Genesis of the play
Why did you take a "footnote of this century" as
the center of such an exuberant and enormous enterprise?
I have been planning originally to write a play about Gustav
Mahler for many years, and I have been reading a lot about
Gustav Mahler, and he was the center of my interest. But I
never knew how to start to write the play about Gustav Mahler.
I only had one thing in mind, that was his notorious encounter
with Sigmund Freud in Leyden. And of course this meeting between
the two of them took place only because of Alma, and what
she did to Mahler. And so slowly my interest shifted to Alma.
But it was not my original intension to take Alma as the center
of my play. And then, when we had the idea together of finding
a subject for a play which would justify playing kind of a
"Polydrama" in many spaces at the same time, and
activating the audience, and making the spectator active in
choosing his way in the story, one of the ideas was to take
Alma as a possible subject for such a play. Because of the
complexity of her biography, and because her biography reflects
the history of the first fifty years of our century.
I think that Alma is also an epitome of the destiny of women
in the first half of our century by her constant struggle
to establish herself, to cut a place for herself amidst the
world which is governed by very strong male characters. And
Alma tried to push her way into that circle, and to occupy
a place of importance amidst those male monsters of our century.
And in a way she came too early, because if she lived in the
second half of the century, she would not have any problem
in trying to establish herself as a composer. But in the first
half of our century she had still to struggle for her existence,
and finally was pushed into the role of a "housewife"
so to speak, of someone who accompanies the great men, but
it is not allowed to occupy the same place like they did.
Alma is only a footnote in the history of our century, but
when you focus on her you realize that she tells a story,
a certain, very important story about the struggle of women
in our century to change their status in society. And Alma
payed a terrible price. She payed the ultimate price. She
had to sacrifice her career, she had to sacrifice her vocation.
She was pushed into the vocation of a "woman", of
a "beautiful woman" or an "atttractive woman",
and she had to abandon her vocation as a creative person.
All this makes of her a very passionate character, a dramatic
character. The fact that she struggled, that she didn´t
give up, and that she did not accept it in a mediocre way.
She was fighting - as I see it - all her life.
And so I think that she deserves a great drama.