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Die Probe (The Test)en

It is claimed that almost 40,000 of the children born in Germany every year are not actually genetically related to their supposed fathers. A figure that has presumably changed little over the decades. It is merely the possibility of biological certainty that, thanks to genetic testing, has almost become a consumer good. But something that provides questionable entertainment over and over again in the media can prove highly poisonous in the private lives of ordinary people.
A man is plagued by doubts. He forces himself through the dubious procedure of collecting genetic material and, after two tortuous weeks of waiting, he has it in black and white. The child is not his, as is substantiated by a rigorous scientific chain of evidence. However, the certainty that is supposed to be in some way consoling is the beginning of the end. Nothing has any validity any more, not love, not trust, for no emotional ties are a match for the sharp blade of science. What weight do the protestations of a human being have against the merciless finality of a 99.98 percent probability that the opposite is true? What still defines the family if it is no longer supported on anything but the thin ice of factual certainty? What impact does a truth have when it falls into someone's life with unprecedented precision like an axe blade that leaves no room for doubt? With irresistible urgency, Lukas Bärfuss shows us no less than the instability of our modern world.
(Hartmann and Stauffacher)

Responses to the Play:
"The Test is really an issues play disguised as a comedy. The question of what biological fatherhood means in the age of the genetic test, also and above all in relation to social fatherhood and our inherited model of the family, is explored thoroughly through its dialogue with Swiss meticulousness. However, The Test is not shallow and crudely didactic - Bärfuss is too expert a drama-builder for that, as well as having an unmistakeable feel for language -, but cleverly packaged in wonderfully thrilling confrontations and constellations of characters. The play shows the clash between two generations with utterly different lifestyles." (Süddeutsche Zeitung)

"Peter Korach has sought his happiness in private life. Preferring to marry and settle down comfortably with his wife and child, he has not gone into politics like his ambitious father, who is just in the middle of an election campaign. And then come the doubts. A paternity test shakes the foundations of his detached house, everything collapses, burying his hopes and certainties beneath it. […] How is it possible to live with a lie? And that is not all: What does it do to us when decisions about responsibility and trust are determined by biology alone? These are the questions raised by this drama, which inevitably contains comedy as well, given that the action unfolds within a rather manic family. However, the paternity test is a bitterly serious instrument of power that makes the whole fabric of this family unravel. Sometimes, Peter Korach learns, the truth is very brief. And ignorance is often better than the cold realisation that one has been betrayed."
(Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung)


2 Feburary 2007, Munich Kammerspiele

Director Lars-Ole Walburg
Cast 2 female, 3 male
Rights NavigationssymbolHartmann und Stauffacher, Verlag für Bühne, Film, Funk und Fernsehen
Bismarckstrasse 36, D-50672 Köln
Tel.:+49 221 485386, Fax:+49 221 515402
Translations Theatre Library


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