dimanche 22 mars 2020

Tom Stoppard, 'Leopoldstadt' sa grande pièce de théâtre juive

Tom Stoppard
Wynn Wheldon @ Commentary:
The foremost dramatist in the English language has produced a masterpiece at 82

Tom Stoppard’s new play, Leopoldstadt, which recently opened at Wyndham’s Theatre in London, concerns the fates of two haute bourgeois Viennese families in the period from 1899 to 1955. As the play opens, there are 16 characters on stage, almost all of them Jewish. At the close, there are three.

Vienna 1899 is the city of Freud, Klimt, Mahler, Schnitzler. Ten percent of its population is Jewish. Great strides have been made. Says the patriarchal Hermann Merz: “My grandfather wore a caftan, my father went to the opera in a top hat, and I have the singers to dinner”—though “obviously prejudice doesn’t disappear overnight” and he has become “Christianized.” His son Jacob is circumcised and baptized in the same week. Hermann regards Vienna as “the Promised Land” and sees little point in Zionist dreams of a Levantine home. “Do you want to do mathematics in the desert?” he asks of his brother-in-law Ludwig.

Ludwig asserts that “a Jew can be a great composer. He can be the toast of the town. But he can’t not be a Jew.” The first part of Leopoldstadt ends with Hermann having to acknowledge as much after he challenges to a duel an officer, Fritz, who has made an insulting insinuation about his wife.
FRITZ: In my regiment an officer is not permitted to fight a Jew.
HERMANN: I’m a Christian.
FRITZ: This is painful for me.
HERMANN: I’m a Christian, damn you!
FRITZ: Let me put it this way. In my regiment, an officer is not permitted to fight someone whose mother was a Jew.
“Since a Jew is devoid of honor from the day of his birth,” Fritz says, “it is impossible to insult a Jew.” Hermann returns home to participate in a full-scale seder: “It is still our duty to retell the story of how we were brought out of Egypt…” This is the final line of the act.
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