O'Casey plays in Vienna

O’Casey in Vienna: Der Preispokal /The Silver Tassie (1954)

There are two interesting essays about O’Casey productions in Vienna in the 1914-1969 period whose references I have come across in the ISAIL bibliography: one by Magarete Rubik (“Those Celts are Crazy” – she’s quoting, not suggesting, this is the case!) ed. Mayer, Novak and Rubik (2012) and the other by our own Dieter Fuchs “That is no Country for Young Men: The drama of Synge and O’Casey in Vienna 1914-1969” (in Anglo-German Exchanges, Leiden: Rodolfi, 2015).

Fuchs’ piece looks at both Synge and O’Casey but the second half focuses on O’Casey. It is a good example of how studying play production outside of Ireland can throw new light on the plays as well as on the place/moment in which the drama was enacted.  This approach has taken off in the last decade or so of scholarship and is, e.g. the basis of the ‘Irish Theatrical Diaspora’ series’ with Nicolas Grene and Chris Morash’s Irish Theatre on Tour (2005) and Peter Harris’s monograph From Stage to Page (2011).

The play I am discussing with students in Vienna this week, The Silver Tassie was performed in the Volktheatre in Wien in January 1954 for instance. What was that audience making of the play, translated as Der Preispokal, in that moment? How were O’Casey’s earlier plays on the Rising and its aftermath and performed in Vienna in the 1930s during its own political strife received? Read Dieter’s work or ask my Staging and Screening Students after our seminar.