La Ronde! //
On 23 December 1920 Arthur Schnitzler’s »Reigen« premiered for the first time at the Kleines Schauspielhaus in Berlin, sparking one of the greatest theatre scandals of the 20th century. Schnitzler’s dialogues feature ten different characters from various social classes, all of whom go to bed with one another. Schnitzler describes the temptation, desire, power games and disappointments in these sexual pursuits – which his contemporaries found disturbingly realistic and candid. The theatre directors and actors were taken to trial and the play was cancelled after only a few performances. Schnitzler and his heirs forbade the production of the play in the German-speaking countries until 1982.
Much has changed since its world premiere almost 100 years ago. On one hand, we see increasing divorce rates, »open« relationships, smartphone apps for one-night stands, unrestricted access to pornography on the Internet, breast enlargements as 18th-birthday presents, »Fifty Shades of Grey« and teenage pregnancies. On the other, we have »worried parents« protesting sexual diversity, the Pope forbidding contraception, »purity rings« and therapy to supposedly »treat« homosexuality.
How do (sexual) relationships function with respect to online communication, Hollywood beauty ideals and naked swinger parties? What role does our relationship to our body play, and the desire before and the emptiness after intercourse? How much power, pretence, fetish, love and prudery do we and our partners need?
Lorenz Maria Krieger