4c 1910 THE EURYDICE SYNDROME
Spa Tobelbad, Summer 1910.
our patients? What do you think of our patients?
I'm afraid I haven't paid much attention to them yet.
me, Mister Gropius, am I disturbing you?
no, not at all, sister. Not at all!
you. - May I ask how you are today? Are you feeling comfortable
here? Or has anything been bothering you?
no, sister, on the contrary! Tobelbad strikes me as a wonderful
Tobelbad is a nice place indeed, but I was talking about our
institute. Have you had any problems with our spa you'd like
to share with me?
very sweet of you, sister, but I can't think of anything.
The food's very good, the place is calm and your medical staff
are very professional, very caring. Very discreet
must say, I like it here.
yes. - What a pity.
are you asking me all these questions? Do I look disturbed
or unsatisfied in any way?
no! By no means! But to be frank with you, I make a point
of observing the habits of our guests. I hope you won't take
it as an intrusion on your privacy...
at all! I suppose it's part of your responsibility to check
up on the well being of the patients, as you've put it...
I'm so glad that you understand my obligations. I am really
very grateful to you for your understanding.
Nothing could be more natural. After all, it's your work.
yes, indeed it is... But in all honesty, if you don't mind,
I have to say that : ever since you came to our spa, you haven't
been mixing very much with the other guests. .
I imagine ,that's the least you could say.
you've hardly said a word to anybody.
tell you the truth, 1909 has been a very turbulent year in
my career as an architect. And On top of that, I've had a
bad cold that's lingered on into the spring from last winter,
and the winter's been pretty hectic too.
I decided to spend the early summer in your resort. I simply
felt that I needed some rest. That's why I haven't been mixing
much with the others.. I decided to cut down on my socializing.
NURSE I see.
In that case it's my duty to respect your decision. I will
try to find another Orpheus
me! I was only joking. It's a kind of metaphor. You see, I'm
looking for someone who could be a confidant, a kindred spirit,
to support me in my work. I'm looking for someone young, brilliant
and good-looking to do a certain good deed, but
since you need rest ---
Wait!! Sister, wait! - May I ask what it is exactly that you
had in mind?
you ever have the chance to save a drowning person?
speaking metaphorically, of course.
course. Who is this »drowning person«?
a woman. She is an extremely precious creature.
she one of your patients?
She's here for the second time. Sometimes you wonder how such
an attractive, riveting and charming young thing could ever
look so unhappy
I must ask you to understand that I can't tell you right now.
Unfortunately, in this respect my hands are tied... I'm sure
you understand. I'm sorry, but after what I said about her,
I can't disclose her identity: her husband is too famous.
your Orpheus! You wanted me to -
yes, but of course, your own state of health takes priority.
After all, that's why you're here!
know, I know, but you just said you were looking for an
no! No! Not if you need your rest so badly
I do, but
see, she's not the kind of woman who goes along with the crowd..
On the contrary. Her husband must have an enormous spiritual
engine as opposed to his shriveled physique, to have reduced
this magnificent woman to such a weakened spiritual state.
But I've already taxed your patience for far too long. I've
said too much.
did you say you were looking for an Orpheus....
in my »leisure time«, so to speak, I've developed
an interesting theory, a theory about feminine frustration.
I call it »The Eurydice Syndrome«. You see, my
friend, it often happens that young, well-equipped and sumptuously
developed women, who marry famous and successful men, are
plunged into the deepest melancholy shortly after they sink
into the routine of married life. Their egocentric and insensitive
husbands forget that these splendidly lavish creatures are
made for love. They commit the unpardonable crime of letting
these wellsprings of life run dry. Their enormous erotic potential
becomes frustrated and degenerates into a neurotic condition.
For such a woman, life becomes a dark tunnel leading straight
down to Hell. And like Eurydice - who needs an Orpheus with
the courage and strength to descend into the dark and lead
her out to the warm light of passion and love - these poor
creatures also long for a helping hand to re-unite them with
the warm light of passion.
! - Who is this woman?
dear friend, do you really believe you have the resources
and energy it would take to give new life to a Eurydice? It's
a very risky undertaking. I must warn you that one more wound
could be fatal for her.
you said you yourself had gone through such turbulent times...
were turbulent in the positive sense of the word.
in the positive sense?....
the last few years have been extremely fruitful for me. You
see, I'm an architect. Last year I was very creative. I invented
an industrial method of building houses.
industrial method of building houses?! What's that?...
factories will produce a series of pre-fabricated elements,
such as panels that can be put together to create walls of
different sizes, or elements that can form ceilings, roofs
or floors. All these elements can be produced in huge quantities,
and can be assembled very quickly in a standardized procedure.
a prefabricated house like that could be built in no time.
who would want to live in prefabricated houses?
Do You think rich people who can afford to build their own
villas will be interested in your invention?
am not thinking of the rich. I'm thinking of the working classes.
Housing is going to become the crucial problem of the modern
world. This invention will cut down the price of accommodation.
Every working-class family should be able to afford their
what will those houses look like? And our towns, what will
they become? Endless chains of identical prefabricated apartment
houses! Your working-class people may own their homes, but
they won't be able to tell one home from the other! Our beautiful
towns will become an aesthetic disaster! I thought architecture
was an art!
course it's an art, but it's not concerned with art for art's
sake. That notion of art is dead. Art should serve the people.
Our concept of beauty will change. Your beautiful villas reflect
out-of-date rural aesthetics. We are moving towards an urban
society, and we will develop new urban aesthetics. I'm already
thinking of a transparent architecture, of screen-walls, of
inter-penetrating internal spaces ----
friend, if you could put half of your tempestuous heat and
enthusiasm into our Eurydice, I'm sure that unhappy creature
could be saved!
God, do you think so?! Then why don't you introduce her to
around. You can't miss her. When you see the most solitary,
melancholic and gorgeous woman in the sanatorium - you will
know it's her.
can't wait to meet her, sister!
I will introduce you .
is she, for God's sake?! Tell me her name!
out of the window into the garden) Madam, may we come down
to see you for a moment; I'd like to introduce you to someone.
NURSE 2 Yes,
sure, please come down!
may I introduce you to Mr Walter Gropius, an architect from
Berlin and a guest in our sanatorium. - Mrs Alma Mahler, wife
of the Director of the Vienna Court Opera House, Gustav Mahler.