It should rattle before Kusej’s farewell

It should rattle before Kusej’s farewell
Martin Kusej

“Since we last came together here a year ago, a lot has changed in the world, in Austria, in Vienna and also here at the Burgtheater.” This is how Martin Kusej opened yesterday’s presentation of the 2023/24 season, which will be his last in the Haus am Ring. As the OÖN reported, Stefan Bachmann will succeed him.

“The events in the so-called Causa Teichtmeister also made me very, very thoughtful. I looked into the abysses that I didn’t think were possible,” said Kusej. The Burgtheater and its employees have been exposed to numerous right-wing attacks – for example in the form of spitting, graffiti, posters and leaflets. “The identities have spread here and tried to use the cause politically for themselves”, so he has committed himself to a “very clear course” in the coming Burgtheater season: “Namely that we are very concerned about democracy in this state and will therefore take a clear stance,” said Kusej. “Wake up before it gets dark again,” says the season booklet. “Just as little as we as a theater want to be ‘the castle’, we as Austria don’t want to be a fortress.” Kusej himself will direct Molière’s “The Misanthrope”. The stage for which Martin Zehetgruber is responsible is “a mirrored room with Viennese splendor – and underneath a cesspool” (premier: November 17th). Jan Philipp Gloger directs “The Side Effects”, where a supposedly liberal society reaches its limits, by US author Jonathan Spector. Warhorse Frank Castorf is planning an interpretation of Thomas Bernhard’s “Heldenplatz”, and Mateja Koleznik (McDonagh’s “Der einsame Westen”), Lucia Bihler (Kafka’s “Die Verwandlung”), Tina Lanik (Haratischwili’s “Phädra, in Flammen”) and Barbara Frey are also directing (Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”). Young local authors are represented by Ferdinand Schmalz (“hildensaga”) and Thomas Köck (“solastalgia”). The premiere of the winning text of the Retzhofer Drama Prize will also take place. Kusej himself will say goodbye on March 21 with Tennessee Williams’ “Orpheus Descends”: “This is a deeply anti-racist play that demonstrates the mechanisms of people’s exclusion in a small American town. I don’t know yet if it will play in America, in Carinthia or somewhere in Austria.”

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