Die Schwerkraft der Verhältnisse
GUEST PERFORMANCE BURGTHEATER VIENNA
A dull, heavy pall of smog lies over the town Donaublau, choking the breath of its residents. After some time in an asylum, Berta Schrei finally gets a visit from her husband Wilhelm on her 40th birthday. But Wilhelm, a returnee from the front, a chauffeur and “smiling representative of his nation”, is now involved with Berta’s friend Wilhelmine, who “has a too deliberate and awkward way of spooning her egg”. In the course of her marriage, the introverted Berta had always tried in vain to keep herself and her two children safe from external influences. Before a tragedy took away her speech, she would tell her children: “A man, a word, and then you’re lost.”
In her novel, Marianne Fritz opposes the narrow-minded rigidity of the post-war era with a polyphonic literature of dreams, wishes and memories, whose protagonist Berta does “everything wrong somehow” and yet manages to escape the weight of things as an autonomous heroine.
During her lifetime, the Austrian author Marianne Fritz (1948 – 2007) was an uncompromising recluse from public life. Her opus magnum was “Die Festung”: a poetically dense prose project of several thousand pages which had the entire history of Austria as its subject. Her award-winning debut novel “The Weight of Things” was published in 1978 and has since undeservedly sunk into oblivion.