thing that unites them in this play is their redundancy. Hence the title: These thieves feel as if they have stolen their own lives. [...]
Taking this situation as her starting point, Dea Loher does more than just draw a picture of the lower and middle (!) margins of what people still like to call society, as if all these atomised individuals actually belonged together, as if they were all really part of a larger whole. She also manages to give the mute a language for their fears and hopes. She has the ability to pull off this high tone and a language that captures it, but it is difficult to find pathos – even false pathos – in her work, although she has been accused of this again and again.
By contrast, what is completely new for Dea Loher is the fact that she has written a half-comedy. [...] Here, Loher – her approach as flexible as the sequence of scenes – moves back and forth between sober sympathy and sometimes loud, sometimes bitter laughter. Of course, it is black humour that is at work here, but this humour too is funny and sometimes the laughter it generates is actually liberating.'
(Peter Michalzik, 2010 Mülheim Theatertage)

'With a light touch, Dea Loher weaves together her numerous characters into a bitterly amusing tableau of society. At the same time, she succeeds in constructing her play so perfectly, with its interlocking scenes and characters, that this dramaturgic virtuosity could even be another vehicle for self-irony [...].
There are several bizarre turns and twists that simply take your breath away. A woman approaches the officer working on reception at a police station and reports that her boyfriend has almost strangled her. With her last strength, she managed to free herself. Then she got him to drive her home. She does not want to bring charges against him either, just ask whether she can take him to court later on if he flips out again. [...] Like the flabbergasted officer, the spectator no longer understands what has become of the world. This is precisely what Thieves is about: the inexplicability of human actions, the complex mingling of emotions, the limits of understanding.'
(Stefan Keim, 2010 Berlin Theatertreffen programme)
Technical data:
Premiere 15 January 2010, Deutsches Theater, Berlin
Director Andreas Kriegenburg
Cast 6 F, 6 M
Rights Verlag der Autoren
Translations Theatre Library