Marius Von Mayenburg and Roland Schimmelpfennig

Boenisch, Peter (2020) Marius Von Mayenburg and Roland Schimmelpfennig. In: Contemporary European Playwrights. Routledge, London. ISBN 9781315111940


Roland Schimmelpfennig and Marius von Mayenburg represent a new generation of playwrights to emerge in the German-speaking countries in the late 1990s; other prominent protagonists include Falk Richter, Lukas Bärfuss and Kathrin Röggla, as well as Dea Loher and Sibylle Berg. In this chapter, the author clearly shares some of their approaches, as both revisit and reinvent key conventional dramatic mechanisms, yet from a postdramatic horizon. Fireface, mapped out key themes as well as the (European middle-class) universe that keeps appearing in Mayenburg’s work in a variety of permutations. In Der Hässliche, premiered at Schaubühne Berlin in January 2007, Marius von Mayenburg plays a scathing game with postmodern ideas of the ‘performativity’ of subjectivity and contingency of identity. These academic ideas, in the context of neoliberal capitalism, contribute to an all-encompassing commodification of individuality. In fact, all of Marius von Mayenburg’s plays transcend the hyper-realities of his scenarios into grotesque exposures of absurdities of middle-class life under global capitalism.


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