Dea Loher is one of Germany’s most highly esteemed German playwrights. Her plays have been translated into many languages and staged all over the world, including Australia, Switzerland, France, Great Britain, Greece, Finland, Denmark, Poland, Czechia, Japan and Latin America.
She was born in Traunstein, Bavaria, studied Philosophy and German Literature in Munich and “Creative Writing for the Stage” at Hochschule der Künste Berlin under Heiner Müller and Yaak Karsunke. Since their first collaboration on “Stranger’s House” in 1995, almost all of Dea Loher’s plays have been directed by acclaimed German stage director Andreas Kriegenburg. This collaboration became one of the most fruitful artistic relationships in contemporary German theatre.
Dea Loher received such highly regarded German drama awards as the Else-Lasker-Schüler-Dramatikerpreis (2005), the Bertolt-Brecht-Preis der Stadt Augsburg (2006), the Mülheimer Dramatikerpreis (1998 and 2008), the Marieluise-Fleißer-Preis (2009) and the Berliner Literaturpreis (2009). She has lived in Berlin since 1989.
We represent the English language stage rights in Loher’s plays in the USA. She is represented worldwide by Verlag der Autoren.
PLAYS (available in English)
AT BLACK LAKE transl. by Daniel Brunet
It happened four years ago. At Black Lake. Cleo and Eddie stayed. Johnny and Else left. Now, 1,460 days later, they meet again. They meet the first time. At Black Lake.
THIEVES (Diebe) transl. by David Tushingham
Twelve human destinies weave a web at the outskirts of a big city…
A young but moribund insurance agent and his sister who dreams of wolves, plus their father who lives in a nursing home, An employee of a supermarket with ambitions to become the boss, and her husband, a police man. A seventeen year old pregnant woman and the much older father of the child. A mysterious stranger searching for the truth in the lives of Mr. and Mrs. Schmitt. A crooked womanizer and an old singer who, after many years, suddenly claims her husband missing.
One character, Finn, who’s going to commit suicide, calls himself a “Tomason”, which – according to a Japanese philosopher – means something that has lost its raison d’être, an object of utility whose former purpose has fallen into oblivion. So this might be called a comedy about Tomasons; a collection of leftover fragments of lives, exaggerated into hyperrealism, often comic and bizarre.
THE FINAL FIRE (Das letzte Feuer) transl. by David Tushingham / transl. into American English by Daniel Brunet
One sunny day in August at the lonesome outskirts of a city, a boy is run over. He crashed into the car of a police woman who has been chasing a young car racer she mistook for a terrorist. Shortly before all this happened, a stranger had entered the district and made the acquaintance of the boy – now dead. Now this stranger is the only witness of the accident. In retrospect it slowly becomes apparent how the disaster infiltrates the fragile lives of all persons involved.
“An organic, breathing, painfully poetic kaleidoscope of human life.” -Süddeutsche Zeitung
LAND WITHOUT WORDS (Land ohne Worte) transl. by David Tushingham//American transl. by Daniel Brunet
LAND WITHOUT WORDS is a reflection on the potential of art in our everyday lives. In K., a city at the border of humanity, a painter experienced extreme violence and poverty. From that time on, she has lost vision of what subject her art could have at all. Dea Loher has created an impressive melodrama that asks inconvenient questions about what art can show, cause or change in our world.
LIFE ON THE PRAÇA ROOSEVELT (Das Leben auf der Praça Roosevelt) transl. by David Tushingham
“We’re all taught early how to accept the bed of nails life puts before you.” Praça Roosevelt is a square right in the middle of São Paulo: Offices, brothels, pubs, a Bingo hall, a tailor’s shop. Raimundo, unemployed, has settled down in this square and just stayed here. In the square, in front of Raimundo’s eyes, the lives of the play’s characters intersect and overlap in a mostly coincidental and cursory way. LIFE ON THE PRAÇA ROOSEVELT is about life in a mega-metropolis in which people try to take care of each other although everybody is lonely…
“Extremely explosive, deeply dramatic.” -Der Spiegel
INNOCENCE (Unschuld) transl. by David Tushingham//American transl. by Daniel Brunet
A European city, situated next to the sea…. Elisio and Fadoul are illegal African immigrants. They witnessed a woman drown at sea and didn’t help her. Fadoul finds a plastic bag full of money and meets the blind stripper Absolut. Franz has found his vocation in taking care of the deceased at an undertaker’s. His wife Rosa would like to have a child with him. Rosa’s mother, Frau Zucker, suffers from diabetes and lets Franz and Rosa take care of her by moving in with them. Ella, an aging philosopher, has burnt all her books and doesn’t believe in anything but the unreliability of the world. Stories from the fringe of society, brightly and clearly told in 19 scenes full of sorrow and desperate humour.
“One of the most beautiful plays of our time.” -Frankfurter Rundschau
“A poetic elegy of beauty and power, full of dark melancholy and sarcasm. The last or maybe the first political writer of our time. Now that hedonism is used up and Pop has become an anachronism, times work for Dea Loher.” -Süddeutsche Zeitung
WAR ZONE (War Zone) transl. by David Tushingham
Written for BBC, WAR ZONE demonstrates the impact of structural violence on the individual. Impressions of a trip to Kosovo provide the basis of the radio drama. The texts explore the inner area of war: they deal with the human being trapped in the logic of war.
MANHATTAN MEDEA (Manhattan Medea) transl. by Petra Lammers and Aaron Leichter
Dea Loher has transposed the antique myth onto today’s Manhattan. Medea and Jason are illegal immigrants from the war zone in Eastern Europe. They go underground in New York’s Chinatown. They struggle for a better life – to no avail – until one day Jason meets Claire, the chic daughter of a rich garment district entrepreneur nicknamed “sweatshop boss”. Jason decides to marry Claire and leaves Medea, taking their child with him. The play sets in on the eve of the wedding day. Medea is waiting for Jason in front of the bride’s family home on 5th Ave., determined to lure him back. She gets support from the doorman Velazquez and from Deaf Daisy, a mysterious deaf transvestite wandering about the streets. When Jason turns up it becomes clear that he is fatefully bound to Medea, while he refuses to come back to her. His father-in-law turns up, an imposing old man, although confined to a wheel-chair. He seems to know about yet another disturbing secret in Medea’s life. He forces her to give up Jason and their child for good and threatens to have her deported from the scene. Medea’s cause seems to be lost,…will the inevitable occur?
ADAM GEIST (Adam Geist) transl. by David Tushingham
“Adam Geist” is the passionate story of a simple young man who wants to be good but ends up guilty. He loses one thing after the other; the most painful loss of all is his mother’s life. Adam befriends junkies , foreign legionnaires and mercenary soldiers. He becomes the hero of the fire brigades, but takes revenge for the death of his friend by committing a chainsaw massacre. Within the world, he meets cruelty and maliciousness, and his answer is brutality.
“In a gentle, sometimes even funny way, Dea Lohers play leads into horror. Empathetic and disturbing at the same time, it describes the process of decline.”-Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
STRANGER´S HOUSE (Fremdes Haus)
Jane Sokolov immigrates from Macedonia in his twenties. Impending war and economical crisis have made him move to Germany, where he asks Risto for shelter. Risto is an old friend of the family, a dissident communist who himself escaped from former Yugoslavia twenty years ago. But Jane is greeted with mistrust because his presence leads to disturbances in Risto’s family. Risto’s daughter Agnes feels attracted to Jane, which provokes her husband’s jealousy. Catastrophy follows: Terese, Risto’s wife, commits suicide. Risto is forced to accept his responsibility – the past cannot be denied any longer. Risto has to confess that he is not the hero Jane and his family thought him to be. His escape from Yugoslavia actually wasn’t a heroic deed but a deal: the price was the betrayal of his best friend.
“A fable that suits our disenchanted Fin de siècle.” -Tagesspiegel
A family drama about incest, assault and a false, dangerous understanding of love and closeness in family. TATTOO questions the fatal glorification of the sacrosanct “family” as the ultimate way of living together.
“Short scenes and concise phrases between everyday language and poetry without frills describe a desolate family situation. The characters do not show what’s going on inside them. It is this restraint which makes the play so tormentingly intense.”-Neue Zeit
OLGA’S ROOM (Olgas Raum) transl. by David Tushingham
In the centre of this drama is the Jewish revolutionary Olga Benario, who was killed by the Nazis in 1942. In 1936, heavily pregnant, she was extradited from Brazil to Germany. After her newborn daughter was taken away from her, Olga died in a gas chamber. OLGA’S ROOM describes a historical, moving destiny in a tormenting way: the claustrophobia in the prison cell, the victim’s helplessness in the face of violence and torture.
“An explosive discussion of the question of what causes human beings to do violence to other human beings. But Dea Loher abstains from simple accusations – there is no sharp distinction between Good and Bad, any culprit can be a victim as well – and vice versa.” -Die Welt