Hugo von Hofmannsthal • Jedermann
Das Spiel vom Sterben des reichen Mannes
von Hugo von Hofmannsthal (1874–1929)
The new production is supported by Swarovski
In case of bad weather in the Grosses Festspielhaus
Print program (PDF)
Julian Crouch, Brian Mertes, Director
Julian Crouch, Sets
Olivera Gajic, Costumes
David Tushingham, Dramaturgy
Martin Lowe, Conductor/Orchestration
Dan Scully, Lighting
Jesse J. Perez, Choreography
Cornelius Obonya, Everyman
Brigitte Hobmeier, Paramour
Peter Lohmeyer, Death
Simon Schwarz, Devil
Sarah Viktoria Frick, Good Deeds
Hans Peter Hallwachs, Faith
Florentina Rucker, God
Jürgen Tarrach, Mammon
Julia Gschnitzer, Everyman's Mother
Patrick Güldenberg, Everyman's Good Companion
Hannes Flaschberger, Fat Cousin
Stephan Kreiss, Thin Cousin
Fritz Egger, A Debtor
Katharina Stemberger, The Debtor's Wife
Johannes Silberschneider, A Poor Neighbour
Sigrid Maria Schnückel, The Cook
Stephan Kreiss, Hannes Flaschberger, Narrator
and Tamzin Griffin, Saskia Lane, Chad Lynch, Marc Osterer, Orlando Pabotoy, Jesse Perez, Robert Thirtle
Ensemble 013: Alois Eberl, Tobias Ennemoser, Antonia-Alexa Georgiew, Gernot Haslauer, Sophie Hassfurther, Robert Kainar, Chris Neuschmid, Joschi Öttl, Heidi Reicher, Magdalena Zenz
Artists: Doris Kirschhofer, Penelope Scheidler
Hugo von Hofmannsthal, who wrote a modernist manifesto in Lord Chandos’ Letter, knew very well why he borrowed the clothing of a medieval mystery play: in his language and our own – the language of scepticism, of irony, of mistrusting speech at all times – he would never have been able to deal with his subject: the finite nature of our life and the nothingness of our earthly possessions. And the question of God which urgently and inevitably presents itself as a result.
The Christian and specifically Catholic flavour of the work, which is responsible for a good deal of the unease it provokes need no longer be regarded today as the theatrical embodiment of an all-powerful church. We may well, however – precisely as a result of the historical distance which Hofmannsthal gave his Jedermann (Everyman) – ask ourselves just how we view our own contemporary “Good Works”. What is the thinking on which we base our own ethics, our own morality? What are the beliefs which allow us to experience consolation and hope?
Perhaps Everyman is less of an attempt to remind us of belief than to emphasise its loss. Less a celebration of the supposed certainties of the church than an expression of our modern uncertainty. Less a demand for Christian humility than an expression of no confidence in our self-empowerment. Less about helping us to see the beyond and more about mourning for a heaven which is empty.
The mystery plays of the Middle Ages were performed at fairgrounds by travelling players. Their pious content served simultaneously as a pretext for robust theatre. The emblematic characters offered plenty of opportunities for colourful representations of life and the theatre’s subversive and anarchistic powers can be assumed to have prevailed over the wishes of authority.
Arthur Kahane, Max Reinhardt’s dramaturg, once observed that making theatre was like entrusting the holiest of holies to a whore. He was, however, at pains to emphasise that this misalliance offered enormous advantages to both parties. The playwright Hofmannsthal tackled this theme more than once, Reinhardt too. Their ambition was to combine the sensuality of performance with the spiritual task of literature. Not in order to facilitate the triumph of one or the other but to demonstrate the equal status of both operating together. Everyman is a text which illustrates this ambition perfectly. It is not for nothing that it has been able to hold audiences in Salzburg in its spell for over ninety years.
We are delighted to have found a directorial team in Julian Crouch and Brian Mertes who will accept this challenge with passion and imagination and extend the festival’s great Everyman tradition.
Translated by David Tushingham