Film/TVTheatreAudio productions
Better Days
(Richard Dresser / Thalia Theater Hamburg)

Content: Somewhere in a house in a ruined industrial area of the US east coast, at the furthermost end of the American Dream. Ray and Fay have seen better days, now he is unemployed,  whilst she jobs for a fast food chain. They do not have enough money to make ends meet. It’s wintertime and more and larger parts of their furniture are used for burning. However, there may be hope. For Ray has heard a voice which promises him better days, and his buddy Arnie believes him. They also even succeed in taking Phil, their enterprising friend,  on board. Together they try to summon the voice with an improvised altar and a pizza as a cultic meal. However, who comes is not the voice, but Bill, a mysterious stranger, who puts a new idea into the boys’ head: arson! They begin with torching off their own car, burning down their building blocks and are on the brink of doing the same with their places of work, when Ray gradually has his doubts. (Quelle:

Production: Niklaus Helbling
Cast: Peter Jordan, Andreas Pietschmann, Anna Steffens, Benjamin Utzerath, Judith Rosmair, Stephan Schad
Stage Set: Dirk Thiele
Costume Design by: Dirk Thiele
Music: Felix Huber
Premiere: February 19, 2004


“Better Days” is one of the strangest plays over the last few years, staged by Niklaus Helbling who has made a name for himself and his group “Mass & Fieber” (measure and fever) for this  very special kind of humour.” (Source:

“The story is so true that on the stage it could seem unbelievably embarrassing. But Peter Jordan, Anna Steffens, Benjamin Utzerath, Judith Rosmair, Stephan Schad and above all Andreas Pietschmann are brilliant comedian play actors – an indicated shrug of the shoulders and smudgy kissable lips are sufficient, and a looser’s life manifests its tristesse.” Die Welt (Quelle:

“What starts as a realistic and tearful social drama takes on a more and more bizarre course. Hyperneurotic Phil – wonderfully convincingly played by Andreas Pietschmann– tries  ever more desperately and aggressively to sell his cleaning agents. Frantically, he brandishes his pistol, until Faye at long last orders the life-saving tin with oven spray.” (Source:

“With jerky movements, Pietschmann portrays cleaning-powder agent Phil under pressure of performance and drive to do well: On gunpoint he forces his friends to buy his shoe cream. The pièce de résistance on the brink of the nuthouse.” (Hamburger Abendblatt, February 21/22, 2004, Klaus Witzeling)

“Just like Phil, the dismissed lawyer who now sells oven sprays. Andreas Pietschmann doesn’t let him stand still for a second.”
(TAZ, 2/21/2004, Caroline Mansfeld)

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