Artistic Discoveries in European Schoolyards

Laura Naumann (Germany)

Sorry Dad, but I have to

Tut mir ja leid, Vati, aber ich muss

Text Extract

Scene 4

Ludwig tonight it’s bad it’s bad really bad worse than you can image
I’m such a wimp for not being able to stand it this bit of dad at home these few lectures and remonstrations and suggestions
stupid suggestions of all the better things I could do than what I plan
I try really hard I try to breathe calmly but I can’t stand it and I have to get out
out out out
I slam the door
take the path to Ms Rose’s house
and throw pebbles at the window

Ms Rose eeeeeeeeeh should I shoot you

Ludwig no it’s only me

Ms Rose storms out of her hut in disarray she is probably dressed in her colourful dressing gown again
she is armed

Ludwig I’m sorry this time it was intentional

Ms Rose in the middle of the night
what do you want

Ludwig to talk

Ms Rose to talk to me

Ludwig yes

Ms Rose what the hell

Ludwig I couldn’t stay at home
I thought I’d suffocate and burst and whatever

Ms Rose and so you come out here in the middle of the night

Ludwig didn’t know where to go
the people I know are not much help
I thought

Ms Rose I was never much
can’t just send you home
come in then
come on

Ludwig can we sit outside

Ms Rose yes
I don’t mind sure
wait a moment I’ll get a jacket

Ludwig and then she comes back with blankets and tea and we
set up camp wordlessly
we sit with the stars above us and I tell her the whole story
of my plan with my music
and my father’s first reaction

Dad you guys can’t be serious

Ludwig and the terrible girls

Girl wanna fuck

Ludwig and my father’s second reaction

Dad I won’t give you my permission
well I won’t support this
do whatever you want but don’t think that I’ll pick you up when you’re stuck somewhere out there with no money

Ludwig of my father in general

Céline when you want it the most there’s no easy way out

Ludwig and taking the opportunity I also tell her that I don’t have a mother better said that I have one but I don’t remember her because she left us when I wasn’t even two years old

Dad we have to be very strong now Ludwig
but that’s not a problem for us is it
we two we’ll be able to cope
modern fathers and sons modern father and son
it can be very beautiful

Ludwig that he doesn’t want me to do what I like and how he drives me crazy because he’s just shit at arguing

Dad that that’s not a job
musician what kind of job is that meant to be
anyway there’s enough of them already
I don’t want my son to be unemployed

Ludwig won’t shift from his position in the slightest

Dad it’s a waste no I’m saying no I won’t let you do this

Ludwig and never turns his music off

Céline when you want it the most there’s no easy way out
when you’re ready to go and your heart’s left in doubt

Ludwig and when he can’t think of anything else to say he comes up with these stupid theories

Dad why do you want to do this
did I not give you enough attention when you were young is that the reason
do you want to prove something to me
you don’t have to
I just want you to stay here in safety

Ludwig or even worse blames my mother

Dad I always feared that that thing with your mother wouldn’t pass you by without leaving a mark
and I also told her this but she didn’t want to listen just up and left

Ludwig and then I become angry terribly angry and say things I later regret
that it’s not my fault mum ran away that I can even understand why
that he’s a boring square
that his music makes me puke

Céline when you want it the most there’s no easy way out
when you’re ready to go and your heart’s left in doubt
don’t give up on your faith
love comes to those who believe it

Ludwig and that he can’t call what he does a life doing the same boring work every day then coming home and watching videos on youtube and making his own and uploading them

Dad that’s none of your business

Ludwig it’s totally my business
we’re related to each other
if what I do is your business then what you do is just as much my business
or let’s just stop this
that would be really great
if we had nothing more to do with each other

Dad oh yeah

Ludwig yeah

Dad then see how you’re able to get on by yourself

Ludwig I will

Dad I won’t do anything more for you

Ludwig I don’t need you
no one needs you

Dad now you’re going too far
go to your room right now

Ludwig piss off

Céline and that’s the way it ihiiiis

Ludwig and then I slam the door I’m pretty good at that and I run away I’m even better at that

Ms Rose well done

Ludwig Ms Rose I feel as if I’ve killed someone

Ms Rose maybe you have a little
but he’ll get over it

Ludwig and me

Ms Rose you too you have to
you still have things to do

Ludwig you like what we’re planning to do

Ms Rose I think it can never be wrong to have a plan

Ludwig my dad’s an idiot why is he such an

Ms Rose it’s not easy when you have to let go

Ludwig I’m not planning suicide
I’ll come back I

Ms Rose is he completely alone when you’re gone

Ludwig he has Céline

Ms Rose his girlfriend

Ludwig kind of

Ms Rose I have pen pals
something similar

Ludwig more imaginary
he loves this singer Céline Dion
he doesn’t know her of course
so it’s a very one-sided friendship

Ms Rose I understand

Ludwig I like it here with you

Ttranslation by Chloë Schwank)


Everything about Ludwig is alright. He doesn’t use drugs, he gets good grades, and he gets on well with his father – until Ludwig tells him, that after graduating from high school, instead of studying “something with a future and money”, he intends to go on tour with his band. From then on, the Celine Dion songs, which Ludwig’s father loves so much, are frequently drowned out by fighting and screaming; “and then I slam the door I’m pretty good at that and I run away I’m even better at that.”

What to do when you have to disappoint the ones you love? When the one person who should know you best, understands you the least? When you feel like having killed someone, and at the same time feel incomprehensibly angry? And when suddenly some girl stands outside the band rehearsal space and wants to have a relationship with you or simply “fuck now and then … the main thing is just having something with you.” Ludwig keeps on running away from the town. He smashes a window pane, and that’s a lucky break for him, because through this, he meets Mrs. Rose. Mrs. Rose came of age in the 1968 movement, and has seen a few things that she does not like to talk about; so she is not going to be rattled by a confused young man in her front yard, either. But Ludwig, repairing the window and weeding her garden, is something that she really did not expect; least of all, that she might take a liking to him. Slowly, with Ludwig telling his story, and Mrs. Rose asking precise questions and giving occasional answers, a friendship builds that will alter the outlook of both of them – until Ludwig nearly loses sight of his real plan.


© Laura Naumann 2009
© in the English translation by Chloë Schwank
© performing rights: Rowohlt Theater Verlag


1st Opening Theater Junge Generation Dresden (DE), December 12, 2009

M: 2
F: 2