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Tales from the Vienna Woods, Horvath

Новокузнецкий драматический театр, Novokuznetsk, Russia

„Nothing conveys the feeling of infinity

as much as stupidity does.“

A quiet street in Vienna: a dignified butcher's shop with sausages, ham and pig's heads on display, next to it a doll's clinic with company sign “Magic Kingdom” and finally a small tobacco shop. Here in the epicentre of petty bourgeois life Marianne is to marry Oskar, the butcher – mostly because her father believes that a butcher's shop is still a solid business even in times of economic crisis. But the engagement party on the bank of the beautiful blue Danube is interrupted by a scandal: the young bride is busted in the arms of the charmer and gambler Alfred, for which her father swears to abandon the unfaithful daughter once and for all. So against all expectations in the end of the day Marianne for the first time in her life is looking forward to a self-determined future outside the fatherly regime.

But her emancipation doesn't last for long and soon Horvath's heroine finds herself in a dead end of economic hardship. Abandoned by the supposedly great love of her life, but now as the single mother of an illegitimate child, she tries to make a living for herself and the newborn as a stripper and even ends up in prison after a desperate attempt of theft. Starved and broken, in the end she has no other choice but to reconcile with her father, and so she finally finds herself in the arms of her inescapable fate Oskar – who gladly agrees to take her back, but only after the news of the death of her child make it clear that no more obstacles stand in the way of the long planned wedding.

Ödön von Horvath's Tales from the Vienna Woods, premiered in Berlin in 1931, is both a humorous folk comedy and a biting farce about the mercilessness of the world. His characters behave like beasts that “bite in order not to be bitten themselves. They destroy and then stand astonished in front of the destruction they have caused”, Horvath expert Traugott Krischke describes - but “not out of evil, but because of their stupidity”. Horvath's theme is the unmasking of the petty bourgeois, his simple-minded double standards, his bestial self-righteousness. The way his characters trample on each other in their pursuit of happiness is both cold-heartedly brutal and pitifully naive.

Ödön von Horvath was one of the first authors to write against the burgeoning fascism in Austria and the Weimar Republic in the early 1930s. His works describe the breeding ground on which National Socialism was able to spread in the two young democracies – not only on the big political scene, but above all in the daily small private battles of all against all. Horvath's creations strive to tear down the mask of seemingly good-heartedness of a self-righteous and ignorant society. Early on, the author thus came into the focus of the fascists, who first banned his plays in 1933 and then drove him into emigration in 1938 after the annexation of Austria to Hitler's Reich, where he died in Paris in the same year, killed by a tree on the Champs Elysees.


starring: Anatoly Noga, Polina Zueva, Andrei Kovzel, Ilona Litvinenko, Alexander Schreiter, Vyacheslav Tuev, Vladislav Sarygin, Oleg Luchshev, Anatoly Smirnov, Alyona Sigorskaya, Vera Korablina, Natalya Pivovarova, Igor Omelchenko


director: Andreas Merz Raykov

stage design: Femistokl Atmadzas
costume design: Olga Atmadzas
translation: Ekaterina Raykova-Merz

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