Posters for Austrian Stage at Austrian Cultural Forum NY
1. The Unmarried Woman
Three women, three generations, an unresolved past that stinks of betrayal and blind obedience: the unmarried woman connects April 1945 with the present. The woman is old and has an alienated daughter and a grand-daughter whom she feels closer to, even though the young woman is digging through her past. Four chorus-sisters establish Palmetshofer’s syntactically twisted narrative style. This challenging, antiquated artificial language consistently fulfills a specific task: It prevents the play from being prattled to shreds.
Felix Mitterer’s gripping drama is based on the life and death of the martyr Franz Jägerstätter (1907–1943), an Austrian farmer who refused to fight on behalf of Hitler because of his faith, morals and ideals. Mitterer depicts Franz as a courageous but struggling and insecure human being—and not at all as a saint—presenting a struggle with our responsibility to the world and holding on to one's morals in the most difficult of times and circumstances.
3. Canned Meat
Fascinated by car accidents, four people collide into one another at a gas station: Rolf, an insurance agent, searching for the reason behind the suspicious, increasing number of crashes; Beate, the owner of the station; and Jane, a former movie star whose beauty has been ruined in an accident, and a truck driver who warns us of the dangerous road ahead.
4. The World Fixer
The World Fixer revolves around a self-centered, self-styled genius loosely based on Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. The protagonist is an author of a philosophical tract ostensibly designed to improve the condition of the world, if the world could only understand it. Combining absurdist comedy with satire of academic pomposity, the play ultimately gives a moving portrait of human frailty.
5. The World Fixer / Production in Israel
Hebrew version of the poster for Thomas Bernhard’s The World Fixer, performed in Tel Aviv.
6. In the Dead Mountains
In the Dead Mountains takes place in a psychiatric facility. In contrast to other plays dealing with the subject, in Arzt’s play the patients do not embody some kind of anarchic alternative to mainstream society, but rather are just as “sick” as the world from which they have fled into this closed environment. The melancholy head doctor has long since recognized that the therapy she can offer individuals is not more than patchwork in the face of the deficiencies of society. The new arrival Raimund appears to have turned to stone, Nepomuk is suffering from brain damage following drug abuse, and Emanuel, who has been unemployed for years, gave up on himself a long time ago. Only the nurse Anton remains optimistic and is preparing a puppet show for New Year’s, while Nepomuk remains convinced about the world’s imminent apocalyptic ending.