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Villa Dolorosa. Drei missratene Geburtstage (Villa Dolorosa: Three Disastrous Birthdays)en

freely based on Chekhov's "Three Sisters"

Irina is celebrating her birthday. It is supposed to be a glittering party with dancing and lots of guests. But Irina is bored stiff, the few people who have come are sitting around on the floor and her brother Andrej has brought his new girlfriend with him, who is already pregnant.
Irina's sisters, Olga and Mascha, do not really help to cheer her up either: Mascha is trapped in a loveless marriage and promptly falls for Andrej's sole friend, the married Georg. Olga is the only one of the four who is actually earning anything and has to keep the whole family above water. For their parents' inheritance has long since been frittered away, and the family villa is getting run down.
Yet, unimpressed by all this, Irina lies in bed and thinks about staying on at university for a bit longer, even though she still cannot really decide what course she should sign up for next.
The traditional birthday party is a failure in the two following years as well: spoilt by a new pregnancy, an affair, suicide attempts, debts, unemployment and a lack of prospects – or simply by the wrong choice of music and guests who were never actually invited in the first place. The sisters' ability to stick together is put to the test, and at the end the question remains: Do I need a plan B for my life? Or would a bit of therapy do the job just as well?
(Kiepenheuer Bühnenvertrieb)

Responses to the play:

'Three times the play celebrates Irina's birthday. Three times the sisters talk about the past, instead of forging realistic plans for the future. Then an admirer who has already been crossed off the list rings the doorbell, someone puts party music from their younger days on the stereo, the next change of career turns out to be just a hare-brained idea. The overabundance of life options they survey with such rhetorical eloquence contrasts with the poverty of their actual experience.
Villa Dolorosa is a version of Chekhov's Three Sisters. What is remarkable is that over the last few years it has been directors above all who have made the play interesting for the contemporary public by staging it in imaginative ways. Now, this territory has been reconquered by an author who does not shy away from big intellectual issues, to which she responds with the wit of the despairing by showing that the individual can only ever limp along after the certainties of society.'
(Simone Kaempf, taz, 28 January 2010)

'In fact, with her adaptation of Chekhovian motifs, Rebekka Kricheldorf has succeeded in creating a comedy of contemporary life that stands up in its own right, a play about self-sabotage, paralysis, weariness, all the 'miscarriages of possibilities' that afflict a generation of know-it-alls spoilt by prosperity, a generation for whom things are gradually starting to get nasty – work is therefore a major topic.'
(Christine Dössel, Süddeutsche Zeitung, 27 October 2009)

Technical data:

Premiere 15 October 2009, Theaterhaus Jena
Director Markus Heinzelmann
Cast 4 F, 3 M
Rights Kiepenheuer Bühnenvertrieb
Translations Theatre Library


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