15 March 1938, Heldenplatz: the Viennese cheer Hitler, who just invaded Austria. Professor Schuster, a sophisticated music lover, at once a tyrant and a rebel, flees to Oxford. Ten years later, he comes back, “for love of music.” But his wife Hedwig, haunted by the enthusiasm with which her country welcomed its own occupation, convinces him to go back to England. The day before they are to leave, with their trunks already shut and the precious Bösendorfer piano already on its way to Oxford, Schuster kills himself in the middle of the Heroes' Square... Written in the middle of the Kurt Waldheim Affair, when Austria elected a Prime Minister with a murky Nazi past, and dealing with the question of the Anschluß in vehement, almost brutal prose, Heldenplatz caused a political scandal even before the text was played or published in 1989. After Woodcutters, unanimously celebrated last year, the Polish director and the actors of the Lithuanian National Drama Theatre are now working on Thomas Bernhard's final provocation, the last play in his “theatre of irritation” which seeks “the part of truth that exists in every lie.” Together, they explore the possibilities of a time suspended between the world of the living and the world of the dead, in a fascinating relationship to the persistence of thought.
Born in 1931, Thomas Bernhard spent his childhood in Salzburg, under Nazi rule. After contracting tuberculosis, he had to leave school in 1947 and spend significant time in the hospital. It is at that time that he began writing poetry. His first novel, Frost, was published in 1963. In 1968, he used his acceptance speech for a prize to attack Austria, drawing the ire of the institutions. His first play, A Party for Boris, was met with acclaim upon premiering in Hamburg in 1970. Thomas Bernhard died in 1989, leaving behind eighteen plays, about twenty texts in prose, five poetry collections, and over a hundred articles.
Direction, stage design and lights Krystian Lupa
Translation Rūta Jonynaitė
Costumes Piotr Skiba
Artistic collaboration, video Łukasz Twarkowski
Music Bogumił Misala
Assistant director Giedrė Kriaučionytė, Adam A. Zdunczyk
With Povilas Budrys, Neringa Bulotaitė, Eglė Gabrėnaitė, Doloresa Kazragytė, Viktorija Kuodytė, Valentinas Masalskis, Eglė Mikulionytė, Vytautas Rumšas, Arūnas Sakalauskas, Rasa Samuolytė, Toma Vaškevičiūtė
Production Lithuanian National Drama Theater
Coproduction Festival international de théâtre La Divine Comédie (Cracovie)
With the support of Ministry of Culture of Lithuania, Lithuania Cultural Council, Polish Institut of Vilnius