Berichte für eine Akademie (Reports for an Academy)
Burgtheater Wien / George Tabori, Margit Koppendorfer
Wednesday 17 Nov. // 07:00 – 08:30 p.m.
Piece after two tales by Franz Kafka
Theatre’s genius George Tabori’s production hits its audience with tremendous impact in this startling linkage of stage action, Kafkaesque fantasy and reality. The small statued Peter Radtke, even though physically severe handicapped, plays in a mentally gifted and superbly acting way the monkey Rotpeter from the pages of Kafka’s »Bericht für eine Akademie« (»Report for an Academy«).
To escape his fate in a zoo, the imprisoned monkey painfully forced himself to adopt the debatable values of humanity. Resting on an armchair and sitting behind a large table, he fully enjoys his good fortune as »success biographer«. Rotpeter really gets carried away and romps around the table top. However in his verbal torrent the scandalous secret of his origin escapes him.
Portrayed by David Hirsch in the evening’s second performance, the elderly, grey-haired gentleman in the straitjacket appears noble yet spiritually crushed. Released from his bounds and throwing a fearful glance at his doctor and jailer, he tells of his attempts to provide happiness for humanity. His bodily appearance creates both compassion and pity until the words scorch themselves into the mind of the audience. It is a murderous instrument of torture which shelters a sensitive heart and through which he hopes to create never-ending happiness.
The actor uses the cryptic quote from Kafka’s »In der Strafkolonie« (»In the Penal Colony«) tale for his multifarious presentation. The separation of pretence and truth and the reversal of victim and culprit achieve through the compactness of its portrayal, through the cunningly defamiliarising play and through the inspiring genius of the text a breathless intensity.
Peter Radtke, physically handicapped since birth, finished high school, became an interpreter and commercial correspondent, studied German and Romance languages, and obtained a doctorate. He wrote theatre and radio plays, was a directing editor and started his career as actor in 1981.
David Hirsch began his career as an actor in Belfast and then played on London’s West End stages, as well as in variety shows, in cabarets and in movies. He made films in the USA, appeared on TV, on Broadway, and also on off-Broadway shows. Since 1991 he plays major parts in Vienna’s Burgtheater and amongst others the title role in Tabori’s version of »Nathan der Weise« (»Nathan the Wise«).
The Georg-Büchner prize-winner George Tabori is a drama player and a director. Born in Budapest and since 1941 holding British citizenship, he also worked in Hollywood and New York City. He is presently regarded as the great, cosmopolitan magician of the contemporary stage. The productions »Mein Kampf« and »Goldberg Variationen« made him word-famous as stage author.
»The with painstaking and merciless precision described and in ›Strafkolonie‹ (›Penal Colony‹) developped torture and execution apparatus … makes Kafka’s predictions apprehensively perceptible« (Wiener Zeitung, 01.05.1992).
»The ovations of a baffled and touched audience provided Radtke with one of the triumphs of his career« (Süddeutsche Zeitung, München, 18.06.1992).
Das Gastspiel erfolgt mit freundlicher Unterstützung durch den Österreichischen Bundestheaterverband, Wien.
Inszenierung: George Tabori, Margit Koppendorfer
Licht: Peter Watzek
Darsteller: Peter Radtke (in »Ein Bericht für eine Akademie«), David Hirsch (in »In der Strafkolonie«), Karl Heinz Gruber, Kosilo
3rd Festival Year