May 20th Mon, 8:00 PM – 9:45 PM | S-klub


    Ewe Benbenek JUICES Nationaltheater Mannheim


    The lives of three women “flow with juices” – in the form of sweat, cleaning products, and bubble baths, indulged in by their successful daughters, determined and stigmatized by their origins. A metaphorical uncovering of the taboo working conditions of immigrant women in Germany – in a theatre accentuating the Eastern European perspective – interpreted with empathy by Kamila Polívková. In German with Czech subtitles. discussion follows

    Ticket price: 290 / 150 Kč

    An artwork of language!
    Steffen Becker, nachtkritik.de, 18 June 2023

    Nothing is illustrated, nothing is drawn, reality is not imitated. Instead, only intelligent hints, full concentration on the text and the acting. The actresses discreetly maintain the tension and lead the viewer through the text without revealing its secrets, without trivializing it.
    Franz Wille, Theater heute 2023


    This is it – you did it! While your Polish mothers were still cleaning corporate offices, you managed to succeed and rise up the social ladder. Now only a bright future awaits you, and existential anxiety or fear of tomorrow are definitely gone. Or are they not? Instead of finally relaxing, taking a hot, fragrant bath and letting yourself ride the wave of carefreeness, there still is the feeling that will not leave you alone: the fear for your own existence; the fear of failure and of falling into the abyss without a safety net spread out beneath you…
    Polish-German playwright Ewe Benbenek is one of the most interesting voices in contemporary German-language drama. In her acclaimed play Juices, she invites us to ride the fluid stream of consciousness of a trio of voices – A, B and C – that leads through memories, reflections and surreal images. The voices complement each other, sometimes contradicting each other, but always working together to find words that adequately describe the experience of second-generation Polish immigrant and working-class women in Germany. How to talk about the insecurity and shame of not really belonging to this new world? How to make sure that your narrative does not become just fashionable social kitsch? And at the same time, how to use your newfound voice in society to finally change the entrenched system in which women from Eastern Europe hold the most precarious jobs in the West?
    Kamila Polívková – known to the audience of the Flora Theatre Festival for her productions Víra, láska, naděje (Faith, Love, Hope); Herec a truhlář Majer mluví o stavu své domoviny (The Actor and Carpenter Majer Speaks of the State of His Homeland); and Macocha – is coming back to Olomouc with her first ever German production at the Nationaltheater Mannheim. Her strictly minimalist, visually precise production delves into the unexplored depths of consciousness and fluid thoughts through sophisticated video-images as a probe. At its centre remains the trio of protagonists of the Mannheim drama ensemble and their riveting work with Ewe Benbenek’s radical text.

    The first performance of Polívková’s production in the Czech Republic will mark the end of this year’s Flora Theatre Festival.


    directed by Kamila Polívková

    stage and costume design, video Antonín Šilar
    music Peter Fasching
    lighting design Antonín Šilar/Ronny Bergmann
    dramaturgy Dominika Široká
    theatre educator Ronja Gerlach
    costume design collaboration Marcus Eufinger 

    Antoinette Ullrich, Rahel Weiss, Maria Munkert

    premiere 17 June 2023


    The versatile artist Kamila Polívková (1975) has created costumes and stage designs for dozens of productions both in the Czech Republic and abroad, where she regularly appears as a guest alongside Dušan D. Pařízek. Between 2004 and 2012 she worked at Pražské komorní divadlo (Prague Chamber Theatre), where she also debuted as a director with a dramatization of Thomas Brussig’s novel Heroes Like Us/Hrdinové jako my (2009), followed by Víra, láska, naděje (2010) and Sam (2012) – all three of which were presented at the Flora Theatre Festival.
    Currently, Polívková also collaborates with Brno’s HaDivadlo (Macocha, Prezidentky/First Ladies, Zeď/The Wall) and the Husa na provázku Theatre (Nevyletět z Brna, je ze mě zkyslá srna), the National Theatre in Prague (online project Duchové jsou taky jenom lidi/Ghosts Are Only Humans Too), the Slovak National Theatre (Koncert na želanie) or Prague’s X10 Theatre (Vyhnanství/Exile).
    In her work, Polívková regularly works with video projection and systematically explores the principle of connecting a stage character and a live actor. She penetrates into the inner world of the characters and looks for areas of contact with the actor’s personality, thanks to which she then portrays what she truly understands internally. This is evidenced by her adaptations of novels (Macocha) as well as her acclaimed monodramatic projects (all presented at the Flora Theatre Festival) Sam, Herec a truhlář Majer mluví o stavu své domoviny, Skugga Baldur and Zeď. She tends to stage contemporary dramas and dramatizations, and collaborates extensively with playwrights on stage productions.
    She is the winner of the Josef Balvín Award for 2022 and the Divadelní noviny Award for the 2019/20 and 2015/16 seasons.

    Juices at the Nationaltheater Mannheim is Polívková’s first directing job in Germany.

    Ewelina “Ewe” Benbenek (1985), a rising star of German drama, was born in Poland but has lived in Germany since the late 1980s. She studied Literary and Cultural Theory and worked at the Department of Modern German Literature and Theatre Research at the University of Hamburg between 2014 and 2019. In her academic research, she focused on the exploration of post-migrant and post-colonial themes in theatre and contemporary drama, which is also significantly reflected in her artistic work. A few years ago, she left her academic career and decided to write for the theatre.
    For her debut Tragödienbastard (Tragedy Bastard), the talented author won the prestigious Mülheimer Dramatikpreis 2021, awarded for the best contemporary dramatic text in the Germanspeaking area. In the same year, she was voted the best emerging female playwright in a poll held by Theater heute magazine.

    The Nationaltheater Mannheim (NTM, Mannheim National Theatre) is with its four companies (opera, drama, dance and the Junges NTM) one of the largest and oldest repertoire city theatres in Germany. A landmark in the theatre’s history was the premiere of the drama The Robbers (1782) by the theatre’s then in-house playwright Friedrich Schiller. The event made the author famous and with him the Mannheim stage, which has hosted the biennial international Schiller Days festival since 1979. The Schiller tradition is also continued by the Hausautor*innen drama scholarship programme for contemporary authors. With the Mannheim Summer Festival, the NTM is following the tradition of the original court theatre associated with W. A. Mozart.
    Since the 2018/19 season, Christian Holtzhauer has been the intendant of the drama ensemble, during whose tenure both the ensemble and the audience have been rejuvenated and diversified. A number of the drama productions feature a female or international perspective and have been awarded or invited to major festivals, such as the Berliner Theatertreffen and the Radikal jung in Munich with a production of Schiller’s The Maid of Orleans in the 2021/22 season.


    Interview with director Kamila Polívková 

    Ewe Benbenek – video Mülheimer Dramatikpreis

    Discussion with s Ewe Benbenek and Michael Turinský on Nordwind – power of language

    Interview with dramaturge Dominika Široká


    photo Maximilian Borchardt