Nowa dramaturgia niemiecka - Sztuki teatralne

Vor langer Zeit im Mai ("Long Ago in May")en

A man on a bicycle cycles pointlessly in large circles around the stage until he crashes into a wall. A woman in a rococo dress flits indecisively across the set. A young woman struggles with a heavy suitcase. A couple exchange meaningless melancholic remarks about bicycles, suitcases and women, a woman with a broom, a pair of lovers.
As if Schimmelpfennig were attempting to translate the musical form of the "theme with variations” into the theatrical, he allows his characters and their actions to meet up and run alongside each other, blends people and their acts, shows the past (the lovers) and the present (the couple), then, resigned, allows the conclusion to be drawn:
"Verzeih, daß wir nicht mehr so sind, so wie wir einmal waren, daß auch der Mai nicht mehr so wird, wie einst vor vielen Jahren.”
("Sorry we're not the way we once were. Sorry that May won't ever be the way it once was, so many years ago.”)
A bittersweet, absurd comedy full of lightness.
(Elisabeth Fibich, theatre section of Goethe-Institut)

Responses to the Play

By interweaving pure visual theatre with associative dialogue that is independent of the on-stage action, Roland Schimmelpfennig creates an original dramatic form in his play "Vor langer Zeit im Mai". On the stage a silent scene of traditional slapstick is played out, the same image of an accident recurring in different variations, whilst Schimmelpfennig's dialogue laconically circles the experience of failure. He never approaches the theme with a grimly raised moral-philosophic accusatory finger, but with a mischievous wink that finds pleasure even in failure. These are snapshots of the vain attempts of a man and a woman to use their shared memories to find themselves in what once used to bind them together and ultimately separated them. The taut dialogue hides the secret of a love and its failure – yet does not go any further than ironic and cryptic hints. The two stylistic devices enter into an amazing dialogue: they complement, contrast with and stimulate each other without one ever aiming to explain the other.
(Annette Hunscha in the programme of the Theater der Stadt Heidelberg)

Technical Details

Premiere Schaubühne am Lehniner Platz Berlin, March 2000
Director Barbara Frey
Cast 6 D (mind.), 6 H (mind.), 1 Dek.
Rights S. Fischer Verlag GmbH
Theater und Medien
Hedderichstr. 144
60596 Frankfurt am Main
Tel. 069/ 60 62 339, Fax 069/ 60 62 335
theater@s-fischer.de
Translations Theatre Library

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