Sunday, January 23, 2011
Wiener Gruppe - 2nd Literary Cabaret - 15. 4. 1959 Porrhaus, Vienna.
Friedrich Achleitner, Konrad Bayer, Gerhard Rühm and Oswald Wiener.
the evening (of 15th april, 1959) began as promisingly as the first one. as soon as the first spectator entered the auditorium we started to play the tape recording of an oil—extraction plant transmitted by loudspeaker, which we kept going for about three quarters of an hour till the beginning of the performance proper. this created a technical atmosphere and made for nervousness in the crowded audience (there were about 700 people).
then the "first number": the curtain rose, the ensemble was sitting on chairs in three rows, facing the audience and looking at it with great interest. the stage was dark, the auditorium lighted. We behaved like ordinary theatre-goers. one of us was late and tiptoed to his seat. we pointed a finger at individual spectators in the audience, gawking through our operaglasses, whispering. after some five minutes occasional bursts of laughter rose from the audience, which we interpreted as an important turn in the play we were watching; so we started to applaud just when the audience had started to do so as well, calling for the occasional encore. the atmosphere was great.
a grand piano was pushed onto the stage, and i started to sing a chanson in viennese dialect, "bye-bye, old toad", playing the piano in order to show that it was in perfect shape. konrad entered and read me some lines from a book on indian brothels. i rose and countered with "l’étre et le néant" ("why — what do you have on page 73’?"). in the background of the auditorium achi started his motor-scooter, driving, with rühm on the pillion, through the centre aisle toward the stage. both jumped off, opened suitcases they had brought along, put on fencing masks, and smashed the piano with hatchets. a penniless music student in the audience burst into a fit of crying, as so far she had been unable to afford such a piano. we liked this very much.
we soothed the audience with a set of chansons and another dialect play by rühm, "vowelists", which, however, was performed in an unusual way: it was rehearsed and produced for the first time under rühm’s direction, for later performance somewhere else. then followed a chanson which rühm had specially written for achleitner and schuppan; both, however, could not produce a single correct note so that the chanson was turned into a one-note tune, which they finally managed to sing more or less correctly.