Odӧn Von Horvath's play was presented at Horace Mann Theater in New York in December 1999. It was co-sponsored by Columbia University and the Austrian Cultural Center in the United States.
The production aimed to unmask Horvath's almost grotesque characters and the myth of a decaying Vienna, as well as illustrate the author's epigram to his Tales from the Vienna Woods “Nothing gives so profound a sense of infinity as stupidity.” For this reason, it was structured around the irony of a glorified past that no longer is and its characters’ attempt to cling to it for dear life, ignoring the signs of the times, the fast changing social landscape of Vienna on the eve of World War II.
The production described this paradox in strong visual terms, capturing the clash between past and present, illusion and reality, seeming propriety and blatant brutality in contrasting colors. It also purported to universalize the particular, de-familiarize the everyday and expose the emptiness of a language unable to sustain the complexities and range of human essence. In so doing, it created a visceral experience in the audience, by entertaining, moving, disorienting, devastating and ultimately answering the play’s ambiguities with even more questions.
Text: Odӧn von Horvath
Direction: Avra Sidiropoulou
Dramaturgy: Nina Hein
Set design: Julian Hoyos
Lighting design: Maria Christina Fusté
Costume design: Rachel Carr
Music: Young Koh
Cast: Alice Cutler, Sheryl Dold, Matthew Ellis, Pia Franco, Haakon Jepsen, Tom Dale Keever, Marlene May, Jeffry Miller, Gene A. Morra, Catherine Steindler, Brian Turnbaugh