Black Water



variable casting

A Spanish island, an Austrian politician and the niece of a Russian oligarch: A toxic blend. A hidden camera captures the man promising the woman total control over national media in order to bolster his grasp on power. Caught up in a Dionysian ecstasy, he even sells her the country’s natural heritage. Rivers and lakes can be privatised for a profit, he explains, mountains and valleys leveraged for lucrative road-building contracts. When the plan becomes public, the politician and the government are torn apart. Although the young chancellor resigns, ending his short tenure in office, many still see him as the nation’s saviour.

The names of the characters in Schwarzwasser (Black Water) are well known. But as always in Jelinek’s work, they’re almost incidental; her focus is on something far more fundamental. With her characteristic virtuosity, Jelinek links current events with ancient drama – most prominently Euripides’ The Bacchae – to show how right-wing populist ideas spread quickly and infect every aspect of our lives with the agency of a virus. They poison the social and environmental climate, provoking a global catastrophe.

World premiere
08.02.2020 Burgtheater (Akademietheater) Wien (Director: Robert Borgmann)

Greek (Translation: Adonis Galeos)
Greek premiere 31.10.2022 ROES Theater, Athens (Director: Theodore Abatzis)

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