Edited By Lorenzo Bellettini and Peter Hutchinson
MARIANO D’AMORA Schnitzler’s Hidden Legacy. An English Playwright Rewrites Reigen 169
MARIANO D’AMORA Schnitzler’s Hidden Legacy An English Playwright Rewrites Reigen Schnitzler began writing Reigen during the winter of 1896–97. He initially considered his collection of “dialogues” too scandalous to ever be staged, and preferred simply to have them printed at his own expense and distributed to friends for their amusement. It was not until 23 December 1920 that he allowed a publicly staged performance of the play, and even then it opened out of town. The production met with demonstrations, riots, and the arrest of the cast on charges of obscenity (they were later acquitted). The follow- ing year, on 1 February, the Kammerspiele des Deutschen Volkstheaters hosted the Viennese premiere. Once again the show was by closed by police, who considered the performance a form of public pornography. Even though the author and the actors were again acquitted in all cases, Schnitzler prohibited any further productions. In the course of a century things have changed radically. A hundred years after Dr Schnitzler shocked his society with Reigen, the first production of English playwright David Hare’s 1998 adaptation of the work, The Blue Room,1 was greeted by a very dif ferent kind of disturbance: ticket riots.2 Publicity for 1 The play opened in London at the Donmar Warehouse on 10 September 1998 and was staged with the same cast in New York at the Cort Theater on 13 December. That same year David Hare was staged on Broadway with three other plays: The Judas Kiss, Amy’s View, and...
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