The Schauspielhaus in Graz, Austria's second biggest city, has landed quite a coup with the Austrian premiere of Love! Valour! Compassion, Dec. 5.
Terrence McNally's play about eight "longtime companions", who are shown spending the long weekends of Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day together, was a Tony Award-winning Broadway hit that was subsequently turned into a movie.
Peter Fuchs, dramatic adviser, saw the play at its European premiere at the renowned Hamburger Schauspielhaus in November 1996. In a telephone conversation with Playbill On-Line, he cited the reasons why he decided to bring Liebe! Staerke! Mitgefuehl! to Graz: "Austrian law unfortunately still gives homosexual couples not the same rights as heterosexual ones. I think that L!V!C! should bring a better understanding to people how gay men think and act. All in all, it's one of the greatest plays I have ever seen."
The subject of homosexuality, in and outside the world of theatre, has become more topical then ever in Austria these days. Alfons Haider, one of the most popular TV and theatre actors, recently outed himself as being homosexual. His statement has made a lot of headlines because "coming out" is not as common here as in the States yet.
Under the direction of Lutz Graf, the roles in the Grazer production of L! V! C! are played by Karsten Flatt (Bobby Brahms), Darrell Toulon (Ramon Fornos), Oliver Nitsche (Buzz Hauser), Joerg Lichtenstein (John Jeckyll), Andre Wagner (Gregory Mitchell), Johannes Schmidt (Arthur Pape) and Alexander Kurzwernhart (Perry Sellars). Performance dates of Liebe! Staerke! Mitgefuehl! : Dec. 9, 13, 16; Jan. 8, 9, 14, 21; Feb 5. All performances start at 7.30 PM.
Tickets can be ordered at (Tel): +43-316-8000.
--By Bernd Freimueller