Memories of a 20th Century Central-European Family
Vienna towards the end of 1899: Everybody is awaiting the new century with a lot of marvellous expectations. Gustav Mahler is on his way for Paris to perform his Symphony No. 2 at the World Exhibition, Sigmund Freud’s thoughts are spreading out, and painters Oskar Kokoschka and Gustav Klimt bask in the glory. Vienna is the cultural navel of the world. A well-off Jewish family named Merz is celebrating Christmas, anticipating a brighter future – antisemitism is on a decline, anti-Jewish laws are being lifted, and the idea of settling in Palestine to obtain a homeland feels an impressive prospect. The world seems to be in order. However, in the first half of the twentieth century, the Merz family’s destiny did not shape up the way they had imagined it just a few decades earlier.
The most recent play of the British playwright of Jewish origin Tom Stoppard (born in Czechoslovakia in 1937) depicts the life story of a Central-European family from the year 1899 until 1955 – it is a story of Jews, of Vienna, of Europe, and above all a story of solid family ties, so solid that they could survive everything but the Holocaust. The drama is partly drawn from Stoppard’s own life; at the very end of the Second War he evaded the Nazi terror by fleeing from his Moravian hometown Zlín to Great Britain. The Mahen Theatre will premiere the play in a translation by its chief translator Pavel Dominik and under the direction of Radovan Lipus.
Czech premiere: 18th June 2021 at the Mahen Theatre