Feb 2002 Journal

previous article:Art Notes
next article:Continental Britons'

RG's Interface

Generational continuity. Having previously drawn attention to Matthew Neale (novelist son of Judith Kerr) and to John Krebs (scientist son of Sir Hans Krebs), we now focus on Tom Kempinski. Like the aforementioned two, Kempinski (almost) followed in his father's footsteps. While Gerhard had acted on the stage of the Free German League of Culture, Tom became a playwright, a calling for which his life provided ample material. Evacuated as a toddler to America, he grew so attached to his 'foster parents' that he experienced the postwar return to his real parents as a trauma. The long-term consequences of this were obesity and agoraphobia. Withal Kempinski is a gifted playwright, whose Duet for One (starring his then wife, Frances de la Tour) was a hit in the West End. Sad to relate, he has long espoused the anti-Zionist cause and refuses to have his work performed in 'racist' Israel.

Controversial choice. The German-Jewish remigrant Peter Zadek had long nursed a perverse ambition to stage a German-language version of Christopher Marlowe's Jew of Malta. He realised his dream in December, when the play 'premiered' at the Vienna Burgtheater. The translation is by Elfriede Jellinek, a renowned author of a play about the pro-Nazi philosopher Heidegger. On the subject of her native country Jellinek has stated: "Deeply Catholic Austria is in denial about Christian antisemitism, and projects its guilt on to the 'heathen' Nazis. But by stigmatising the Jews as 'perfidious' and labelling them 'Christ-killers', the Church paved the way for Hitler."

90th birthday. The opera expert Marcel Prawy has turned 90. His colourful career has included a stint as Jan Kiepura's secretary in the wartime USA, the introduction of American musicals to post-war continental Europe, and the directorship of Vienna's second opera house, the so-called Volksoper.

previous article:Art Notes
next article:Continental Britons'