Roland Schimmelpfennig is one of the most produced European playwrights. His plays have been translated into over 20 languages and he made his US debut in 2007 with a production of his play Arabian Nights, produced by NYC’s Play Company.
He first worked as a freelance journalist and author in Istanbul before studying as a theatre director in Munich’s Otto Falkenberg School in 1990. He then became an assistant director and later a member of the artistic team at Munich’s Kammerspiele. Roland Schimmelpfennig was then engaged as dramaturg and author at the Berlin Schaubühne for the 1999/2000 season and was resident playwright at the Deutsches Schauspielhaus in Hamburg. In 2010, Schimmelpfennig was awarded the Mühlheimer Dramatists Award for his play The Golden Dragon. The play premiered at the Burgtheater Vienna last season and has since received more than 20 productions worldwide. He just finished a commission for the Tokyo National Theater and the Burgtheater in Vienna. Schimmelpfennig is the recipient of the highest Playwriting Award in Germany, the Else-Lasker-Schüler-Prize, to honor his entire Oeuvre.
We represent the English language stage rights in Schimmelpfennig’s plays in the USA and Canada. He is represented worldwide by S. Fischer Theaterverlag/Frankfurt/M.
PLAYS (available in English)
WINTER SOLSTICE transl. by David Tushingham
Christmas Eve. Bettina and her husband Albert aren’t happy. Bettina’s mother is staying for the holidays. Which is awkward. Not least because Bettina’s mother met a man on the train. And now she’s invited him around for drinks...
UK premiere at Orange Tree Theatre.
"(4 stars) The timing is perfect. With Ukip eagerly endorsing Theresa May’s Brexit strategy and Donald Trump about to be inaugurated as US president, along comes a transfixing play by Roland Schimmelpfennig about the historic danger of extremism...The work is deeply radical in form: spoken dialogue is mixed with scene-setting and description of characters’ thoughts as if it were a mix of play, film and novel...what really counts is that Schimmelpfennig, in portraying the failure of liberal intellectuals to confront the hideous legacy of the past, has written a potent play for today." - The Guardian
"(5 stars) The play is as funny as it is subtle. It is also thrillingly innovative, since Schimmelpfennig eschews conventional dramatic structure, instead combining dialogue and spoken stage directions with narration, interior monologues, repeated exchanges and enacted fantasies. Despite its lack of physical action, the play is never static. Schimmelpfennig’s writing, in David Tushingham’s pitch-perfect translation, and the expertise and commitment of the cast make for an evening as electrifying as any epic." - Sunday Express
“(4 stars) Schimmelpfennig wrote the play four year ago in response to the resurgence of the far right across Europe. It’s no accident that Ramin Gray’s trenchant, superbly performed UK premiere opens in the same week as the Presidential inauguration of Donald Trump with his talk of banning Muslims and walling off Mexicans, his popularity with the alt-right and his worrying Cabinet appointments. A timely warning about the risks of “normalisation." Strongly recommended.” - The Independent
ANT STREET transl. by David Tushingham
A snowstorm in a heatwave. A mysterious package delivered forty-two years late. A young man who speaks the poetry of the Gods. And a girl who can fly. Something strange is happening in Havana. Roland Schimmelpfennig’s Cuban fantasia imagines a family gripped by a miracle and a neighbourhood seduced by dreams of the past.
Developed at PEN World Voices: International Play Festival 2015.
PEGGY PICKITT SEES THE FACE OF GOD transl. by David Tushingham
The play begins with a married couple arriving at another couple’s house for a reunion. All four were best friends at medical school. All are now 41. Two have just returned from crisis work in Africa –escaping a particularly violent flare-up. They have been gone for six years. The other two stayed at home, had a child, and made a lot of money. Each couple looks at the other with envy. Both marriages are in trouble. The returning couple left behind a local child in Africa that the other couple was sponsoring. The evening turns into a post-colonial version of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf . Accusations, pain, anguish and bitter comedy are used to explore damage/guilt in the West.
Part of THE AFRICA TRILOGY- Commissioned and produced by Volcano Theatre, Toronto. US premiere at the Apollinaire Theatre, Boston, MA (2014).
“…the Apollinaire Theatre Company’s nuanced production finds the pressure points of comedy and tragedy in this disconcerting satire.” – Boston Globe
“…intriguing and the fourth wall staging is so stylistically unique that it is worth seeing how Schimmelpfennig uses this technique.” –Boston Events Insider
“…[a] darkly humorous masterpiece…bitterly funny version of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? for the post-colonial era.” – Goldstar
THE GOLDEN DRAGON transl. by David Tushingham
A beautiful giant cricket is exploited by an ant, stewardesses 30,000 feet in the air speak to boat people in the Atlantic, a tooth lands in a bowl of soup, and a dead boy is carried thousands of miles home on a river. Wielding a dreamlike kaleidoscope, making and remaking connections that span the globe, Schimmelpfennig tells THE GOLDEN DRAGON’s tragicomic tale of globalization. It’s set in your local takeout, wherever it and whomever you might be.
Presented at the Theatertreffen in Berlin in May 2010.
US Premiere at The Studio Theatre, DC, 2012 (subsequent productions at Quantum Theatre, Pittsburg (2012), The Play Company, NYC (2013), The Sideshow Theatre, Chicago (2014).
“…brisk, fantastical…the playwright finds innovative ways to link characters together–These connections establish a sort of shadow narrative–about migration, trafficking, globalism–that lurks just under the surface.” – Village Voice
“[THE GOLDEN DRAGON] has something chilling at its heart…you need to gird yourself for the bubbling whimsy to coagulate into something true and very, very hard…this every-spice-in-the-cupboard strategy works: The dish may be bitter, but it’s perfectly prepared.” – Time Out New York
“…tense, darkly comic…a disquieting, darkly funny drama that will shake even the most hardened viewers from their seats.” – DC Theatre Scene
“…kaleidoscopic …Schimmelpfennig serves up his own fusion style of storytelling…The Golden Dragon has an enigmatic allure..“-The Washington Post
“…(makes) abstract notions about globalisation – and immigration – grippingly tangible…remarkable.“-The Telegraph
IDOMENEUS transl. by David Tushingham
cast between 10-14 men and women
US Premiere at Sideshow Theatre in Chicago, 2012
PUSH UP 1-3 transl. by Melanie Dreyer
THE ARABIAN NIGHT transl. by Melanie Dreyer
WOMAN FROM THE PAST transl. by Melanie Dreyer