Lukas Bärfuss

Lukas Bärfuss


Although theatre uses fictive elements, theatre by itself is not fiction. Theatre is a fact, it actually takes place. Unlike any other art form, what happens [in theatre] becomes an event. What falls to the ground has actually fallen down and the silence in the theatre will always remain silence. The space of the theatre offers simultaneously a physical as well as an imaginary extension. And that addresses a condition of humans, who concurrently inhabit two worlds – one that is and one that could be.

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I was born on 30 December 1971 in Thun/Switzerland. After my schooling I worked as a tobacco farmer, forklift driver and bookseller. I have been a writer since 1997. Samuel Schwarz and I founded the “400asa” theatre group in 1998. I have held literature and theatre workshops in several countries and taught at the Academy of Performing Arts in Ludwigsburg/Germany , at the Swiss Institute for Literature in Biel and at the Free University in Berlin. Between 2008 and 2013 I worked as a playwright at the Schauspielhaus Zurich, where I drew up performance schedules, assisted in production and moderated discussions. I live with my partner and our three children in Zurich.

Theatre works
2013 / Die schwarze Halle; first stage: May 2013, Schauspielhaus, Zurich
2012 / Zwanzigtausend Seiten; first stage: February 2012, Schauspielhaus Zürich
2010 / Malaga; first stage: May 2010, Schauspielhaus, Zürich
2010 / Parzival, Schauspiel nach Wolfram von Eschenbach; first stage: January 2010, Staatstheater, Hannover
2009 / Öl; first stage: September 2009, Deutsches Theater, Berlin
2009 / Amygdala; first stage: May 2009, Thalia Theater, Hamburg
2007 / Die Probe (Der brave Simon Korach); first stage: February 2007, Münchner Kammerspiele
2005 / Alices Reise in die Schweiz; first stage: March 2005, Theater Basel
2005 / Der Bus (Das Zeug einer Heiligen); first stage: Januar 2005, Thalia Theater, Hamburg
2004 / König Heinrich der Vierte, nach William Shakespeare; first stage: May 2004, Schauspielhaus, Bochum
2003 / Die sexuellen Neurosen unserer Eltern; first stage: February 2003, Theater Basel
2002 / Vier Bilder der Liebe; first stage: September 2002, Schauspielhaus Bochum
2002 / august02, Nationalulk; Landesausstellung Expo.02 on 1 August 2002 on the centre stage of Arteplage Biel-Bienne/Switzerland
2001 / Othello, Kurze Fassung; first stage: December 2001, Deutsches Schauspielhaus, Hamburg
2001 / Meienbergs Tod, Groteske; first stage: April 2001, Theater Basel
2001 / Die Reise von Klaus und Edith durch den Schacht zum Mittelpunkt der Erde; first stage: January 2001, Schauspielhaus Bochum
2000 / Medeää. 214 Bildbeschreibungen; first stage: June 2000, Radiokulturhaus Wien for the Vienna Festival Weeks
2002 / Vier Frauen, Singspiel; first stage: May 2000, Schlachthaus Theater, Bern
2000 / 74 Sekunden, Monolog; first stage: March 2000, Blauer Saal, Zurich
2000 / Siebzehn Uhr siebzehn, Schauspiel; first stage: January 2000, Schauspiel Akademie Theater, Zurich
1998 / Sophokles’ Oedipus; first stage: August 1998, Escher-Wyss Premiere, Zurich

Vera and Michael are about to be divorced. Not a good time to argue about who is going to take care of their 7-year old daughter Rebecca the coming weekend. Michael, whose turn it actually is, must attend an important ear-specialists’ congress in Innsbruck and Vera wants to spend a weekend in Malaga with her new lover Paul. The babysitter, who was supposed to look after the child, is sick but Vera has organised a substitute: Alex, the 19-year old son of a distant acquaintance and budding film student in New York can stand in and look after Rebecca – an arrangement which Michael finds it difficult to accept but he does not see any alternative. So finally Vera and Michael go away for the weekend. But when they return after three days, Rebecca is missing. There has been an accident and the little girl is in hospital, seriously injured.

characters: 2 men, 1 woman Vera, Michael, Alex

– Extracts from Malaga –

Wednesday 1600hrs.

Vera: Maria is sick.
Michael: No.
Vera: She’ll not be able to look after Rebecca this weekend.
Michael Oh God, please, no.
Vera: Calm down.
Michael: Not that, not now, please.
Vera: Alex can stand in.
Michael: What. So everything’s taken care of.
Vera: I’ve taken care of everything.
Michael: So why don’t you say that in the first place.
Vera: Please.
Michael: Why do start out with a disaster report –
Vera: I… –
Michael: – only to tell me after a melodramatic pause that it’s no disaster at all and everything is taken care of.
Vera: Michael.
Michael: You made me face the horrible prospect on purpose –
Vera: Why did you actually –
Michael: – why do you –
Vera: – what was your –
Michael: – that’s mean.
Vera: Did something happen.
Michael: What.
Vera: Rebecca is sitting in her room sulking.
Michael: But she has no reason to.
Vera: How was your afternoon.
Michael: You know we wanted to go to the swimming pool.
Vera: But.
Michael: Rebecca didn’t have her swimsuit.
Vera: But I laid out everything.
Michael: If you mean the lilac coloured piece of scrap, that shred of fabric then I’m sorry. Not for a 7-year old.
Vera: But she chose it herself.
Michael: And I’m wondering what went wrong.
Vera: She’s just discovering her –
Michael: What went wrong in her upbringing.
Vera: She’s finding her own style.
Michael: A 7-year old girl doesn’t need her own style.
Vera: So you didn’t go swimming.
Michael: We went to the museum of medical history.
Vera: Please.
Michael: What do you mean? The bolus collection is world famous.
Vera: Sure, that would also put me in a bad mood too.
Michael: Anyway, she needs to be picked up from school on Friday afternoon.
Tell that to the babysitter.
Vera: I don’t know if Alex has the time.
Michael: But it was agreed that –
Vera: You’re the one who always picks her up on Fridays.
Michael: But not this Friday. My train to Innsbruck leaves at eleven.
Vera: So settle it with him, I’ll give you his number.
Michael: Settle what with whom?
Vera: Ask him if he can come at eleven.
Michael: Him?
Vera: Alex, for God’s sake.
Michael: Who the hell is Alex?
Vera: Alex Horn. Chantal’s son.
Michael: And why should I discuss that with him?
Vera: Because he takes care of Rebecca, that’s why.
Michael: I thought Alex was a girl.
Vera: Alex Horn. A girl.
Michael: I know that Alex Horn is not a girl, I thought Alex, who takes care of Rebecca, was a girl.
Vera: What girl.
Michael: Oh what do I know, a girl like Maria.
Vera: Alex is a man.
Michael: Then it’s out of the question.
Vera: That he’s a man.
Michael: To leave my daughter in the hands of this chap, out of the question.
Vera: Alex is nineteen and is very reliable.
Michael: Nineteen and reliable, a mutual contradiction.
Vera: And Maria. She’s not 17 yet.
Michael: But not a man.
Vera: Does that mean that only women should take care of children –
Michael: That simply means that I’m not going to leave Rebecca under the care of an unknown chap.
Vera: He’s no chap.
Michael: Chap is what a nineteen year old male human is called in my language
Vera: And it’s no harm when our daughter has a male human as a reference person –
Michael: She already has a male reference person.
Vera: Who’s hardly ever there, sadly.
Michael: I’m… Was this, this entire, this mess my idea perhaps.
Vera: Just because you moved out –
Michael: Moved out. I didn’t move out –
Vera: – you’re not relieved of your duties as a father –
Michael: – you threw me out –
Vera: I don’t have time –
Michael: On the street. On a Monday morning –
Vera: – to quarrel with my ex-husband –
Michael: We’re not divorced yet, Vera –
Vera – to quarrel with my future ex-husband –
Michael: So you want to take it to the bitter end –
Vera: For me it’s a beginning.
Michael: Oh, the old litany. Regained freedom after eight years in the gaol of wedlock.
Vera: I’m sorry you haven’t moved ahead. […]

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