Talk show Host: Ladies and gentlemen! Good evening! Here begins our session today. As you know, our aim is to bring clarity to seemingly complex personal problems, through the medium of psychodrama. Certainly something with audience appeal... We are competing with talk shows, as well as those so-called reality shows. But only we are original! Only us! Judge for yourselves! (looks around the audience) Ah! Doctor Manz, there you are! (addresses the audience again) Dr Manz has informed me that he has a problem on his hands. He is hoping to solve it with our help. Please, Doctor, come up here and take a seat. (gestures to Frank to come up on stage and sit down on the chair next to him) The stage is our most effective tool. And honesty! Absolute honesty. Never deceive oneself! Itís very hard, of course, but we must try! (to Frank) Please, take a seat! (Frank sits down) So, young man. What is it thatís torturing you?
Frank: My marriage!
Host: Marriage, that outdated social institution!
Frank: Yeah, well, there probably is something thatís not right about it anymore. I mean, not just my marriage, but this whole construct of a man and woman living together. Whatís the point?
Host: Letís hear it!
Frank: Hear what?
Host: Your story!
Frank: Well itís quite a normal story! Happens everywhere, all the time. In fact, itís boring!
Host: Just be honest, Frank!
Frank: Alright, Anna and I, we were happily married. If you can call it that.We had worked towards a goal and, somehow, everything worked out. Work. Love, well, sex. Yeah, honestly. But then, whilst I whilst doing my research work in Leipzig I met a student, who I fell in love with. It just happened. Iíve never been free of her since. Now she has her degree and wants to come to Berlin. Would should I do?
Host: Does your wife know about this student?
Frank: She understands. I think.
Host: Is she here?
Frank: Yes. (points out his wife in the first row)
Host: Hello, Mrs Manz! Itís nice of you to have come. (to Frank) You said your wife understands. I might even imagine, from what I know, that she wants to help you. Am I right, Mrs Manz?
Anna: (hesitating) Yes, thatís right.
Host: Then I suggest we get to the point. And weíll do that by having you both show us a scene from your life. Ok? Preferably, youíll take a scene in which your problems were last brought up. Please, Mrs Manz, come up on the stage with us. (to the audience) Often in life, people say one thing and do the opposite. (Anna comes onto the stage) Please, take a seat. (Anna sits down) These two people (enters the audience) are not hiding from their problems. Thatís very clear. Nowadays, excuse my frankness, married couples head for swingers clubs and think that they can cement their marriages by doing so. They gratify their lust like animals, licking each otherís pussies and cocks before some hardcore screwing. Poor creatures! There you have it! (to Anna and Frank) Try to reconstruct the scene. Ideally, you will be talking to each other as usual, but usingÖasides, saying aloud what you would normally only be thinking. Do you understand? Thoughts that would otherwise be kept secret. That way, it will be easier for us to understand your motives. Have a think and then off you go! (moves into the background)
Frank: (to Anna) Yeah, maybe, hmm, the scene the other day, before I left?
Anna: Yeah, ok.
Frank: (after a short pause) What are you thinking about?
Anna: Do you know what day it is today?
Frank: Of course! Our anniversary.
Anna: The eleventh!
Anna: Oh, great!
Frank: (to the Host) I canít do it! Iím not an actor.
Host: Please! Quiet now! (to the audience) You must understand Ė the pair are naturally nervous in front of so many people. Excuse the comparison but getting naked in a swingers club and letting a totally unknown woman play with your penis, whilst sheís entered from behind, is now less of a big deal than baring your soul in public. (to Frank again) So, young man. This is what you wanted! Finally, a step in the right direction.
Frank: I never thought this would happen. (almost reproachfully to Anna) Arenít you bothered about talking about the whole fiasco?
Anna: Not anymore.
Frank: What did we do wrong? What did I do wrong?
Anna: Where is this hate coming from?
Anna: Why canít we come to an understanding?
Frank: Itís probably my fault.
Anna: I agree. Thatís why you can make decisions more easily than me. Youíre level-headed and independent. I always need the assurance of another person somehow, even when I have a specific goal in mind.
Frank: Thatís not how it is at all. Before we came to Berlin, you were the independent one, not me.
Anna: No! I was just trying not to be dependent. But itís got harder and harder recently. It was absolute hell for me, being at home when you werenít there, when you didnít show up as planned. How often I sat and waited! Absolute hell!
Frank: Well then you hid it well.
Anna: It was all just a form of defence!
Frank: You know I care about you.
Anna: Then why arenít you taking me with you this weekend?
Frank: She wouldnít open up or probably say a single word.
Anna: And? Would that be our problem?
Frank: I care about her too. I canít give either of you up.
Anna: And if we had a child?
Frank: Donít start all that! Iím glad we donít have any. It would just make everything more complicated. God, Iím clearly the selfish one...
Anna: Does she think youíre selfish too?
Frank: I would have thought so.
Anna: And why does she think that?
Frank: Because I donít pay her attention anymore.
Anna: I donít get it. Youíre always hanging round hers when youíre in Leipzig.
Frank: Donít exaggerate! Maybe recently, yeah. But actually, everything was purely platonic. Childish in fact. She had hoped that IĎd say something. But I was a coward, avoided it. When she found out that I was leaving Leipzig, she couldnít hold herself back any longer.
Anna: And how long was it Ďplatonicí like that for?
Frank: My interest, a timid interest, began about...a year and a half ago.
Anna: A year and a half!
Frank: I donít know how it was possible but my feelings for her just became more and more intense. It just completely came over me. I didnít know what I was doing. And, at the same time, my feelings for you changed. It just happened like that! God know how that happens! They didnít go cold exactly, no, but something changed. Fucking shit!
Anna: Weíve been through so much together. I had hoped that, if something like this happened, it wouldnít tear us apart.
Frank: I didnít want it to, really I didnít but, deep down, it sounds strange to say it, I mean maybe unknowingly, yeah unknowingly, I was secretly asking myself over and over again whether it makes sense living together.
Anna: And I was worried about you.
Frank: Well, weíll see from these three days.
Anna: I canít bear to imagine it. My husband with another woman, quite casually in a hotel, and me...
Host: Thank you! So letís see up to here. Youíve been married for eleven years and donít have any children. What does that mean? Love doesnít demand marriage. Or what are your thoughts on that? Is the purpose of getting married not to have children? The underlying reason for the fact that you donít have any is clearly deeply complicated. Presumably that same lack of decision-making power. (to the audience) It is always astounding, ladies and gentlemen, how little people are aware of the fact that, every day, they must make decisions. And, of these decisions, the one whether to have tea or coffee at breakfast, remains the most harmless. And so to you: a chid may be the cause of a new crisis but the other possibility is that it will make a marriage stronger. Did you want a child, Anna?
Anna: Not in the beginning but...lately, yeah.
Host: In the hope that a baby could help you to keep Frank?
Anna: Yeah, well, partly.
Host: Perhaps thereís a relatiobship between Frankís homelife before he was married and his reluctance to have a baby. (to Frank) Whatís your story?
Frank: God, what am I meant to say to that?
Host: Do you have any brothers or sisters?
Frank: Three sisters.
Host: How old?
Frank: All younger.
Host: Whatís your relationship like with them?
Frank: Not particularly good.
Host: In what way?
Frank: I think IĎve got more serious goals in life than they have.
Host: Are you much older?
Frank: Thereís three years between me and the eldest.
Host: Are your sisters affectionate towards you?
Frank: If they are then they express it in a negative way, through criticism.
Host: And whatís it like with your mother and father?
Frank: Good. You know. Although...itís different with each of them.
Host: Did you get married with your parentsí blessing?
Frank: They didnít want us to.
Host: Oh! And why not?
Frank: They didnít think it was financially viable for us to get married. At that time anyway.
Host: And? Have financial difficulties contributed to your current situation?
Frank: No. No, that has nothing to do with it.
Host: Right, ok. Thatís not of much help to us now. On to Ellen. How did this affair come about?
Frank: I met Ellen in September, at the beginning of the academic year. She caught my eye because she always sat in the front row. She then sat there in my seminars for two years, always very shy and retiring. I felt drawn towards her. She had a way of moving and of looking at me, it was always like being struck by lightning. And yet I always looked on her as a child. Already forcing myself not to do anything stupid.
Host: Is she much younger than you?
Host: So when did your interest no longer seem stupid?
Frank: Hard to say. There was some sort of impetus when the relationship with my wife was not so...so thrilling.
Host: And what was the reason for that? Was there a sort of breaking point?
Frank: Yeah, I think there was.
Host: And when was that?
Frank: When we moved in with my wifeís family.
Host: (to Anna) Would you agree?
Anna: Well, in hindsight, Iíd say that we were already having problems.
Host: In what way?
Anna: Letís say we were in a tight spot. After our landlady passed away, we had to leave the room we were subletting and where weíd obviously become very close. We moved in with my parents, to save money as well.
Host: And suddenly you werenít as close anymore!
Frank: I always felt like I was being watched.
Host: Wait a second! (to Anna) Did your parents approve of you getting married?
Anna: My mother objected to it because, well, she didnít really trust Frank. And my father was convinced it was wrong.
Host: Hardly a good basis on which to move into their home.
Anna: We were really too old to.
Host: How old were you when you got married?
Host: And yourself?
Frank: Twenty-eight. Can I say something on this subject Ė it was just unfortunate that we had to move in with her family. Anna has a twin sister, whoís a real snob, borderline neurotic even. She was always interfering. In things that really didnít have anything at all to do with her.
Anna: I had tried to break away from my parentsí influence. Then suddenly we were both at their mercy.
Host: What made it so bad?
Anna: Should I tell it like it is?
Frank: Her parents lived in their own little bubble, I imagine theyíd been somehow let down by life. I was always glad when the weekend was over.
Host: How long did you live with Annaís parents?
Frank: Nearly two years.
Host: Did you contribute to the familyís living costs?
Frank: My wife helped with the housework.
Host: Ok. So it was quite a good set-up then. From an economic perspective.
Frank: It was appealing, yes.
Host: You thought youíd married one person but instead you were all of a sudden married to a whole family.†
Anna: At some point, I realised there was conflict but I could never have guessed that it went so deep. My two brothers and twin sister were always there. They were without spouses or real friends and all somehow resented the fact that one of their sisters could be so independent and want her own life. There was constant friction.
Host: (to Frank) What was your relationship like with her twin sister?
Frank: That I do know: complicated. She liked Anna to a certain extent and yet she still rejected her. She seemed to want to build up a sort of, I donít know, friendly affection towards me. She was always coming to me with some problem or other, as if little things were really important. So she would act as if, sometimes, if Iíd wanted to, I donít know... Sometimes I was deliberately off with her. Also, it was impossible for her to establish a stable relationship with men. She had a habit of starting something, casting her net, she was quite subtle about it, but sooner or later, either she or the man would always break the relationship off. Thatís when sheíd be all keen on me.
Host: Thank you! Thatíll do for now. Or was there ever something between you and the sister?
Frank: No way, she wasnĎt my type at all.
Host: Thank you. (to the audience) It must be said that it is rare to get such an honest account as the one Frank has just given us. Let us now try, in just as honest a fashion, to form to an initial judgement. The impression I get is that for both of them, for Anna as for Frank, it was impossible to put an end the scene just now, although they were beginning to go round in circles. That leads us to an interesting phanomenon that most likely applies to their problem. I mean the fact that there are men and women, who are quite capable of starting something new, but cannot then bring it to an end. For the most part, this inability is the common thread running through their whole life. They carry the weight on their shoulders, so to speak. Usually, this, handicap shall we say, first comes to light when they want to leave the family home but it is not possible for them to really break free. The parents often have to make the decisions for them. Frank is a prime example. It seems to that me that he would prefer it if the women decided! (to Frank) It would have suited you if Anna had said that she didnít want to stand in your way but to get a divorce. And it would also have suited you if Ellen had said that she may well be in love with you but was too young for a proper relationship and that you should go back to your wife. In this way, she would have taken responsibility for the decision. I get the impression that you are suffering from your indecision. You could probably satisfy both women for long enough, thatís not normally the problem. But you cannot resolve the conflict and so the two women suffer with you. Although, Ďsufferí is perhaps used too frequently. It is more that you are torn between the misery that comes from reflecting on the reality of your actions, and the haste with which this may be overlooked. So Frank, please act out your last meeting with Ellen.
Frank: (perplexed) With Ellen?
Host: Yes, with Miss Reich. I invited her. Please, Ellen, come in.
(Ellen comes in, Anna runs out.)
Host: Donít worry, Frank, my assistant will look after your wife. Ellen, hello there, nice of you to come, thank you. As you could probably hear from outside, we have already touched on some problems. Now Iíd like to include you. So hereís my question: You recently met up with Frank?
Ellen: In a guesthouse in Southend.
Host: Did the meeting go smoothly or was there any trouble?
Ellen: We had a row.
Frank: Would you call it that?
Ellen: Wouldnít you?
Host: About what?
Ellen: On the last day. I brought you breakfast in bed.
Host: You brought it to him?
Ellen: Yeah, for us.
Host: And thatís why you had an argument?
Ellen: No! A row! It was just a row!
Host: Row, friction, there are lots of words for it, and nothing quite fits. So please, act out this situation. Remind yourselves and show us, as best you can, what happened. Take a seat, imagine, this is the breakfast table. Ready to go?
Host: Then begin!
Frank: Iím not prepared for this.
Host: Not a problem. Just be spontaneous, from memory. Please!
Frank: I really donít know! Yeah... (he tries to remember) How did it happen again? (to Ellen) Can you remember?
Ellen: More or less, just act something out!
Frank: Right! Letís start. Did you sleep well?
Ellen: Excellent, thanks.
Frank: Other than that?
Ellen: If youíre asking: these three days have been the most precious weíve had since you went away.
Frank: I thought so too. Having to leave was really awful. But my feelings for you didnít change when you werenít there.
Ellen: Howís Anna?
Frank: Come on, leave her out of this!
Ellen: Does she know that weíre together?
Frank: Itís a difficult time for her, obviously.
Ellen: Are you sure that she can handle it?
Frank: She has to.
Ellen: It would be easier for you if you stayed with her.
Frank: I think sheíll get over it in time.
Ellen: Itís stupid, I know, but I have a guilty conscience. Itís her I feel sorry for in all this. I feel guilty.
Frank: We have so much to talk about.
Ellen: We do indeed, lots. We have to talk openly about this situation for once.
Frank: I donít want to lose you.
Ellen: Iím the intruder. Iím dragging you away from Anna.
Frank: Have I ever told you I love you?
Ellen: The problem is, I started it.
Frank: I donít know if I could bear to live apart from you. Shit! (to the Host) Thatís not how it was! We werenít sitting at the table, we were in bed! You think completely differently there.
Host: Then please! Here is a nice wide couch. Use the furniture. Within reason when in public. If you know what I mean.
Frank: Yes! (to Ellen) Come on! (Ellen and Frank lie down on the couch)
Host: Try to find the right position. Cast your mind back and pick up the story again.
Frank: Yeah, I am. (puts his arm around Ellen, moves in to kiss her, pauses) Hmm, itís weird! I donít know whether I should say that here...
Host: But of course!
Frank: Iíve just suddenly realised something. I donít know.
Host: Do tell.
Frank: Ok, hereís the truth: As soon as I get close to Ellen, I have a tremendous need for affection. It just takes over me, I donít know why. She exudes something that magically attracts me. Itís a lust for love, a need for affection. Feelings that I never get with Anna. I must be jinxed!
Host: Ok, I understand. But then there must be other emotions. You left Ellen anyway. Please letís get back to the point. Ellen, perhaps youíll be of help. How were you feeling at the time?
Frank: Think about it carefully.
Ellen: (after a momentís hesitation) Yeah, kind of the same. When you left Leeds, I felt like it was all over. I never once dared imagine what might happen if we never met again.
Frank: (stroking her arm) The last words you said to me at the timeÖso sweet! So wonderfully sweet. Iíll never forget them.
Ellen: Since then Iíve realised, you know? Iíve realised that youíre important to me. Essential. You know? Youíre essential in my life! But the easiest thing would obviously be to just disappear.
Frank: Donít be crazy! Those three days were wonderful, really!
Ellen: Donít you realise that I have no idea how I could live with you? You canít just wipe out eleven years of your life. Especially not you!
Frank: Weíve known each other for two years!
Ellen: Eleven years beats that!
Frank: And we had those three days!
Ellen: Eleven, for crying out loud! Eleven years! (Anna comes back. Ellen turns to the Host) Should I react to that?
Host: Up to you!
Ellen: Ok then. Will your wife put up a fight?
Frank: I donít know why youíre bringing that up. Wouldnít we be better off trying to make up our minds about what we want to do?
Ellen: Sure! We end this and go home! If we get carried away and romance blossoms, it will only get harder and harder to make a decision. It was beautiful, wonderful, youíre the best, in bed and just in general, but now itís over! The end!
Frank: Romance would have been spending our time somewhere in the countryside.
Ellen: The countryside! You always change the subject! Could it just be possible that you want both of us?
Frank: Probably. Most probably in fact.
Ellen: But if that isnít possible now and you have to decide: why not pick the woman you know? Is it so impossible to have romantic feelings for someone after eleven years?
Frank: Love, weíre eleven years older! The romance is pretty worn-out.†
Ellen: Time and age donít mean anything! Nothing at all!
Frank: I beg to differ!
Ellen: Well, I hate these horrible circumstances anyway!
Frank: My feelings for you are different to those I have for Anna.
Ellen: Yeah and? What does that mean for us?
Frank: You and I, weíre physically and emotionally more similar to one another. Weíre both just as sensitive. We like the same things and think the same, we just speak the same language.†
Anna: (sarcastically) Quote, eleven years ago! Your exact words!
Host: (calming her down) Please, Anna! Be patient.
Ellen: Was it like that with Anna? She seems to remember it exactly.
Frank: Hmm, IÖ!
Ellen: So how was it?
Frank: Ok, honestly: I will never forget how she helped me become a man. Thatís for sure. And she really helped me get my promotion. Thatís the truth of the matter. All the paperwork, you know. But itís hard to forget the two years when her family made me so miserable.
Ellen: Her family, ha!
Host: Thank you! Letís pause here. (to the audience) Men, as we well know, do not always choose the women with whom it is easiest to live. Women are no different. Why must we fall in love when such difficulties arise from it? Letís ask Ellen. You donít regret accepting my invitation?
Ellen: Youíre testing my patience with this make-believe. Iím worried Iím gonna lose it.
Host: There are many love triangles. And lust is usually found in just one corner. It is a recurring pattern, in all levels of society. It affects the young and the old. It is not at all extraordinary, it has existed all throughout the history of mankind, not literally though, of course. What should one do in order to win the heart of the desired other? Be oneself or lie? One wavers in indecision. Usually, one does both, without thinking. We would all like to choose the partner who best complements us, with whom we are able to live happily, without friction or opposition. Can you imagine how glorious it would be if all love was reciprocated, if you had just met Frank and, after falling in love with him, found out that he loved you too? But sadly thatís not how the world works! No! It does not! Not always, or rather rarely, do we get the people we desire. And our inability to fulfil this desire gives us the greatest difficulties of all. Again and again and again. And all over the world! You are just one in a million, Ellen! Whatís so unpleasant about that?
Ellen: I just donít get why I, of all people, have found myself in such a stupid situation.
Host: What do you mean?
Ellen: I mean that I hate it when things are difficult. Seriously! Not being able to do something! Thereís something not right in what you just said. Once Iíd set my sights on him, I could get him into bed. But circumstances have been against me! Otherwise, everything would be practically perfect!
Host: Each one of us has a desire for perfection. Perfection in what we wear, how we speak, in our jobs and especially in love. And you had all that under control! No doubt about it!† Do you actually have any reason to believe things are difficult? Here are three people: you, Frank and Anna. There is nothing unjust about your situation. You are merely weighed down by desires and problems, which everyone has.
Ellen: I feel, almost physically, that itís something unlucky or unpractical, something stupid! Yeah, stupid!
Host: Do you really want him? Is it a question of lust with love? Or are you by any chance just tired of being alone and simply want a companion in lust?
Ellen: (angrily) Lies! Itís all lies!
Host: Be patient, Ellen! Please, be patient! Have you lived alone for a long time?
Ellen: Iíve always lived with my parents. My motherís still alive, my fatherís dead, in case you need to know that as well.
Host: Do you have any brothers or sisters?
Host: What did you father do?
Ellen: He was a lawyer.
Host: How did your parents meet?
Ellen: Whatís that got to do with it?
Host: The first encounter is always important. For instance, how did you meet Frank? Yes, letís see how you met. Frank, can you remember?
Frank: The first time I met Ellen?
Host: Do you remember it well?
Frank: Very well!
Host: And Ellen?
Ellen: He hasnít got a clue about when we first met!
Host: What makes you say that?
Ellen: Iíd already been to his seminar a couple of times and he didnít even glance at me.
Frank: Rubbish! The second time, the very first thing I did was see whether you were there!
Host: Ok, that was a silent prelude then. And where did you first meet properly?
Frank: In the street. She just suddenly spoke to me. It was a really stupid question. She wanted to know how to get to Leeds Central Library. She was asking me as someone from Leeds., but at the time I didnít know it was her home town.
Host: Please, act it out for us. Tell us your thoughts as well, so that we know your motives.
Ellen: Itís hard! (looks at the audience)
Host: Donít worry, theyíve all been through similar things. So please! How did it happen?
Ellen: He was standing at the bus-stop.
Frank: I was waiting for the Number 95.
Ellen: I plucked up the courage to say: Excuse me, can you tell me how I get to Leeds Central Library from here?
Frank: (gesturing) By coming this way with me.
Ellen: Oh, youíre going there too? (to the Host) I suspected as much!
Frank: The bus isnít coming anyway, itís easy enough to walk there.
Ellen: Yeah? It must be quite far, all the past that Henry Moore statue.
Frank: Not at all! This is the best way! (starts walking) Come on! Itís a shortcut!
Ellen: Ok, great! (starts walking too)
Frank: Something only the locals know!
Ellen: Ah, thatís cool!
Frank: Do you like Leeds?
Ellen: The airís horrid.
Frank: Nothing you can do, itís a city.
Ellen: And it used to be even worse!
Frank: Do you like it at the University?
Ellen: How come youíre asking that?
Frank: Youíre a student, arenít you?
Ellen: Yeah I am.
Frank: Getting on alright?
Ellen: Iím finding that too much just gets thrown at us.
Frank: The best thing to do is absorb everything first and then gradually digest it.
Ellen: Yeah, thatís probably how it should be done.
Frank: By the way, you know, perhaps Iím being too bold here, but I like listening to you talk.
Ellen: Do you?
Frank: I could walk and listen to you like this for hours!
Ellen: Ah, am I right, that building there?
Frank: Come on, Iíll show you...
Host: Thank you! And since then have you often been to Leeds Central Library together?
Frank: I wouldnít say often.
Ellen: Only when it came about, just because.
Host: I see. And what happened: did you tell her you were married?
Frank: Yeah, it was at the bus-stop again, I think.
Ellen: Yeah, the weather was miserable. I had a feeling he was going to take advantage of the situation.
Host: Please show us.
Frank: Well, umm, she was standing there, waiting under the shelter. And, as I came up, I saw that she was looking, as if she was waiting for me.
Host: (to Ellen) Is that right?
Ellen: He wanted to come past, but I stepped forward so that he couldnít.
Frank: And I started going: blah blah blah, miserable weather, or something like that.
Ellen: Yeah, you started talking about your winter coat.
Frank: Thatís it! I said: I almost put my winter coat on.
Ellen: (laughs) Iíve got mine on.
Frank: (stepping from side to side, clearly hurried) Clever girl, eh!
Ellen: The bus should be here soon.
Frank: Sorry, I canít get it today. I have to hurry to get home. My...my wifeís expecting me.
Ellen: All the nice guys are married. Thatís what they say.
Frank: Iím nice?
Ellen: What does your wife do?
Frank: Sheís a teacher but she doesnít work anymore. Her family donít want her to work, you know. We live with her family... because itís somehwere to live.
Ellen: Iím single.
Frank: Oh great! Excuse me, I have to go now.
Ellen: Of course. Of course, goodbye.
Frank: Goodbye. (Leaves)
Host: (to Ellen) What did you think when he told you that so casually like that?
Ellen: I shouldnít get too attracted to him.
Host: Which is something you didnít keep to?
Ellen: In the beginning I did. But then, one day, out of the blue, I told Frank that he should visit me sometime and bring his wife along.
Host: So you cunningly sezied the opportunity in the situation?
Ellen: Is that how youíd describe it?
Host: One might interpret it in such a way.
Ellen: I wanted him to come to mine. Perhaps it was a crazy idea but with his wife there, it would be a completely harmless visit.
Host: And did this visit happen?
Host: (to Frank) Was it not quite odd? Taking your wife to a studentís home?
Frank: Of course it was! But when I think back on it now, I was really curious to see how this woman lived.
Ellen: And be close to me!
Frank: Yes, that too! If my wife went with me, it was as harmless as it could be, for my wife as well.
Host: Thatís logical. This visit is interesting. Anna, please join in, itís important for you too. Come on!
Anna: If you want. (comes onto the stage)
Host: Please, cast your mind back. How did it all happen? Letís imagine that this is Ellenís flat. No need for introductions. (Ellen, Anna and Frank get into position) So, everyone ready? Then off you go!
Ellen: Pleased to meet you. Frank, er, your husband has told me a lot about you.
Anna: Heís talked a lot about you too. Youíve furnished it lovely. It must be nice to have a flat like this.
Ellen: Please, sit down!
Frank: Thank you. Yes, you do have refined taste.
Anna: Frank, do you think weíll ever have a flat like this?
Frank: Why not?
Ellen: Just a little snack. Please help yourself!
Frank: Ah, youíre a good cook, eh?
Anna: Mmm, itís amazing.
Frank: Ah, and there, the complete works of Thomas Hardy. Exclusively from HarperCollins, if Iím not mistaken. Canít find that anywhere these days!
Ellen: (to Anna) Would you like a cigarette?
Anna: Yes, thank you. Do you see Frank often at University?
Ellen: Yeah, I suppose. I attend his seminar once a week.
Frank: You really do have a mini library here!
Ellen: Youíre exaggerating. Some of the books belong to a friend. Unfortunately, I canít buy everything I want.
Frank: Ah, whatís this I see: Lady Chatterley! (picks the book up)
Ellen: Of all the books you could have picked up...
Anna: The sex story?
Frank: Sheís not that bad!
Anna: I think we should go now.
Ellen: Oh please donít, not yet. (takes the book from Frank) Youíre so nosy! Coming here and rummaging around in my books.
Anna: It was nice of you to invite us. I wasnít sure but then I just wanted to see for myself this student that Frank is nurturing so selflessly.
Frank: Oh, am I?
Anna: Or am I exaggerating?
Ellen: I donít know. Your husband is very fair. He nurtures everyone actually.
Frank: Ok, thatís enough on the subject. It was nice to have come but now we really must leave. Goodbye, see you tomorrow! (leaves the stage)
Anna: Goodbye, good luck with your studies. (leaves the stage)
(Ellen also wants to leave)
Host: Ellen, hang on a moment, please! Tell us, was the farewell really so abrupt?
Ellen: No! It went a bit differently to that.
Host: And what was your impression of Anna? At the time?
Ellen: Hmm, how shall I put it... She seemed quite artificial. I donít particularly like the woman and I have a feeling sheís not that fond of me either.
Host: (raises his hand to calm them down then turns to Ellen) How long were you together that evening?
Ellen: Quite a while I think. It was strange. It always seemed as if there was a row waiting to happen and yet the two of them just stayed there like they couldnít like leave.
Host: Did Anna talk about herself?
Ellen: More than I did about myself anyway.
Host: And how did you find Frank?
Ellen: It was quite unsettling for me. He seemed to show his wife more affection than I had hoped.
Host: And vice versa?
Ellen: She seemed quite independent of him.
Anna: Just a minute, young lady!
Host: Please, Anna! (to Ellen) So you thought that the two of them were closer than youíd have liked?
Ellen: I donít think thatís what I thought. I just didnít want to think about it at all.†
Host: I see. What was your attitude towards Frank after this visit?
Ellen: I had one thing confirmed: his private life was off limits.
Host: Did you say that to Frank?
Ellen: Of course not.
Host: So you had a clear feeling that you were better off keeping your distance?
Host: Did Anna encourage that at all? Did you, for example, get the impression that evening that Anna said something on the side that was actually meant for you personally?
Ellen: I donít think so. She talked more to fill time and to hide her feelings.
Host: Please, patience, Mrs Manz.
Anna: Maybe I should just listen quietly?
Host: WouldnĎt you rather leave us alone for a moment?
Anna: Yes, I would! (gets up)
Host: My assistent will get you something to drink outside. (Anna leaves) Did Anna flatter you and say nice things?
Host: Did you think her sincere?
Host: (to Frank) Do you think she was suspicious and wanted to find something out?
Frank: No idea. But I must have told her a lot about Ellen, without meaning to, more than I should have.
Host: Did Anna suspect you had feelings for Ellen?
Frank: I donít think so but Iím not sure. She was probably suspicious the whole time about something or other but I didnít notice at all.
Host: (to the audience) This is often the case, secret lovers have no real control over themselves anymore. They behave conspicuously and unsually, without noticing. (to Frank) Were you living with Annaís family at that time?
Host: And you developped a certain dislike of that family?
Frank: There was already a sort of reservation. And thatís when it escalated.
Host: You were afraid of getting found out.
Frank: I canít remember.
Host: Did you pass on your certain aversion to her family onto your wife?
Host: But by living with Annaís family, you were able to write your dissertation?
Frank: It was a catch-22.
Host: In what way?
Frank: I would have had to stay in halls. In Annaís parentsí house, I had peace and quiet. And the main thing was that I didnít have to worry about anything, only my work. Anna had my back. She also wrote out every page, sometime twice or three times, when it had to be reworked.
Host: I see. Tell us, were you ever involved in another affair, before you met Ellen?
Frank: No. Thatís not what Iím like.
Host: How long had you been living with Annaís family when you met Ellen?
Frank: About seven, eight months.
Host: And how much longer did you stay there for?
Frank: A good year.
Host: And in this time, you grew more and more interested in Ellen.
Host: So the relationship didnít develop quickly. You took over a year. Is that not quite a long time for two grown adults?
(Ellen and Frank laugh in agreement)
Ellen: Thank you.
Host: Surprisingly long, in fact. Frank, how long did it take you to become acquainted with Anna?
Frank: With Anna? Hmm, a couple of weeks or so.
Host: So everything just flowed then, compared to this. What caused your particularly slow progression towards your goal? Did you even have one?
Frank: GoalÖthatís not the right word. I didnít have a goal. Something just sprang up inside me. I had no hand in it. Thatís why I was so uncertain. With Anna, I wanted her. With EllenÖ
Frank: Ok. Ultimately, I wanted her too.
Host: Can you explain why you wasted so much time?
Frank: Hey, listen! As a married man, youíre bound to be hesitant, if you still have some integrity. Right?
Host: So the fact that youíre married was what held you back?
Frank: Well, yes, definitely!
Host: You never had the desire to get closer to her and tell her that you loved her?
Frank: But of course!
Ellen: I could sense it!
Host: (turning to her) But you held back as well?
Ellen: Sort of.
Host: A barrier went up when you found out that he was married. How long after your first encounter did he tell you?
Ellen: About six weeks.
Host: And by this time, you were already sure of your feelings for Frank?
Ellen: I guess so. Otherwise Iíd hardly have had the courage to invite them round. You know, sometimes people do things even they donít understand.
Host: Right, weíve already spoken about that. So then there was this visit. Did you do anything afterwards to stop him seeing you or to make it more difficult?
Ellen: I avoided him for a while. Iím not proud of that now.
Host: And you, Frank?
Frank: At first, I suppressed my feelings, really suppressed them. And yet I was always trying to get close to her.
Host: Were you afraid of losing her?
Frank: I wouldnít have told Ellen I loved her if that situation hadnít come about.
Host: So the situation arose?
Frank: Yes, somehow.
Host: Reconstruct this situation. Please!
Frank: Yeah, hmm... It was at University, after a lecture. We just happened to meet. Is that right?
Frank: Somehow youíd been determined for us to meet. Anyway, you suddenly stopped mid-step. I was directly behind you, I couldnít dodge you.
Frank: All of a sudden, I heard myself saying something like: Ellen, do you have a minute?
Ellen: Yes, thatís what he said. And I didnít know whether I should.
Frank: And I thought: She has to come this time. What a day! I said. Utter madness.
Ellen: It was like a dream. I didnít want to talk intimately with him, that I was sure of.
Host: But you stopped mid-step?
Ellen: Yeah, ridiculous!
Host: Please, act it out!
Frank: Shall we sit down?
Host: Sit down?
Frank: Yeah, the walking bit, weíre not gonna be able to do that now. Weíre sitting on a bench.
Host: Go ahead!
(Ellen and Frank sit down)
Frank: Yes, now how did it happen again? God, Iím just as flustered again now.
Ellen: I think I said: Actually, I donít have any time.
Frank: Yes, yes! And I went: Do you know, Iíve honestly met all kinds of women, but with you, I donít know where I stand.
Ellen: You havenít had much of a chance to get to know me as a woman.
Frank: Actually, I havenít got to know much about you.
Ellen: (to the Host) Thatís how I wanted it to be.
Host: Good, good, carry on.
Frank: Do you know, thatís why now, itís, Iíve got a job in London.
Frank: Itíll give me the opportunity to find out whether Iíve got what it takes to be a successful academic. But I donít like the thought that then Iíd have to leave.
Ellen: So just stay.
Frank: Would you miss me?
Frank: Iíll miss you. I will.
Frank: Iím been dreaming about you for weeks.
Ellen: Iíve dreamt about you too. Then I guessed whyÖand tried to forget.
Frank: Whereís this going?
Ellen: Where can it go?
Frank: Weíve never once talked about us, properly. I have to leave in three weeks!
Ellen: Then Iíll just have to get over it somehow.
Frank: I could stay here, but Iím still married. What would come of it?
Ellen: Nothing good, I imagine.
Frank: I donít know what I can do about leaving you behind like this. I have loved you for much longer than Iíve liked to admit.†
Ellen: Well, what can we do?
Frank: Iím afraid thereís nothing we can do. The best thing will probably be to say goodbye and forget it. Throw ourselves into work and forget it all. Shit!
Ellen: Yeah, shit!
Frank: Should we not at least try to be together as much as possible during these last three weeks?
Ellen: We just have to accept it.
Frank: If only it had only just begun! But now! My feelings havenít faded one bit!
Frank: I cannot and will not let you go like this!
Ellen: Just sleep with me at least.
Frank: Would you?
Ellen: Letís go.
Ellen: Or never!
Frank: Letís meet on Thursday, in the library, about half seven.
Ellen: (getting up) Maybe.
Host: Thank you very much. Please, keep going straightaway. Youíre doing well. Show us this Thursday! Did Ellen come?
Frank: She came much later than I had hoped. I was there by 7 oíclock and pretended to do some work. But I couldnít get rid of the thought that she would make her Ďnow or neverí remark a reality and not come. What should I do if she didnít come? I played the scene from Tuesday over and over again in my head and became more and more certain that she wouldnít come. I felt like an idiot for not seizing the opportunity. I keep imagining what it would be like to hold her naked in my arms, just once in my lifetime. Sheer madness! I couldnít work. Eventually she came, sat elsewhere, away from me. We sat at different tables and pretended to be really busy. That went on until about quarter to eight. Then finally, I took my life in my hands, which, by the way, were shaking,† and went over to her, acting like it was a coincidence.
Host: And you Ellen?
Ellen: I thought: Iím a fool for coming here. Just sleeping with a man when you know itís not going to turn into anything, well, itís not really that exciting then. But it all turned out so differently! I wished Iíd never started this relationship. Just a waste of time, thatís what I thought. And yet...
Host: Thank you. Frank, anything else you remember?
Frank: Hmm, I was only thinking one thing: How am I ever going to get her out of here? And I suddenly wondered how many people there must have already recognised us. I felt like they were all just waiting for us to eventually leave together. Something we had never done before. One of us always went first and the other waited for a bit. Then I started working myself up. She wasnít leaving and letting me follow. Suddenly I was scared of going first because maybe then she wouldnít follow. And then it hit me: This is crazy, youíve been married for eleven years and now youíre acting like a schoolboy!
Host: Thank you. (to Ellen) Anything else?
Ellen: Hmm, all the thoughts were jumbled in my head! I felt quite dizzy. Should I go over to his table? I could barely control my feelings. Everything was a blur! Everything!
Frank: By the way, I was thinking about Anna too. What would she say if she knew? I knew that I mustnít make a drama out of our marriage. We were, in a way, happy, albeit not in recent years. Iíve known Ellen for two years now. A year and a half. And now itís the end for us. Funny. You marry someone, itís so great, then, all of a sudden, someone else comes along. I didnít think I could love someone like that.
Host: Good, letís act that out now! (to Ellen) Youíre sitting there at your desk in the library (Ellen sits down), and Frank has just summoned up the courage to approach you.
Frank: (going up to Ellen) Hello!
Frank: Here you are.
Ellen: Here I am.
Frank: Finished your work?
Ellen: Not really.
Frank: Shall we go?
Ellen: I just have to pack my things away.
Frank: Iíll help you.
Ellen: Itís ok! (she gets up and leaves)
Frank: (following her) You donít really think Iíd let you go now do you?
Frank: Wait a minute! Please! (they pause) Do you know, (looks at the clock) you got here nearly an hour late?
Ellen: It was a difficult decision. Or was it not for you?
Frank: I only have an hour left!
Ellen: Letís have a drink.
Frank: Somewhere round here?
Ellen: I think all pubs are dreadful.
Frank: Weíll just go in the first good one we see.
Ellen: Ah, hereís one actually.
Frank: What a dive.
Ellen: A serious dive.
Frank: We can go in the room behind the bar.
Ellen: See, you know your way around.
Frank: From a long time ago. So, what would you like to drink?
Frank: Vodka? Same here.
Ellen: I prefer it with soda.
Frank: Iíll have it neat.
Frank: What? Shoots straight through you.
Ellen: Such a strange place. All that racket at the bar.
Frank: What shall we do now?
Ellen: I donít know.
Frank: Such a crazy situation. Letís go somewhere we can talk.
Ellen: Anythingís better than this dive.
Frank: Tell me about it! (they leave) All Iíve thought about since Thursday is us.
Ellen: Me too. I thought about what youíd probably say to me and me to you. (they stop)
Frank: It took us nearly two years to confess our love for each other. Now Iím leaving, in three weeks... (takes her in his arms) out of your life. I love you! I donít know how long Iíve loved you for or when it started. It was just there. Itís madness, but I love you!
(Ellen kisses him)
Frank: I donít want to end this now.
Ellen: What shall we do?
Frank: I wish I knew.
Ellen: Me too.
Frank: See you tomorrow, Iím too late now!
(she kisses him)
Frank: (looking at the clock) See you tomorrow then.
Ellen: At mine.
Host: Thank you very much. That was insightful. Did you still see each other often after that?
Frank: As often as we could.
Host: During that time, did you have any morbid thoughts?
Frank: What do you mean?
Host: That life had no meaning if you couldnít be together.
Frank: Yes, I did. On several occasions, I wished my wife was dead and often that I was too.
Host: And Ellen?
Ellen: No, I didnít. I always thought Iíd cope, Iíd survive.
Host: Such a thought never even occurred to you?
Ellen: I never thought of doing anything but accepting things as they were, although it did seem quite hopeless.
Host: You really thought there would be some kind of solution?
Ellen: No, I thought there was no hope. He couldnít leave his wife.
Host: You had a feeling that he would leave you?
Host: Did you ever speak to Frank about your feelings?
Ellen: I just wanted my feelings gone.
Host: What do you mean?
Ellen: I wanted to not want anymore.
Host: You wanted to stop longing for a man?
Ellen: I thought it would be possible for me to get on with my life and only worry about the little things. When Frank went, I thought my world would fall apart.
Host: But he didnít leave you.
Ellen: That confused me. There was a constant attraction between us, even beyond physical presence.†
Host: What is it that draws people to each other when they are in love?
Frank: In love, thereís nothing worse than being boring.
Ellen: I could never fall in love with someone boring. I think thatís why I fell in love with you.
Host: You never felt any physical attraction?
Anna: (in the background) I did!
Host: Ah, Anna, nice of you to come back. Please, come closer. Before the break, I would like you to act out another scene with your husband. Ellen, thank you very much, you can have a seat again in the meantime. Yes, Anna, so, your interjection contradicts what Frank told us before. But that happens in marriage. One person has completely different notions of sensuality in a marital relationship to the other. Letís try to look at the problem more closely. Your husband here explained to us that he became impatient with your lack of independence. Is that something he often accused you of?
Host: Sorry, did I misquote you?
Frank: Thatís just what people say, youíre putting words in my mouth!
Host: If I remember correctly, your wife didnít work originally. Did that come about on your request or did she not want to work?
Frank: She worked for me.
Host: In what way?
Frank: She typed up my manuscripts.
Host: Right, you said that already. And she never expressed a desire to get a regular job?
Frank: Youíre asking me?
Host: The question was aimed more at the both of you. Please enact the scene in which your wife informed you that she was thinking of going to work in the future. Anna, can you remember roughly how that went?
Anna: I was sitting at the computer, typing for him. It was very late by then and I was tired.
Frank: She didnít understand that the article had to be finished by the deadline.
Host: Please, act it out! (Anna und Frank take a seat)
Anna: How many more pages?
Frank: (counting) Two, four, six...
Anna: I need a drink first.
Frank: Itís already late.
Anna: Exactly, Iíll fall asleep otherwise. You know, this division of labour in our marriage, itís not going to work in the long-run.
Frank: Whatís that supposed to mean?
Anna: Didnít you say yourself that Iím too dependent? I thought you wanted me to go to work, earn some money.
Frank: Nonsense! You know full well thatís not what I meant. I want to come home to a level-headed wife, not one thatís drained and worn out from work.†
Anna: Do you really mean that?
Frank: Just look around, at University, in all institutions: the men who can get ahead in academia all have a woman looking after them at home. Do you really think Iíd ever be able to become a professor if I started doing the washing up and running the house as well?
Anna: You forgot the washing, vacuuming, shopping, window cleaning and cooking.
Anna: As soon as we get to London, Iím going to work as a teacher.
Frank: Oh no you wonít.
Anna: Oh yes I will.
Frank: Anna, Iíve always thought you were alright like this?
Anna: Somethingís not right between us.
Frank: Well what is it then?
Anna: Iím not independent. You noticed it and, as a matter of fact, youíre right. Please, let me say this now: Iím basically dependent on you. If you ever left me...
Anna: ...Iíd have to start from scratch and I wouldnít have a clue what to do in life. Iíd have to work eventually, you know, otherwise Iíd shrivel up.
Frank: I donít think thatíd go well. Anyway, I need order at home, my emotional equilibrium, mental and physical balance, you know? I have to be able to unwind with you, (moves closer to her) and so you canít be exhausted. Itís in your best interests too...
Anna: (escaping him) The manuscript!
Frank: Thereís plenty of time! (undoes her dress)
Anna: Thereís six sides left!
Frank: Theyíll still be there after!
Host: Thank you, thank you! If I understand correctly, some quite common arguments were put forward. Were they convincing?
Anna: They wore thin. Since weíve been in London, Iíve been working as a teacher. Iím enjoying it.
Host: And youíve done nothing to stop her?
Host: You were quietly hoping that she would break up with you.
Frank: Thatís not what I was hoping. I love my wife.
(Ellen jumps up)
Host: (to Ellen) He loves her too! (to the audience) Thatís his problem. It seems to me that the thing that would please him most would be if we here were to come to the opinion here today that it was completely normal for a man to live with two women. All three of them in love! Not an entirely new concept, as you well know. It was Goetheís dream before now. It seems to me that declaring such a love triangle to the whole world is still better than lust without love. If you know what I mean. Here (reaches inside his jacket), I cut this out. Listen to what a young chef told a newspaper recently. His exact words were: ďWhy eat chips every day, when you can have tortellini? I sleep around just for the fun of it. You can meet nice girls every night in clubs. Whoíd turn that down? It isnít a betrayal in love, sex has nothing to do with it. My girlfriend can do what she wants too.Ē End of quotation. This young man thinks himself lucky getting to shag around. Or take this student Ė he says: ďPersonally, Iíve got four girls on the go. But thatís normal. I meet a lot of girls at parties. Should I just brush them off? They want something from me as well you know. And thatís how it happens. A bit of flirting, meet up a few timesÖ itís all part of life.Ē End of quotation. Conclusion: sex without love is the chosen ideal. So, essentially, nothing other than degeneration into the animal world. Letís be clear that our three subjects are far from that. Theyíre making it hard for themselves. And that, in turn, makes it hard for us to find a workable solution. The problem is: lust with love must be mastered. That it is to say: we should ask ourselves whether there isnít something stronger than love. But Iím getting ahead of myself. I think our three subjects have earned themselves a break. Letís end the first session. But please donít run off, Iím afraid Iíll be needing you to take part in an audience vote.