An Austrian writer’s little-known 20-page draft has been turned into an enthralling play in Vienna.
The capital’s Akademietheater now stages “Der Henker” by Maria Lazar which premiered 99 years ago. Neglected and nearly forgotten, this production might put Lazar’s oeuvre into the spotlight once again.
Born in 1895, Lazar worked for Viennese daily Arbeiter-Zeitung but also Querschnitt, a Berlin newspaper. She wrote eight novels and three plays. When the political environment in Austria became increasingly oppressive in 1933, Lazar left Austria to settle in Denmark. Six years later she moved to Sweden. From 1946, the author spent one year in London. Having been diagnosed with an incurable disease, Lazar committed suicide in 1948.
Itay Tiran and Sarah Viktoria Frick take the leading roles in the play directed by Mateja Koleznik. Tiran – who joined the Burgtheater cast at the beginning of this season – plays a man sentenced to death. Critics have praised the cast’s performances but also praised the minimalistic set.
“Der Henker” is a play that touches essential human emotions like love and hate, desperation and hope. The next performances is scheduled for tomorrow 8pm.
Meanwhile, Klaus Maria Brandauer continues to pay tribute to the body of work of Eric Vuillard. After reading extracts of “L’ordre du jour” a few weeks ago, the award-winning movie and theatre star presents “14 juillet” on the 5th of February. While “L’ordre du jour” is an intense description of the atmosphere in Europe before the Third Reich annexed Austria, “14 juillet” takes readers to Paris in 1789.
Photo: © Matthias Horn
Daniel Llewelyn-Williams is putting in a smashing performance in a play he wrote himself which is now being performed in Austria.
Vienna’s English Theatre stages “A Regular Little Houdini” each night except Sundays until the 22nd of February. “I wrote ‘A Regular Little Houdini’ in 2013 as a love song to my hometown of Newport, Wales,” Llewelyn-Williams explains.
The play is fictional but strongly inspired by the history of the author’s family.
“A Regular Little Houdini” tells from a young boy wanting to become a magician. Despite a series of disheartening throwbacks, he just gets back up on his feet again and again, determined to achieve everything he had ever dreamed of.
Llewelyn-Williams is charging all over the stage as he takes the audience back in time when Newport was a prospering industrial city with busy docks. Casually playing the occasional magic trick, he creates some uplifting moments in a play which does hold terrible tragedies.
Escape artist Harry Houdini – who kicked off his 1905 UK tour in Newport – is just a fringe aspect of this astonishing play which, thanks to the brilliant acting of its author, will certainly leave a long-lasting impression on Viennese audiences.
To get your ticket for “A Regular Little Houdini”, visit http://www.englishtheatre.at or call +43 1 402 12 60-0.
Photo: © Vienna’s English Theatre
Rudi Dutschke has been portrayed as a thoughtful character plagued by constant self-doubt in a new book. With this astonishing 500-page biography, Ulrich Chaussy proves his in-depth expertise. The author examines Dutschke’s youth and how he started working on own ideas for a socialist and equal society.
“Rudi Dutschke. Die Biografie” is not just a profound investigation of the far-left student movement icon’s theories. Chaussy has also done a fine job describing the political environment in a mid-20th century divided Germany. Especially young people were seething with anger over the war in Vietnam. However, they were also infuriated by the staunch conservative element in domestic politics.
The immensely detailed chapters on Dutschke’s theories are rather tiring. But “Rudi Dutschke. Die Biografie” brilliantly describes his private life, the doomed years in exile and his involvement in establishing Germany’s Green Party.
Rudi Dutschke. Die Biografie
By Ulrich Chaussy
Published by Droemer (www.droemer-knaur.de)
Franz Hauer’s life was a truly remarkable rags-to-riches story. Born to an impoverished family in rural Lower Austria, Hauer’s tavern quickly turned into one of the most popular locations in Vienna. But the landlord was also one of the most busy collectors of art of his time.
Hauer died at the age of just 48 in 1914. However, the vast array of paintings he had garnered leads to the assumption that acquiring art must have been his chief priority. An ardent admirer of various artists active at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, the Hauer collection was especially dominated by Albin Egger-Lienz and Anton Faistauer but also featured artworks by Egon Schiele and Oskar Kokoschka.
Now a museum in Lower Austria presents works from his astonishing collection which are today part of private collections and the stock of public institutions in Austria and abroad. Landesgalerie Niederösterreich (State Gallery of Lower Austria) – which opened only last year – is drawing the crowds with “Franz Hauer. Selfmademan und Kunstsammler der Gegenwart”. Hauer’s collection featured meticulous Wachau landscapes but the sumptuous still lifes and intimate portraits underline Hauer’s wide-ranging interest.
When broadcasting executives axed his primetime show, Thomas Gottschalk might have felt as if this were the end of the road for him. But the entertainer just carried on. Embarking on other television projects and returning to radio, Gottschalk just kept on going. A bestselling autobiography was just the icing on the cake.
Now there’s “Herbstbunt”, another book by the tousle-haired presenter and actor. While “Herbstblond. Die Autobiografie” was an ideal opportunity to look back on the many heart-stopping moments of his showbiz career, “Herbstbunt” is an astonishingly humble reflection on highly personal issues.
Gottschalk – who fell in love with another woman after having being married for more than 40 years – abstains from launching a war of words with his ex-wife, underlining he would keep certain details to himself. But the 69-year-old television legend’s new book is a no-holds-barred reflection of getting older.
Invariably portrayed as the bragging entertainer, Gottschalk opens up on how he tried to curb his drinking. He admits constant weight gain worries and hits out at would-be starlets propelled to fame on Instagram. On a more serious note, Gottschalk looks back on the day he learned that a fierce blaze erased his Californian mansion.
Herbstbunt. Wer nur alt wird, aber nicht klüger, ist schön blöd
By Thomas Gottschalk
Published by Heyne (www.heyne.de)
An aspiring actor from Afghanistan stars in a new Viennese theatre production.
Stage adaptions of Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt’s 2001 novel “Mr. Ibrahim and the Flowers of the Koran” have delighted audiences for years. Now Bagher Ahmadi stars in the Volkstheater’s version of this life-affirming story of an unusual friendship.
Neglected by his father, Moses gets to know Monsieur Ibrahim (Michael Abendroth), a lovely elderly shopkeeper. The Jewish teen and the Muslim gentlemen may appear to be a dissimilar duo. But they soon build a perfect partnership.
The presence of the young chap quickly lifts the spirits of the visibly bored grocer. Moses, meanwhile, finally has someone he can share his secrets with.
Directed by Jan Gehler, this Volkstheater production is certain to find many admirers. The next performances of “Monsieur Ibrahim und die Blumen des Koran” are scheduled for tonight (VHS Hietzing) and Saturday (VZ Heiligenstadt).
For more information on the current repertoire, visit http://www.volkstheater.at
Photo: © Barbara Palffy / Volkstheater
Don’t miss the opportunity to discover Richard Gerstl’s adorable body of work.
The Leopold Museum’s “Inspiration – Legacy” exhibition – which ends next Monday – consists of Gerstl’s defining paintings but also photographs and letters. An ill-fated affair with the wife of his close friend Arnold Schönberg preceded his suicide at the age of just 25 in 1908.
The late artist’s self-portraits, which carry a decidedly sinister undercurrent, and his portraits of colleagues, friends and family members will leave a lasting impression. But it’s the delicate luminosity of his small landscapes that grab the place in the limelight.
“Inspiration – Legacy” also features works of art by painters and sculptors who influenced Gerstl or were influenced by him, including Vincent van Gogh, Pierre Bonnard and Georg Baselitz.