Hugo von Hofmannsthal • Jedermann
The play about the death of the rich man
by Hugo von Hofmannsthal (1874–1929)
Revival in German
In case of bad weather the performance takes place at the Grosses Festspielhaus.
Duration of performance approx. 2 hours.
Print programme (PDF)
Julian Crouch, Brian Mertes, Stage Director
Julian Crouch, Sets, Masks and Puppets
Olivera Gajic, Costumes
David Tushingham, Dramaturgy
Martin Lowe, Musical Direction / Orchestration
Dan Scully, Lighting
Matt McKenzie, Sound
Jesse J. Perez, Choreography
Cornelius Obonya, Everyman
Miriam Fussenegger, Paramour
Peter Lohmeyer, Death
Christoph Franken, Devil
David Bennent, Mammon
Johanna Bantzer, Good Deeds
Hans Peter Hallwachs, Faith
Julia Gschnitzer, Everyman’s Mother
Sven Dolinski, Everyman's Good Companion
Hannes Flaschberger, Fat Cousin
Stephan Kreiss, Thin Cousin
Fritz Egger, A Debtor
Eva Herzig, The Debtor's Wife
Johannes Silberschneider, A Poor Neighbour
Sigrid Maria Schnückel, The Cook
Nikolaus Rucker, God
and Jordan Deschamps, Tamzin Griffin, Doris Kirschhofer, Felix Kreutzer, Saskia Lane, Johann Rosenhammer, Penelope Scheidler, Robert Thirtle
When Hugo von Hofmannsthal’s Jedermann was first performed 105 years ago – in Berlin at the Schumann Circus, directed by the rising star Max Reinhardt – the audience cheered and the critics shook their heads in disbelief.
They forecast that the work would have a short life and condemned it to literary and worldly insignificance. The audience kept on cheering and flocked to the performances which extended throughout the German-speaking territories. The situation remains the same today.
Seldom has a play withstood such destructive criticism while at the same time attaining such popularity. A miracle, one could say. Or perhaps just one of the deeper truths about the theatre.
In Salzburg Jedermann has been performed for over ninety years and it’s impossible to imagine the Festival without associating it with Jedermann – even if you’ve never actually seen the play. Jedermann belongs to Salzburg just like Mozart, or, cruel tongues might say, Mozartkugeln. The truly great Fritz Kortner made the not unhumorous remark that millionaires from all over the world hurry to Jedermann to see that it is easier for a rich man to enter heaven than for a camel to be threaded through the eye of a needle. With a probability bordering on certainty each new production will lead to dissatisfaction in the media but will also, with equal probability, be sold out. Past, present and future opponents of Jedermann apparently regard the audience as too stupid, too Catholic, too middlebrow, too conservative or all of these at the same time.
At the risk of appearing intellectually challenged, saintly, retro and lacking in knowledge, I am willing to admit: I love Jedermann. Yes, sometimes I laugh at the Knittelvers and the strange flow of the lines. And yes, I do laugh at the speed of the rich man’s conversion, but the truth is: I am moved. And our thoroughly heterogeneous audience appears to feel the same way. Death, the desire to make sense of things and a yearning for a hereafter are basic questions in our lives and they should not be ignored. Perhaps they are the most fundamental questions.
The play’s accomplishment lies in its deliberate naiveté. And in the many, many performances which I have watched, performed in or produced, the audience has cried, laughed and cheered. It’s a miracle, this Jedermann. Only a theatrical miracle, but still…
(Translation: David Tushingham)