Not all sleepy coastal settlements are the seaside idylls they appear to be. In this one, strangers are eyed with suspicion, especially if their holiday homes block the view of the sea. Many of its young people are desperate to move away to the anonymity of the big cities but often don’t manage to cut the umbilical cord linking them to a town in which everyone is related to everyone else, at least as in-laws, and whose inhabitants are constantly monitoring each other’s behaviour. When a deadly accident occurs – or was it murder? – old animosities flare up once again. Conspiracy theories flourish. But there’s more at stake than the social cohesion of the town. For years, the sea has been gnawing at the coastline, undermining the cliffs and endangering the houses built on top of them.

Ulrike Syha’s Drift ruminates on feelings of homeliness and belonging, deploying the uncanny in a way that feels reminiscent of the work of David Lynch. Joggers dressed in functional clothing run through scenes in a way that feels jarring, even ominous; empty dinghies drift near the beach; vans deliver suspicious packages ordered on the internet; birds flutter around in front of window panes and foreigners are welcome only if they open restaurants. Yet the village Syha constructs here is also a global one. Romanticised in lifestyle magazines as a return to a more wholesome world, the dark entity explored in this play subtly and striated with sarcastic humour metastasises into an apocalypse for our networked civilisation.

Ulrike Syha

Ulrike Syha

Ulrike Syha (born in 1976 in Wiesbaden) studied Dramaturgy in Leipzig and worked as an assistant director. In 2002 she received the renowned Kleist-Förderpreis for young dramatists for her play Autofahren in Deutschland. Her play Nomaden was ...

Plays by Ulrike Syha