Is humanity always a victim in times of crisis? The actor and director Akyllas Karazisis seeks to find out, directing Ödön von Horváth’s tragicomic dystopian play and offering up a wise commentary on the barbarity of an era.“Faith, hope, and charity -that could be the title of all my plays”, said Horváth, “because they’re all set in a time when believing, loving and hoping are a necessary utopia”. The place: Weimar Germany; the zeitgeist: material and spiritual degradation, moral crisis. An unemployed woman, Elisabeth, sells her body to the State Anatomical Institute; she needs the money for a license to sell knickers door to door. Then she is accused of fraud, thrust into the company of a bizarre mix of people and finds love, briefly, with the police officer, Alfonso, who takes her in. When this final ray of light is suddenly blotted out, she throws herself in the river in an effort to end a life devoid of hope.

With mordant accuracy, this singularly relevant work from 1932 by the German-speaking Austro-Hungarian playwright, Horváth, describes the alienation of a pre-fascist society whose unfettered capitalism is driven by cynicism and individual economic interest. Callousness, petit bourgeois back biting and words that make no sense are the weft and weave of a society which has surrendered itself to barbarity. People who dare not complain out loud, figures from a castrated revolution, angels of destruction who wander the streets, scythes at the ready, and a horde of destitute middle class figures -all calling to mind Shakespearean heroes down on their luck, all speaking a wooden language which leads precisely nowhere.

Joined by a fine cast and Cornelius Selamsis, who composed the music and performs it on stage, the actor and director Akyllas Karazisis, an adept of the German theatre, gives us a hard-hitting production which tackles an urgent question: how can people hold onto their humanity in brutal times?

Sat, 19/12/2015 - 15:15 - Wed, 30/12/2015 - 15:15


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