Kasimir und Karoline
Ödön von Horváth
Attention, ladies and gentlemen! The Oktoberfest promises entertainment of all kinds for children and adults, for the rich and the poor alike – and Karoline wants to have a good time. She wants to go higher, both on the roller coaster and in life. Kasimir can’t keep up. After he lost his job just the day before, he doesn’t feel like providing amusement, not without money in his pocket. Repelled by his melancholy, Karoline breaks away from Kasimir and accepts invitations from well-to-do gentlemen. Meanwhile, Kasimir meets Merkl Franz, an old acquaintance of his, who lures him into petty crime schemes. Kasimir and Karoline circle each other like magnets, attracting and repelling each other. They misunderstand each other again and again and will have no future together.
Their difficulties are symptomatic of an entire society where relationships are torn and differing social realities are hard to reconcile; frenzied consumption on one side and existential worries and a lack of prospects on the other side are no sound basis for love and life. Kasimir and Karoline are slowly losing sight of each other – both literally and figuratively. Love is a very fleeting emotion amid rigid social hierarchies and conventions.
Horváth’s play premiered in 1932 and portrays a society that is ruled by the pressures of competition – both in economics and in human relationships.
Ödön von Horváth (1901–1938) grew up in Belgrade, Munich, Bratislava and Vienna. He studied in Munich and lived in Murnau (Upper Bavaria) and in Berlin. Faced with growing hostilities and a performance ban on his plays in Germany, Horváth relocated to Vienna in 1933. He died in Paris after being hit by a falling branch in a thunderstorm on the Champs-Élysées on 1 June 1938.
Carl Philip von Maldeghem staged Ödön von Horváth’s “Tales from the Vienna Woods” in Salzburg in the 2018/2019 season. During the upcoming renovation work on the Salzburg State Theatre, he will now be presenting “Kasimir und Karoline”, a play set at the Munich Oktoberfest that almost seems made for performances in a theatre tent. Stefanie Seitz will design the stage and costumes.