Ewelina Benbenek receives Mülheim Dramatic Prize

Tragedy bastard
Ewelina Benbenek receives Mülheim Dramatic Prize

A Mülheim debutante won the race for the coveted drama prize this year. In the end, “Ewe” Benbenek prevailed against great authors with her first play.


The Mülheim Dramatic Prize this year goes to the author Ewelina Benbenek for her theatrical debut “Tragedy Bastard”. This was decided by a five-member jury made up of critics and theater professionals on Saturday evening as part of the Mülheim Theater Days.

The debate was broadcast live on the internet. The Dramatics Prize (formerly: “Dramatists Prize”) is endowed with 15,000 euros and is one of the most important theater awards in the German-speaking area.

Benbenek was born in Poland in 1985. She came to Germany in the late 1980s. The trained cultural and literary scholar was a research assistant at the Institute for Modern German Literature / Theater Research at the University of Hamburg from 2014 to 2019. She lives in Berlin.

First performance seven months ago

“Tragödienbastard” premiered at the end of October 2020 at the Schauspielhaus Wien. The play is about three generations of women between Germany and Poland and the “angry stream of thoughts of a protagonist struggling for her language and her place in the world”, as it was called in an announcement by the theater.

The text was touching, said several jurors during the debate. Director and juror Jakob Weiss attested the play an “unbelievable sincerity and vulnerability”. How language is dealt with is “extremely charming and funny”. The theater critic and juror Janis El-Bira called the work “overwhelming for a debut”.

Seven pieces that had been shown on the Internet since May 13th were nominated. A selection committee had previously viewed 85 theater texts that had premiered since February 2020. Last year, the Mülheim Theater Days were canceled due to the corona pandemic.

Benbenek leaves great authors behind

“Tragedy bastard” prevailed in the debate against “Empire of Death” by Rainald Goetz. Other nominees were “And the world has disappeared with me” by Sibylle Berg, “Der goldene Schwanz” by Rebekka Kricheldorf, “9/26 – The Oktoberfestattentat” by Christine Umpfenbach, “Stummes Land” by Thomas Freyer and “Erste Staffel. Big Brother for 20 Years ”by Boris Nikitin.

Another jury had already awarded the Mülheim Children’s Piece Prize last week. This year it goes to the author Nino Harati vili for her children’s play “Löwenherzen”.

© dpa-infocom, dpa: 210530-99-792715 / 4


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