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Carpenters in ‘Heroes’ Square’, the latest work by Thomas Bernhard at the Argentina theater

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Politicians, left and right, journalists, the military, the Church, the judiciary, writers, the theater: practically no one is saved Politicians, right and left, albeit for different if not opposite reasons; journalists; the military; the church; the judiciary; the writers; the Theater: practically no one is saved. The whole of Austria is not saved in the invective that supports the entire scaffolding of ‘Heroes’ Square, the last work of Thomas Bernhard, written about ten months before his death, now on stage until 23 January at the Argentina theater in Rome, with Renato Carpentieri leading the large number of actors on stage, directed by Roberto Andò, among the scenography, changing in the three acts reunited from the piano music of Vincenzo Pasquariello, designed by Gianni Carluccio, in the costumes signed by Daniela Cernigliaro, for a production by Mercadante of Naples, Rossetti of Trieste and Teatro della Toscana. The ‘Heroes’ Square’ evoked by the title is the Heldenplatz in Vienna where in 1938 – exactly half a century away from 1988 when Thomas Bernhard wrote his play – Hitler announced the Anschluss, the annexation of Austria to Germany of the Third Reich, with the cheering crowd, whose voices continue to be heard in the mind of Mrs. Schuster, newly widowed after the suicide of her husband, a mathematician, who threw herself out of the window in a gesture of both refusal and protest towards a country where the Nazi soul has never died out and, indeed, seriously threatens to return to power. For the director Roberto Andò, “it is an undisputed masterpiece. When the writer died, the public who had loved him received the message of radical drama of this work with such intense emotion as to be unbearable, associating it with the notarial deed that Bernhard had deposited and with the will in which, with visionary provocation, the writer had ordered that both the publication of his texts and their staging were forbidden in his country of origin. The uproar aroused at the Viennese debut confirmed his furious criticism of the permanence in Austria of authoritarian and fascist structures and the ferocious judgment for the political class guilty of never having really cut with the Nazi past: it is its most political text “. (by Enzo Bonaiuto)

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