Almeida Theatre | Judgment Day
Keith Pattison
In a new version by Christopher Hampton

Judgment Day

By Ödön von Horváth
Ticket prices: £8 - £32
Thu 3 Sep 2009 - Sat 17 Oct 2009

It’s just another normal day at a small town station where a handful of  passengers are waiting for the stopping train. Then Thomas Hudetz, the well-liked station master, is momentarily distracted by a young woman and seconds later eighteen people are dead.

Standing in the wreckage of the 405 Express train, can Thomas accept the truth that is hurtling towards him and if not, how long can he postpone the day of judgment?

Ödön von Horváth’s penultimate play is a vividly characterised portrayal of a society that refuses to take responsibility for its actions.

Christopher Hampton is one of Britain’s leading playwrights and translators. His previous adaptations include von Horváth’s Tales from the Vienna Woods (National Theatre), Les Liaisons Dangereuses (for stage and film), the West End hits Art and God of Carnage by Yasmin Reza, and the screenplay for Atonement. His own plays include The Philanthropist, Tales from Hollywood and The Talking Cure.

James Macdonald previously directed The Triumph of Love at the Almeida. He was associate director at the Royal Court for 14 years, premiering works by among others Sarah Kane, Caryl Churchill and Martin Crimp; since then he has directed A Number for HBO/BBC, and plays for the National Theatre, the Lincoln Center and Public Theater in New York, in the West End, on Broadway and at the Schaubühne Berlin.

Performances are approx. 1hr 45mins. There is no interval.

Latecomers may not be admitted.

Evening performances 7.30pm
Midweek matinees 2.30pm on 30 Sept and 14 Oct
Saturday matinees 3.00pm from 12 Sept

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The Cast
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David Annen - Alfons

 

 


David Annen’s theatre credits include A Disappearing Number for Théâtre de Complicité, Chains of Dew and Suppressed Desires for the Orange Tree, Henry VIII for the RSC, Guantanamo  Tricycle Theatre and  West End, After Mrs. Rochester for Shared Experience and in the West End, and Andorra and Demons and Dybbuks for the Young Vic.  His screen credits include The West Wittering Affair, Something For Nothing, Criminal Justice, The Commander, Tales from the Jungle, The Chatterley Affair, Gideon’s Daughter, Mile High, Doctors, Dream Team, The Bill and Casualty.

 

 

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Suzanne Burden - Mrs Hudetz

 


Suzanne last performed at the Almeida as Goneril in King Lear. Other extensive theatre credits include The Chalk Garden at the Donmar Warehouse, Macbeth for Chichester Festival Theatre, The Comedy of Errors, Solstice and Les Liaisons Dangereuses for the RSC, as well as many productions for the National Theatre including Hedda Gabler, The Voysey Inheritance and The Shaughraun.  Her many television credits include Murphy’s Law, My Family, Life Begins, Between the Lines and The Lost Prince.  Her film credits include 1939, The Escort and Strapless

 

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Laura Donnelly - Anna

 

 

Laura Donnelly was last on stage inRomeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park. Her television credits include Merlin, Occupation, Be More Ethnic, Sugar Rush and Rough Diamond.  On film her credits include Dread, Insatiable and Right Hand Drive.

 

 

 

 

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Patrick Drury

 


Patrick recently appeared at the Almeida Theatre in Waste. Other theatre credits include Much Ado About Nothing, Danton’s Death, Don Juan, Sergeant Musgrave’s Dance, Bartholomew Fair, Fram (National Theatre), Someone Else’s Shoes (Soho Theatre/English Touring Theatre), Mother Courage and her Children, Hamlet (English Touring Theatre), Rebecca (Vienna’s English Theatre), The Graduate (Tour). Her television includes Midsomer Murders, Cold Blood, Doctors, Judge John Deed, Silent Witness. And film includes: Laughterhouse, The Awakening, The Nightingale Saga.

 

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Ben Fox - Kohut/Customer

 

 

Ben Fox’s theatre credits include Awaking Beauty, A Trip to Scarborough and Forget-me-not-Lane for the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Laurel and Hardy and Some Like It Hot for the Woolsey Theatre, Ipswich and Troilus and Cressida and Bedroom Farce for Theatre Clwyd.  His screen credits include Sweeney Todd, Holby City, Behind Closed Doors and Bubble and Squeak.

 

 

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Tom Georgeson - Landlord

 


Tom was last seen at the Almeida in Lulu. Tom Georgeson’s theatre credits include When We Are Married for West Yorkshire Playhouse, Glass Eels for Hampstead Theatre, Incomplete and Random Acts of Kindness for the Royal Court and Frozen and Dealer’s Choice for the National Theatre.  His screen credits include Ashes to Ashes, Our Mutual Friends, Hancock and Joan, Land Girls, Notes on a Scandal and Morality Play.

 

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Daniel Hawksford - Ferdinand

 


Daniel Hawksford’s theatre credits include King Lear at the Globe, The Hour We Knew Nothing of Each Other and Much Ado About Nothing for the National Theatre as well as Memory, Aqua Nero and Troilus and Cressida all for Theatre Clwyd, and The School of Night, Cymberline and The Taming of the Shrew for the RSC.  His screen credits include Colditz, Pelican Blood and Flesh and Blood.

 

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Jack James - Salesman/Detective/Platelayer

 

 

Jack recently appeared at the Almeida Theatre in Marianne Dreams. His other theatre credits include Cyrano de Bergerac for Chichester Festival Theatre, Frozen at Riverside Studios and Richard II at the Old Vic, as well as many credits for the National Theatre including The Menu, The Coast of Utopia and The Merchant of Venice.  His screen roles include Trial and Retribution, Canary Wharf and Madharasapattanam.

 

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Joseph Millson - Thomas Hudetz

 


Joseph Millson’s theatre credits include Every Good Boy Deserves Favour and Pillars of the Community for the National Theatre, Fear and Misery for the Royal Court, Cinderella for the Old Vic and numerous productions for the RSC including Much Ado About Nothing, King John and The God in the Manger.  Joseph Millson is best known on screen as Sam Morgan in Peak Practice and Jason James in EastEnders.  His other screen credits include Ashes to Ashes, Survivors, New Tricks, The Sarah Jane Adventures, Casino Royale and Telstar.

 

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Jake Nightingale - Policeman

 

 

Jake Nightingale’s stage credits include Monty Python’s Spamalot at the Palace Theatre, Mr Puntilla and his Man Matti for the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Steptoe and Son at the Comedy Theatre, Sing Yer Heart Out for the Lads for the National Theatre and many productions for the RSC.  His screen credits include Oliver Twist, Consenting Adults, The Vice, Hustle, Gulliver’s Travels and To Kill a King.

 

 

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Julie Riley - Leni

 

 

Julie Riley’s theatre credits include Amateur Girl for Hull Truck, Road and Spring and Port Wine for Bolton Octagon, Feed for Oldham Coliseum, Beautiful Thing for Nottingham Playhouse,
Dust to Dust at the Assembly Rooms and Messiah at the Riverside Studios.  Her screen credits include Doctors, Holby City, Emmerdale and Donovan.

 

 

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Andy Williams - Woodsman/Inspector

 


Andy Williams’ theatre credits include Brief Encounter, A Matter of Life and Death and Nights at the Circus for Kneehigh as well as roles for the National Theatre and the RSC.   His screen credits include Heartbeat, Doctors, Wire in the Blood and Ghost Squad.

 

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Sarah Woodward - Frau Leimgruber


Sarah Woodward’s theatre credits include Rookery Nook for the Menier Chocolate Factory, Merry Wives of Windsor, The Comedy of Errors and Much Ado About Nothing for The Globe, A Midsummer Night’s Dream for the Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park, Tom and Clem at the Aldwych and Habeas Corpus and The Real Thing for the Donmar Warehouse.  Her screen credits include Bright Young Things, Doctors, Final Demand and New Tricks.

 

The Child will be played by Lewis Lempereur – Palmer and Thomas Patten

 

 
Creative Team

 

Christopher Hampton - Translator

 

Christopher Hampton’s version of Yasmina Reza’s Conversations After a Burial was presented by the Almeida in 2000.  He has also collaborated with Reza on Art and God of Carnage.   He has previously adapted von Horváth’s Tales from the Vienna Woods, Faith Hope and Charity and Don Juan Comes Back from the War. In his own play, Tales from Hollywood, von Horváth features as a major character.   Hampton’s other plays include White Chameleon and The Talking Cure both for the National Theatre where his version of An Enemy of the People was also staged.  More recently his adaptations of The Seagull and Three Sisters were produced in London.   His other theatre work includes Les Liaisons Dangereuses - for which he also wrote the Academy Award winning screenplay, and Sunset Boulevard.  His film work includes Carrington, Mary Reilly, The Quiet American and Atonement.

James Macdonald - Director

 

James Macdonald last directed The Triumph of Love for the Almeida.  His other more recent directing credits include Top Girls on Broadway with Marisa Tomei and Martha Plimpton, The Hour We Knew Nothing of Each Other for the National Theatre and Glengarry Glen Ross at the Apollo Theatre.  His other credits include Drunk Enough to Say I Love You and Dying City, both for the Royal Court, and Exiles for the National Theatre.  Previously he has directed Love’s Labour’s Lost and Richard II for the Royal Exchange Theatre, Roberto Zucco and The Tempest for the Royal Shakespeare Company and Blasted, The Changing Room, Cleansed and A Number all for the Royal Court.  His opera credits include Eugene Onegin and Rigoletto for Welsh National Opera, Wolf Cub Village/Night Banquet for Almeida Opera and Lives of the Great Poisoners for Second Stride/Riverside Studios.  James Macdonald’s production of Caryl Churchill’s A Number, starring Tom Wilkinson and Rhys Ifans, has recently been shown on BBC2. 

 

Miriam Buether - Designer

 

Miriam trained in costume design at Akademie für Kostüm Design in Hamburg and in theatre design at Central Saint Martins. She was the overall winner of the 1999 Linbury Prize.
For the Almeida:
When the Rain Stops Falling.

Other theatre design (set and costume) includes: Everybody Loves A Winner (Manchester International Festival);In the Red and Brown Water; The Good Soul Of Szechuan; Generations(Young Vic); Six Characters In Search Of An Author(Chichester Festival Theatre/West End); The Bacchae (National Theatre of Scotland/Lyric Hammersmith); Realism (National Theatre of Scotland); Relocated; My Child; The Wonderful World of Dissocia; Way to Heaven (Royal Court Theatre); Red Demon(Young Vic/Japan); The Bee(Soho Theatre/Japan); Long Time Dead, pool (no water)(Theatre Royal Plymouth); Unprotected(Traverse/Liverpool Everyman); Trade (RSC/Soho Theatre); Guantanamo;Honor Bound to Defend Freedom (Tricycle Theatre/West End/New York/San Francisco).

Dance (set and costume) includes: Frame Of View (Didy Veldman in New York); Cinderella (Göteborg Opera Ballet Company);Dalston Songs(Royal Opera House);Hartstocht(Introdans, Netherlands);Sacrifice (Welsh National Opera); Tenderhooks (Canadian National Ballet).

Moritz Junge - Costume Design

 

Born in Germany, Moritz studied at the Hochschule der Künste, Berlin, and at the Slade School of Fine Art and was the overall winner of the Linbury Prize for Stage Design in 2001.

Costume designs include Wayne McGregor’s Infra and Chroma (Royal Ballet); Dido, Queen of Carthage and The Hour We Knew Nothing Of Each Other (National Theatre); All About My Mother (Old Vic); La Cenerentola (Glyndebourne Festival Opera & Deutsche Oper Berlin); Vivaldi’s Ottone in villa (Kiel Opera); Rigoletto (Hanover State Opera); Die Zauberflöte (Lucerne). 

Costumes and co-set designs include the world premiere of Thomas Adès’s The Tempest (Royal Opera House) and set and costumes for the Bater Dance Project (Beirut).
Future projects include costume designs for The Messiah (English National Opera) and Aida (Royal Opera House).

Neil Austin - Lighting

 

Previously for the Almeida:The Homecoming; Marianne Dreams; Dying for It; Tom and Viv; Romance; Macbeth. Other Theatre includes: The Observer; England People Very Nice; Mrs Affleck; Oedipus; Her Naked Skin; Afterlife; The Emperor Jones; Philistines; The Man of Mode; Thérèse Raquin; The Seafarer (also Broadway); Henry IV Parts 1 and 2; Fix Up; The Night Season; A Prayer For Owen Meany; Further Than the Furthest Thing; The Walls - For the National Theatre
Hamlet (also Denmark & Broadway); Madame de Sade; Twelfth Night  - Donmar West End
A Streetcar Named Desire; Piaf (also West End & Buenos Aires); Parade; John Gabriel Borkman; Don Juan in Soho; Frost/Nixon (also West End & Broadway); The Cryptogram; The Wild Duck; Caligula; After Miss Julie; Henry IV; World Music; The Cosmonaut's Last Message to the Woman he once Loved in the Former Soviet Union - Donmar Warehouse. King Lear; The Seagull; Much Ado About Nothing; King John; Romeo and Juliet; Julius Caesar; Two Gentlemen of Verona - RSC
No Man’s Land; Dealer’s Choice; A Life in the Theatre; Japes – West End. Dance includes:
Rhapsody - Royal Ballet; The Soldier's Tale - ROH2 at the Royal Opera House & Japanese Tour; The Canterville Ghost - English National Ballet; Pineapple Poll - Birmingham Royal Ballet; Darkness & Light - Miyako Yoshida, Tokyo

Opera includes: Chorus!  - Welsh National Opera; The Silent Twins; As I Crossed the Bridge of Dreams; Love Counts; Man and Boy: Dada; The Cricket Recovers; The Embalmer - Almeida Opera; Pulse Shadows - Queen Elizabeth Hall; L’Orfeo - Opera City, Tokyo. 

 

Matthew Herbert - Music

 

Matthew is an artist, film composer, performer, producer, writer, owner of Accidental Records, remixer, and DJ. He is currently making a record out of a pig, while also remixing Mahler’s 10th Symphony for Deutsche Grammaphon and continuing to produce a number of emerging artists, including the acclaimed Eska. He has worked with the director James Macdonald before on two Caryl Churchill plays for the theatre and also wrote the score for James' HBO film of Churchill's A Number

 

Music production and co-production includes: Mercury Prize nominated album The Invisible (The Invisible); Jewellery (Micachu); The Bachelor (Patrick Wolf); Butterflies (Finn Peter); The Crying Light Live Show (with Antony Hegarty); Ruby Blue (Roisin Murphy); Hidden Place and Pagan Poetry on Bjork’s album Vespertine.

 

Film/TV composition: Human Traffic; Le Defi; Vida y Color; Agathe Clery; The Intended;  La Confiance Regne; A Number and Gomorrah.

As an artist:Matthew has recorded numerous albums under the names Doctor Rockit, Wishmountain, Radio Boy, Herbert, The Matthew Herbert Big Band and Matthew Herbert. Albums include: Scale; Around The House; Second Hand Sounds; Bodily Functions; There’s Me And There’s You; Goodbye Swingtime; The Mechanics of Destruction; Plat Du Jour; Let’s All Make Mistakes.

 

 

 

 

Christopher Shutt - Sound

 

Christopher trained at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, and has been Head of Sound at Bristol Old Vic, the Royal Court, and the National Theatre. Theatre includes: War Horse; Burnt by the Sun; Every Good Boy Deserves Favour; Gethsemane; Happy Days (world tour); Coram Boy; Dream Play; Humble Boy;  Play Without Words; Albert Speer; Not About Nightingales; Machinal (National Theatre); Disappearing Number; Elephant Vanishes; Mnemonic; Street of Crocodiles; Three Lives of Lucie Cabrol (Complicite); All My Sons; Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui; Moon for the Misbegotten; Coram Boy; Elephant Vanishes; Humble Boy (New York); Bacchae; Little Otik (National Theatre of Scotland); Aunt Dan & Lemon; Arsonists (Royal Court); Nocturnal (Gate Theatre);Moon for the Misbegotten; All About My Mother (Old Vic): Much Ado About Nothing; King John; Romeo and Juliet (RSC): Piaf; The Man Who Had All The Luck, Hecuba (Donmar Warehouse). Radio includes : Tennyson’s Maud; A Shropshire Lad. Christopher has won the NY Drama Desk award for Not About Nightingales and Mnemonic, and received Olivier Award nominations for Coram Boy, War Horse, and Piaf.

 
Articles and Reviews

**** (4 stars) “A gripping moral fable… a fine translation and a stunning production”
Michael Billington, Guardian, 11 September 2009

Read full review

 

**** (4 stars) “A fascinating drama… brought to life in a creepily atmospheric production which powerfully communicates the play’s thriller-like tension, haunted soul, and mordant humour”
Paul Taylor, Independent, 14 September 2009

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**** (4 stars) “Measured, atmospheric, and thoroughly hypnotic…a wonderful restoration of a great play”
Michael Coveney, What’s On Stage, 11 September 2009

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“A bracing new version by Christopher Hampton… elegant, gripping, masterly… Joseph Millson’s performance is phenomenal… a superb supporting cast”
Kate Kellaway, Observer, 13 September 2009

 

**** (4 stars) “James Macdonald’s fine production brings a whole community to vivid detailed life…a moral thriller…superb performances in even minor roles… Joseph Millson, Laura Donnelly and Sarah Woodward shine especially brightly. One leaves the theatre impatient to see more”

Charles Spencer, Daily Telegraph, 15 September 2009

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**** (4 stars) Critics’ Choice: “A thought-provoking play… James Macdonald directs with a sure hand… an evening to savour”
Paul Callan, Daily Express, 11 September 2009

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**** (4 stars) “A fascinating play”
Benedict Nightingale, The Times, 12 September 2009

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*** (3 stars) “An intriguing hybrid of social comedy and noirish entertainment”
Henry Hitchings, Evening Standard, 11 September 2009

 

*** (3 stars) “James Macdonald’s darkly glittering production…an exceptionally talented ensemble”
Caroline McGinn, Time Out, 17 September 2009

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**** (4 stars) “Spellbinding drama… a fine cast… Joseph Millson excels”
Sarah Hemming, Financial Times, 15 September 2009

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“Gripping and overwhelmingly powerful… stunning fluidity… a stunning ensemble cast”
Mark Shenton, The Stage, 17 September 2009
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Audience Response

“Judgment Day was amazing, life-changing theatre. Great sets, great acting, great direction, great screenplay. I will not ever forget this production"

“I cannot think of sufficient superlatives for this production. The acting fine, the permutations of the set remarkable and wonderful.  A highlight in a year not devoid of good productions.”

“Judgment Day was one of the finest performances I have seen in a long long time. Superb cast, great stage design. A memorable evening. Thank you.”

“We loved your performance of Judgment Day. Extremely well-acted, a moving experience, one we continue to discuss. Thank you.”

"What a powerful production! We were gripped from the first. The set, the sound, the lighting were all one with the excellent performances and we were spellbound. One of the best nights at the theatre I have ever experienced. Thank you so much.”  

“Thoroughly enjoyed Judgment Day. The play was interesting and totally convincingly performed but the production and sets were, I thought, inspired. What you manage to achieve in your performance space never ceases to surprise. Well done and thank you.”
 
“A first class play...as usual. The Almeida is an all-round excellent experience.” 

“Judgment Day was a magnificent and very clever production." 
 
“Judgment Day deserves a 5* grade; Both the play and the performance were excellent.” 
  
"My three friends and I couldn't stop talking about it.  The story, the adaptation, the set design, the direction and the acting were top-notch and the fact that such a difficult style can be made to communicate so well is impressive, so  we were delighted to have seen it."

“Just excellent in every sense, concise, poignant, perfectly staged, designed...pretty much a typical perfect evening at the Almeida, thank you.”

“The best piece of theatre I've seen in years - stunning performances - atmospheric set and an interesting play."“We really enjoyed this production. As ever superb acting, amazing scenery. The atmosphere you created was unbelievable; thank you for a very enjoyable experience”

“Judgment Day was so brilliantly crafted and performed!! After seeing a series of 18 London productions in 8 weeks, my entire experience at The Almeida outshone all!  Congratulations....and THANK YOU for successfully transporting me for 105 minutes of my life!”

“Judgment Day was absolutely superb in every respect and I have recommended it to several people. A very impressive production of a wonderfully realised play.”

“Judgment Day was W-O-N-D-E-R-F-U-L in every aspect! The actors, the set design, the plot, the intimacy of the theatre... it all made it a hugely memorable and will be remembered with awe!” 

 
Judgment Day Trailer

Watch the Judgment Day trailer to see exclusive footage of rehearsals and an interview with the director James Macdonald. 

 

Video produced by Misfit Films. For further information please visit www.misfitfilms.co.uk

 

 
 
Judgment Day Trailer

Watch the Judgment Day trailer to see exclusive footage of rehearsals and an interview with the director James Macdonald. 

 

Video produced by Misfit Films. For further information please visit www.misfitfilms.co.uk

 

 
 
Odon von Horvath

Christopher Hampton on Odon von Horvath:

 

The critic Jean-Claude François memorably described Ödön von Horváth as “the black book of the Third Reich”: by which he meant that no other writer documented more circumstantially than Horváth the day-to-day experience of life in Nazi Germany in the years leading up to the Second World War. Bertolt Brecht, for example, sitting in exile in Scandinavia, wrote of Fear and Misery in the Third Reich, a title which could have covered any amount of émigré writing; for those in self-imposed exile, what seemed salient were the crimes and atrocities of the Nazi régime. But for those, like Horváth, who remained, what seemed striking was how little the texture of everyday life had changed, despite the manifest insanity of the truculently self-righteous posse of morons so wilfully handed power by the German electorate in 1933.
           
 At the time of the election, Horváth, then 31, was at the peak of his career and had a powerful new play Glaube Liebe Hoffnung (Faith, Hope and Charity), in rehearsal. The play was not allowed to open, Horváth’s parents’ house in Bavaria was turned over by the SA [Nazi stormtroopers] and, like so many other artists, Horváth skipped the country. He was away for a year: in Budapest, he renewed his Hungarian passport and in Vienna he married a Jewish opera-singer, Maria Elsner, to provide her with a passport, he later explained. Meanwhile, he was routinely attacked in the Nazi press: when, in 1931, he had won the prestigious Kleist prize, the Völkischer Beobachter described him as a “Salonkulturbolschewist” (a high-society Bolshevist) and accused him of staining the flag of the Reich; and in the same year he was in court after becoming involved in a brawl with Nazis in a bar. And yet, in 1934, he headed back to Berlin. Why?
           
 He wanted to be able to study National Socialism at close quarters, he said: and so he did. The seven plays and two novels that poured out in the short time remaining to him are a compendium of the petty prejudices and rancorous suspicions of an era of epic mean-mindedness. “It may seem grotesque,” he wrote, “at a time like this, unstable as it is, and when no one knows what tomorrow may bring, to set oneself a programme of writing plays. All the same, I make so bold as to do so, even though I have no idea what I’m going to eat tomorrow.” 
  
 Judgment Day was the last of Horváth’s plays to be performed during his lifetime. He missed the premiere, in the unenticing Czechoslovakian town of Mährisch-Ostrau, where the play ran for only four performances, because he was hard at work on his novel, Ein Kind Unserer Zeit (A Child of our Time). Horváth had turned (or returned) to the novel the previous year, no doubt demoralised by the near-impossibility of getting his plays performed in Germany, and had scored perhaps the greatest success of his career with the novel Jugend Ohne Gott (Youth Without God). This novel is in many ways a companion-piece to Judgment Day; both are built around a protagonist (in one case a station-master; in the other a teacher of history and geography) who lies under oath and then is tormented by his conscience until such time as he confesses; and both have religious and supernatural elements. Both, in other words, deal with guilt: and it may well be that Horváth’s project – to describe Nazi Germany from the inside – brought with it a heavy burden of guilt. He had been obliged, for example, in order to be able to take the screenwriting jobs which sustained him in Berlin, to become a member of the Nazi Writers’ Union, the ‘Reichsverband Deutscher Schriftsteller’, as it called itself with characteristic self-importance.
           
 Guilty or not, Horváth was punished for his success in spectacular fashion. In 1938, when, after the Anschluss, he had finally decided to abandon ship and emigrate to America, he was invited to Paris to discuss, with the director Robert Siodmak, writing a screenplay based on Youth Without God. After their lunch, encouraged by Siodmak, Horváth took himself off to see Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in a cinema on the Champs Élysées. Afterwards, as he strolled back to his hotel, a sudden storm blew up. Horváth joined a group of people sheltering under a giant chestnut tree outside the Théâtre Marigny; a few moments later he was killed instantly by a falling branch; no one else was injured. 
  
 For me, Judgment Day is the renewal of an old friendship. The first Horváth play I translated, the monumental Tales From the Vienna Woods, appeared in the first Olivier Theatre season, 1976-7. I worked on a screenplay of this with Maximilian Schell, who directed the film; and then tackled (for the Cottesloe) another of his strange and haunting late plays, never performed in his lifetime, Don Juan Comes Back From the War. Then, in the eighties, I made Horváth the central character in my play Tales from Hollywood, in which I imagined he had escaped the falling branch on the Champs Élysées and set him down among a group of famous German émigré writers in Los Angeles. Finally, I translated, in 1989, Faith, Hope and Charity, which Heribert Sasse directed at the Lyric Hammersmith.
           
 Judgment Day was the first of Horváth’s plays to be mounted after the war – in the Theater in der Josefstadt in Vienna. As it happens, that same theatre has revived the play this season and will shortly be premiering my adaptation of Youth Without God. In the German-speaking theatre (and in France, where a controversial production of his Kasimir und Karoline is playing at the Avignon Festival) Horváth has been a constant presence in the repertoire, and his influence on a younger generation of writers – Franz-Xaver Kroetz, Peter Handke, above all Rainer Werner Fassbinder, many of whose films are steeped in Horváth – is incalculable. By contrast, I feel that we in Britain have a long way to go, before we could be said to be doing him justice. The old boy is out of copyright now: all the more reason to pay him a little more concentrated attention. 
  
Christopher Hampton

August 2009
  
 

 
 
Arts Council England ASP Group