Push Up 1-3

©volkstheater | Alexandra Sommerfeld


©volkstheater | Elisabeth Kopp Alexandra Sommerfeld


©volkstheater | Christiane Ostermayer Simon Hatzl


©volkstheater | Sabine Herget Wolfgang Klivana

Push Up 1-3


Roland Schimmelpfennig

Austrian premiere in a co-production with Volkstheater | Vienna | managed by Emmy Werner

Speed kills. From a career perspective, life only goes in one direction: up, up to the very top.

The weapons of the business samurai may be bloodless, but they can still be lethal. There is nothing to win in this global competition and little to lose but your job. Though the ‘economic adventure’ doesn’t exactly make any provision for losing.

>>> 2002 Nestroy Prize for best play | author’s award <<<


2001/2002 season

Premiere on 13 March 2002 at the Forum U3 | Volkstheater


with Erwin Ebenbauer Simon Hatzl Sabine Herget Wolfgang Klivana Elisabeth Kopp Alexander Lhotzky Christiane Ostermayer Alexandra Sommerfeld

Directed by Sabine Mitterecker Set by Notker Schweikhardt Costumes by Vera Winkler

Dramaturgical consultant Uwe Mattheiss




‘… a clever meditation on the way in which high performers mercilessly fall short of the standards of their own ethics … A good evening that might have been great in a better world.’

Ronald Pohl | DER STANDARD

‘All of the eight actors are convincing: conversations, debates, silently lying in wait … all this builds up into intensive, charged moments.

Men fight men, women fight women, one generation fights the other … All of them are lonely. All of them are afraid of one thing above all else: losing control. “Emotions are emergencies”, one of them says. But there is no evacuation plan.’

sp | Die Presse




Up, up to the very top. Where is up, anyway?

In his play Push Up 1-3, Roland Schimmelpfennig shows a longitudinal section of the headquarters of an international corporation. Here, success is calculated according to storeys. Committed, flexible, creative and above all ever-younger employees vie with each other to get a job on a par with their boss as quickly as possible. Speed kills.

The ‘economic adventure’ does not make any provision for losing. That’s for people who are inflexible, who are unable to rise to the challenges of the information society. When everything seems possible, nothing is certain. ‘Push Up’: like doing push-ups, it is wearing to constantly push yourself in order to push up the rate of your ‘stock’.

Hans, the 60-year-old manager whose experience and performance no longer count in a ‘new company culture’, spends long nights on his exercise bike fighting ageing, the pounds and failing because of his young competition. Frank, his younger adversary, shares his loneliness with ‘Natascha’, a pay-per-view pornographic image file from the internet. For Robert and Patrizia, two junior employees spoiled by success, a random hook-up becomes a sensation that spices up the dismal office routine – until they realise that they are competing for the same position. Even top performance is no guarantee for professional survival. Angelika, the CEO, fires Sabine, her best head of department, because she threatens to outshine her.

In the new world of work, the boundary between public and private is blurred. In the thick of the fight, no one questions why they are fighting and who their victims will be. Heinrich and Maria are the only exceptions: they are doormen who oversee the battle zone without fighting themselves. Because they have nothing to win in the global competition and little to lose but their jobs. U.M. 2002


2002 Nestroy Prize for best play | author’s award

Production Team

Movement training by Nina Gabriel Video editing by Joerg Burger Assistant director Astrid Schneider Set design intern Maria Krisper Prompter Kristina Kranz

Illustration by Barbara Kovacs Photos ©volkstheater

Production rights granted by S. Fischer Theater- und Medienverlag

Supported by

Supported by the Cultural Affairs Department of the City of Vienna (MA7)