Interview mit Joshua Sobol
What is a Polydrama?
Our experience with the audience
Genesis of the play
Alma - a monster of the 20th century
No creative energy without
sexual energy

Mother figure or femme fatale?
Alma's relation to Judaism
Love at first sight: Alma's men
Alma's sacrifice for Mahler
An epitomy of the 20th century
The curse of Alma's Autobiography
The encounter between
Mahler and Freud


Love at first sight: Alma's men

Paulus Manker
Alma was able to scrutinize ambition and creativity, and to pick up geniuses even before the men themselves knew that they were capable of being a world famous author as Werfel, for instance, was. Or when she met Gropius he was nothing at all, and Kokoschka was a wild, furios guy, but not even accepted by his collegues in Vienna. And Mahler was accepted and famous as a conductor, and as the director of the Royal opera house, but not yet as a composer.

Joshua Sobol
When she met Werfel he was an inspiring poet. People like Karl Kraus believed at that time, that he was going to be the most important German modern poet. But he was making his first steps at that time, he was not yet an established author, not at all. The interesting thing is that Alma probably made of Werfel an author of novels, and later a playwright, and a filmscriptwriter. I think that she pushed him in that direction, because she felt that a novel is going to be or is already the expression of our time, more than lyric poetry.

Oskar Kokoschka: Alma Mahler and Oskar Kokoschka Oskar Kokoschka: The Pure Face (1913)

left: Oskar Kokoschka: Alma Mahler and Oskar Kokoschka (1913)
right: Oskar Kokoschka: The Pure Face (1913)

It is interesting that Alma fell in love probably on first sight with people. She didn´t have to make a very long and deep acquaintance with someone in order to realize that a person was potentially a great artist like Kokoschka. We know that there was a meeting between them, and on that evening when they met, there was the "click", and it happened between the two of them. And he could not take his eyes of her, and she already was also fixed on him. And probably the next day or the next two or three days they were already making love, and became lovers to one another. It did not take more than two or three days. It´s obvious that at that moment she couldn´t resist, although she did not know much about Kokoschka. But she had this flair, she felt that here is one of the "monsters". The same thing happened to her when she saw Gropius probably. Again the feeling that this is one of the "monsters" of our time, and the same thing with Werfel. With Mahler it´s obvious. But he was already established when she met him. So she could not ignore him.

Alma and Gustav Mahler
Alma and Gustav Mahler stroll the hills near their summer home in Toblach (1909)