THE AFFAIRS OF ANATOL

21 May

THE AFFAIRS OF ANATOL ****
BY ARTHUR SCHNITZLER
AT THE PENTAMETERS THEATRE
English version by Harley Granville Barker
Arthur Schnitzler was a well established member of “Jung Wien” the group of Viennese avant garde playwrights in the early twentieth century.
He was closely associated with the work of Sogmund Freud although apparently they never met. This is a quartet of feminist plays. Very interesting and controversial for the times. Apparently when Harley Granville-Barker produced his translation, they met with a mixed reception.
The setting is 1900’s Vienna, Anatole is looking for love. Unfortunately he cannot accept the fact that his women need a little more freedom than he is prepared to give. He believes in playing the field, but is extremely jealous of his lady friends, believing they are behaving the same – but they are Female and therefore are not allowed to do this.
Of course, he cannot win and cannot understand why not.
This series of four short plays probes the curious mind of the anti hero, played well moustached by Scott Westoby, his relationship with four different young ladies and the amused reactions of his friend Max, played with many a twinkle by Canadian Jesse Cooper.
The first one involves his fascination with hypnotism and his rabid jealousy of Hilda (Josefine Reich)who he suspects of having an affair. He is trying to hypnotise her into telling him who her lover is, but he cannot find the right words to use.
The second one involves Gabrielle, Rianna Ash. He is in the middle of an affair with Dolly a lower class lady, but he will still flirt with Gabrielle who has married somebody else.
The third story has Rianna Ash again as Emily. A girl who has had many lovers. When their affair began, he destroyed her past, burning gifts from lovers, dairies and love letter, but she has kept one present secret.
Finally Anatol is meeting Mimi (Josefine Reich) for supper intending to tell her he has finished with her and is in love with somebody else. Mimi has a surprise for him. Max is asked to be there as chaperone.
The actors all work well and it makes for an amusing evening.
Direction is by Michael Friend and there is a splendid setting painted by John Dalton

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