Venice Beach, California, 1942. Arnold Schönberg, Thomas Mann, Theodor Adorno, Bertolt Brecht and Alma Mahler-Werfel are sitting on a beach talking about freedom and dignity, when all of a sudden a Mickey Mouse balloon flies over their heads.
This piece shows that a political play can be synonymous with playful, fresh, witty theatre that embraces fiction with a vengeance in an effort to understand reality.Knack Focus
As Schönberg once said in his American lectures, these intellectuals, cast off by the old continent and taken in by the US, are ‘driven into paradise’. Every single one of them has a personal and complex relationship with the promised land. They all, each in their own way, have to find their feet on the new continent where, they feel, the pursuit of happiness is mainly understood as the acquisition of vast amounts of money. Often there is a big gap between this aspiration and their European heritage. How do you deal with feelings of displacement in the land of superficiality? How does it feel to be without a ‘heimat’? To become ‘speechless’? How does it feel to long for a country that you needed to flee because it wanted to destroy you?
‘Vanish Beach’ wants to explore how some of the most famous exiles of the 20th century defended, revised or abandoned their European traditions in their new ‘paradise’. And whether we, in this day and age, could or would mount a similar defence. An exploration of ‘home’ and the idea of feeling displaced in your own home country.
Combining an endearing levity and profundity, this production addresses a social reality. Intelligent, playful and relevant.Theaterkrant.nl