It all begins like a fairy tale. A fairy tale in dark times. The white-collar worker Johannes Pinneberg falls in love with Emma, a blue-collar worker's daughter. It's love at first sight. He calls her »Little Lamb«, she calls him »Boy«. Little Lamb gets pregnant, they marry, settle on the edge of a small town and try to get by on his meagre salary. When Pinneberg loses his job, they are forced, like thousands of others, to go where there's still work and the happiness of a self-determined life still seems possible.
Because in a city like Berlin, everyone who is industrious, honest and hard-working can make it. Pinneberg gets a job as a salesman in Mandel's department store, but times get harder and the pressure on the little man and his wife Little Lamb grows.
Pinneberg tries, puts all pain and every humiliation aside, swallows, does not want to attract attention, kowtows, wants to push himself and his family through at all costs, where there's been no getting by for a long time. The hopeless struggle for a last shred of dignity ends when he loses his job in Berlin. Pinneberg, his Little Lamb and his son find themselves on the outskirts of the city, pushed away, no longer belonging, forgotten.
Published in 1932, Fallada's novel describes a petit-bourgeois milieu and a time of transition in which a coming catastrophe is already foreshadowed. It tells the story of a little and very patient white-collar man, who is not able to rebel, whose fist remains in his pocket, who tumbles through a dizzying world of fraud that he can’t do anything about, who clings to the only thing that seems to last, to a love, to a woman, to a child, to an endangered happiness.
A Maxim Gorki Theater production. Performing rights: Hakan Savaș Mican / Felix Bloch Erben GmbH & Co. KG, Berlin