Schäfchen im Trockenen
Holding a cheap lease on a desirable flat in a hip Berlin neighbourhood is like holding the jackpot, and losing this jackpot is not an uncommon story. But it is less common for a good friend to be the cause of this eviction. Resi, her husband and their four children will soon have to move out. Their incomes as freelancers are no match for current rents in Prenzlauer Berg and the family already see themselves stuck in the prefab tenements of Marzahn.
They have no one to blame but themselves, because they could have joined the housing project “K 23” and moved into a flat next to Resi’s oldest friends. But that was before the article… In said essay for a national newspaper, the mother of four took a self-ironic look at the clothing styles of her own circle of friends. Some people have a walk-in closet in a self-owned home, others don’t.
But it doesn’t do to talk about these things and so the result is rejection and the cancellation of her lease. While her self-chosen family of friends accuse her of falsely making herself out to be the victim, the outcast writer’s motto now is “Everything must go” – including her own self-pity. She is sure of one thing: The fact that the people who have a walk-in closet today are the same people who grew up with hardwood kitchen floors is no accident. Her own parents had 1960s PVC floor coating. Resi feels betrayed, by her mother and by the exhortations that all people are equal and anything is possible. And that is why she wants to uncover what has been cleverly concealed, to tell her children the relentless truth and add a little aftertaste to the glasses of Crémant enjoyed in front of the subtly beige façade.
Anke Stelling received the 2019 Prize of the Leipzig Book Fair for her novel “Schäfchen im Trockenen”. The jury’s statement called it “a sharp-edged, harsh novel that wants and needs to hurt, that objects to the constant attempt at propitiating and frees our minds for – hopefully – clear thinking”. It is a call to take a closer look, directed at all those who, like the protagonist’s friends, refuse to see the differences. Resi’s story provides an alternative to the narrative of equal opportunities. It’s time to take stock.
Director Thirza Bruncken will undertake the stage adaptation of this novel for Schauspiel Leipzig. After working at Stadttheater Koblenz and Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus, she developed productions at theatres including Schauspiel Köln, Hamburger Schauspielhaus, Volkstheater Wien, Schauspiel Frankfurt, Theater Dortmund, Nationaltheater Weimar, Münchner Kammerspiele and Residenztheater München. Her staging of Elfriede Jelinek‘s “Stecken, Stab und Stangl” at Deutsches Schauspielhaus Hamburg was invited to the 1999 Berlin Theatertreffen. Following the world premieres of “Lebendfallen” by Enis Maci and “Drei sind wir” by Wolfram Höll, Thirza Bruncken continues her analysis of contemporary dramatic writing in Leipzig with “Schäfchen im Trockenen”.