Not Chicago. Not Here
Adapted for the stage by Michael Müller
When the new boy Karl first joins the class, Niklas is fascinated by him. Karl is cool, smokes, and has no trouble making a fool of their form mistress. But when Niklas is supposed to work together with Karl on a school project, the atmosphere suddenly changes. Karl takes things that don’t belong to him, lies, deceives and threatens Niklas with mounting aggression. He has no scruples about using psychological terror and physical violence, and his fits of rage are unpredictable and unmotivated. There is no discernible reason for his conduct – he is simply evil.(Patrick Wildermann, Der Tagesspiegel)
Niklas tries to tell his parents and his form mistress, but they don’t believe him. His tales about the ‘evil’ Karl sound too far-fetched for grown-ups who are used to a chain of cause and effect, action and reaction. The irrational doesn’t belong to what they imagine to be their own rational experience of the everyday world. After all, they are not "in Chicago", where the proverbial "baddies" are supposed to be. When at last the parents are forced to believe their son, because they see for themselves what Karl is capable of, the ground has already been taken from under Niklas’s feet. No, he is not in Chicago, but here he is no longer in his own familiar world either.
This famous book, which was published in 1999, has been dramatized for the first time by Michael Müller. Since it first appeared, the story has lost none of its topicality: abuse and bullying have, if anything, becoming a worse problem in the last few years.
"Is it painting in black and white to show a boy who has nothing but evil intent? Perhaps, but sometimes reality does without colour. And that is precisely what Boie focuses on: the fatal flaw of appeasement pursued by parents and teacher alike, in total denial of the true state of affairs. […] But sometimes there is good and evil, victim and perpetrator, and nothing in between."
3 m + 2 f, age 11+, premiered at the Theater an der Parkaue, Berlin, 12.06.2012 (directed by Kay Wuschek)