Volksbühne Berlin am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz

House for sale

by René Pollesch

T: My dear sisters, life is not over yet. We shall live! And it’s the one dream that will continue to grow and intensify…

S: ...the dream of selling the house and breaking away from all this, and just smash somebody’s face.

M: Alright fine, but why not trying to talk with people first?

S: Oh no-no-no, lively discussions and looking deep into each other’s eyes, that’s certainly the wrong idea if you want to establish a close and satisfying relationship. That’s not the way to do it. What you need to do is hold your hands, get in position back to back and just dish it out. That’s how it ought to be done.

T: Great, let’s do a round of philosophy.

M: About what? Alright then, let’s dream ... about the life which comes after us in two-hundred or three-hundred years?

S: People still wouldn’t want to die then. They’d all want to stay alive, not for the joy of living though, but out of sheer spite. For the sake of outliving all the others. There once was a time when people were content to pass on what they had achieved in their lives to the next generation, happy that the world will move on. The young were looked at with a nostalgic feeling and a longing heart. And their lapses and failures got treated with indulgence. The oozing vitality of the young was never looked upon with envy, even if you got older. Nowadays though, the old are clinging to the young like vampires. Because they simply won’t want to die. Then it’s not a fifty-year-old lying next to you in your bed but a twenty-year-old. Like with me: A bed full of twenty-year-olds! Who wants to live the life of an old person? Nobody.

T: What a difference there is between what the case was once and what it is now. Hundred years ago people thought differently about it. The philosopher Chekhov said: In two-hundred or three-hundred years people will find our present day life horrible and look at it with an ironic sneer. Today’s world may appear awkward and rough, uncomfortable and odd. But forgive me, I’m philosophising again. I’m awfully fond of philosophy. I seem to be in the right mood for it.

M: Wasn’t it Shakespeare who wrote: “Methinks a believer man must be, always in search for the right faith; man has to have a religion, or else their lives are deemed empty and vain…”?

S: A noble thought indeed. Religion – wasn’t it once incorporated in a way of life as part of a particular cultural identity? In Bavaria you were a Catholic and in Tibet people were Buddhists. Today, however, the very same religion can thrive in two entirely different cultures. Within the new order, there are two separate functions assigned to religion: Either it plays a therapeutic or a critical role. Either it helps people function more efficiently within the framework of the existing order – like when an extremely busy hot Hollywood property wants to make himself fit for the impositions of neoliberalism with meditation and Buddhism. On the other hand, religion may play the role of the heretic, offering scope for dissenting and critical voices. Which is not at all easy though!

B: As the saying goes in the Bible: Lest righteousness be bestowed on us!

S: Yep, that’s correct, Big Earl! The children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light. And you just can’t beat the recklessness out of them. The steward from the parable in the Gospel of Luke Chapter 16 was not received into people’s houses for his beneficence but because he was playing dirty tricks. Because he forged bills and notes of debts. Never did he appeal to brotherly love or charity. Still, a protestant religious education teacher offering an interpretation of the story would insist: Mammon is and will remain unrighteous. Money may only be used for the benefit of the poor. Wrong, that’s not true at all! Actually the parable is about someone who opens the door to his neighbour’s house by cheating his way through life. Not by giving money to the poor. He is a destitute seeking to enter the hearts of his fellow men not by charitable deeds but by coldly deceiving others.

M: Christianity is not about justice. First and foremost it’s about turning the other cheek, too. Christianity is not founded on the principle of justice. It is based on the fact that someone gets betrayed by someone else for Christianity to evolve in the first place.

T: It’s really fascinating to see that – contrary to what it might appear – Jesus Christ is not playing some kind of perverted game with Judas, but that the latter is absolutely essential for the accomplishment of his mission, don’t you think?

S: The steward who got sacked and the people for whom he forged debt bills, they most certainly did not sit around a table looking each other emphatically into the eyes while they were listening to a tragic human story with nothing but sincere and heart-felt interest. The very idea would be intolerable. No, there is definitely a materialist access to the subversive heart of all Christendom. There must be. Why else would I be so interested in it.

B: Justice is not what I’m worried about. There’s cause for justice to be dreaded, you shouldn’t call too loudly for it. Who knows what comes out of it after all.

Duration: 1h 25min


With: Christine Groß, Mira Partecke, Sophie Rois and Bernhard Schütz

Director: René Pollesch
Stage Designer: Bert Neumann
Costumes: Tabea Braun
Light Design: Lothar Baumgarte
Sound: William Minke
Music: Roman Ott, Lars Gühlcke
Prompter: Tina Pfurr
Dramaturgy: Anna Heesen

Bernhard Schütz spielt für Bärbel Bolle, die am 21. März 2015 leider gestorben ist.

Inspiration by

Nick Lowe  -  Cruel To Be Kind
Nick Lowe  -  The Club
Nick Lowe  -  I Live On A Battlefield
Traveling Wilburys  -  Handle With Care
Nick Lowe  -  House For Sale
Nick Lowe  -  Soulful Wind