Tales from the Vienna Woods

Ödön von Horváth
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ISBN 9780571223046 Format Paperback
Published 16/10/2003 Length 112 pages

About Book

'Don't spoil her, Oskar, or you'll pay dear for it. You wouldn't believe what I had to put up with in my marriage. Not because madam, my wife, God bless her, was a vicious-tongued cow, but because I was too decent. Never lose your authority! Keep your distance! Patriarchy, not matriarchy! Keep your head up and your thumbs pressed firmly down. Ave Caesar; morituri te salutant!'

Set against the sentimental backdrop of the Vienna Woods and to the distant tune of a Strauss waltz, a community steeped in bigotry concerns itself with love affairs, petty squabbles, jealousies and personal tragedy. Meanwhile society at large, haunted by inflation, goes reeling towards Fascism.

This energetic, hugely entertaining epic premièred in Berlin in 1931 as Nazi forces were gaining in strength.

Tales from the Vienna Woods, in this new version, was premièred at the National Theatre on the Olivier stage in October 2003.

  • About Ödön von Horváth

    Ödön von Horváth (1901-1938) was born in Fiume, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, of an aristocratic Hungarian-speaking family. His plays include: Italienische Nacht (Italian Night) 1931, Geschichten aus dem Wiener Wald (Tales from the Vienna Woods) 1931, Kasimir und Karoline (Casimir and Caroline) 1932, Figaro Lässt sich Schieden (Figaro Gets a Divorce) 1937, Don Juan Kommt aus dem Krieg (Don Juan Comes Back from the War), produced 1952. Horváth's plays were banned when the Nazis came to power, then neglected in Germany until the 1950s.

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  • Translated By: David Harrower

    David Harrower's plays include Knives in Hens, Kill the Old, Torture Their Young and Dark Earth (Traverse), Presence (Royal Court) The Chrysalids (NT Connections), Blackbird (Edinburgh International Festival; West End), A Slow Air (Tron Theatre, Glasgow) and Good with People (Traverse). Adaptations include Büchner's Woyzeck (Edinburgh Lyceum), Pirandello's Six Characters in Search of an Author (Young Vic), Chekhov's Ivanov and Horváth's Tales from the Vienna Woods (National Theatre), Schiller's Mary Stuart (National Theatre of Scotland), and Brecht's The Good Soul of Szechuan and Gogol's The Government Inspector (Young Vic).

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