Kusej stages fantastic Faust

Martin Kusej’s “Faust” will ignite the anger of some theatregoers but the Burgtheater boss is just not known for marching in lockstep.

Kusej’s take on the Johann Wolfgang von Goethe classic could be emblematic of the Viennese cultural institution’s new direction.

Broadcasting and newspaper reviewers have acknowledged Kusej’s decision to create a very modern “Faust” which deals with urgent contemporary concerns. While a dystopian darkness dominates the set, techno music underlines the everlasting urgency of topics like love, desperation and treason.1

Performed for the first time at Munich’s Residenztheater around five years ago, this production is still a compelling adventure, according to critics. Especially the performance of Werner Wölbern and Bibiana Beglau has been praised.

Kusej has dared to leave out essential phrases of the play. Conservative theatre enthusiasts might be outraged. But controversies like these ensure that theatres remain relevant in increasingly complex times.

For information on tickets and the performance schedule, go to http://www.burgtheater.at

Photo: © Matthias Horn / http://www.burgtheater.at

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Rapid await EL warriors WAC

Wolfsberg are determined to end Rapid’s unbeaten run.

The Green-Whites have most recently beaten Mattersburg away from home after achieving just a 3-3 draw against Hartberg thanks to captain Stefan Schwab’s last-minute equaliser.wac2

Now the league returns and WAC hope to play as well as the Austrian national team. The Carinthian side face Rapid in Vienna on Sunday (Allianz Stadion, 5pm). WAC are currently in third place in the 12-team Bundesliga, just one point behind Rapid.

But the Kühbauer side must not underestimate their upcoming opponents. WAC caused a stir in the Europa League. They snatched one point against AS Roma after having mercilessly crushed German Bundesliga leaders Borussia Mönchengladbach away from home (0-4).

Rapid beat second-division club FAC 2-1 in a friendly last Friday. Aliou Badji, Christoph Knasmüllner and former Rapid striker Philipp Prosenik found the net.

>> http://www.skrapid.at

Can’t Get This Party Started

There is a sense of excitement in Vienna about the Burgtheater’s new progressive profile, but “The Party” is just a massive disappointment.

Theatregoers can expect a fresh spirit at the tradition-rich institution as new director Martin Kusej underlined the importance of peace and cooperation in a multilingual Europe. “There should be no borders onstage,” Kusej said, adding that being confronted with many languages in Vienna was “fascinating”.1.jpg

Itay Tiran’s take on “Vögel” and “Die Bakchen”, the play which kicked off the new season, earned praise by critics. Unfortunately, “The Party” is anything but a sparkling affair.

Based on a Sally Potter movie from 2017, this first-ever German stage adaption aims at offering psychological insight into the fragile relationship between a politician and her husband. While she is upbeat about getting promoted, her hubby remains totally indifferent. He could not care less what their friends think of his behaviour. Nevertheless all is going according to plan at their bash, until some confessions have to be made.

Anne Lenk’s “The Party” obviously draws inspiration from Yasmina Reza’s “God of Carnage”. But confronted with its vacuous dialogues, the play’s cast of Burgtheater icons like Regina Fritsch and Peter Simonischek appear like having given up already. This party tastes like stale champagne.

>> http://www.burgtheater.at

Photo: © Matthias Horn / http://www.burgtheater.at

Burning Down the House

One of the most compelling plays of the past theatre season is hitting the stage again.

Vienna’s Volkstheater is bringing back “Biedermann und die Brandstifter” (The Arsonists) this autumn. Max Frisch’s play from 1958 has been well-received at numerous theatres throughout the decades. It is still an essential part of secondary school modern literature curricula.1

Gottlieb Biedermann, considered as the epitome of the conservative businessman, welcomes a drifter and his suspicious entourage to his home. Typifying the naive and trusting gentlemen, the polite entrepreneur remains totally oblivious to what is going on around him as the gang plan to burn his estate to the ground.

Hungarian director Viktor Bodo is in charge of the Volkstheater production starring Günter Franzmeier (pictured) and Gabor Biedermann. Visit http://www.volkstheater.at for information on tickets and a charity initiative supporting theatre staff facing temporary unemploment.

Photo: © http://www.lupispuma.com / Volkstheater

Tomorrow Never Knows

The rise of Napster, the political toing and froing behind establishing the Euro and the hunt for Osama Bin Laden. Groundbreaking developments were in motion in 1999 when everyone feared a devastating computer collapse on December 31st.1.jpg

In “Das letzte Jahr der Zukunft”, journalist Michael Laczynski describes the most significant political, cultural and economic developments of the millennium. Entertainment business executives were clueless how to counteract online piracy. At the same time, casting shows and Big Brother went through the roof.

As far as politics are concerned, the global constellation was highly complex in the late 1990s. Freed from the shackles of communism, Russia’s elite made up for lost time by living the high life. No one could have imagined in 1999 that a pale ex-KGB official named Wladimir Putin would shape an era which still lingers on. Meanwhile, European leaders struggled to overcome substantial disaccord concerning the introduction of the Euro.

Overall, “Das letzte Jahr der Zukunft” decently captures the feel of change that was felt all around the world back then.

Das letzte Jahr der Zukunft. Wie 1999 die Welt veränderte
By Michael Laczynski
Published by Residenz Verlag (www.residenzverlag.at)