On the 7th and the 8th of December 2017 Heiner Müller’s Quartett’, directed by Thomas Thalhammer, is being performed in Vienna’s most charming Ateliertheater. Müller’s play ist based on Choderlos de Laclos epistolary novel Les liaisons dangereuses (1782) and leads you deep into the battle of the sexes that unfortunately still exists this very day. Thalhammer’s modern interpretation of Quartett’ takes you one kinky step further. NMHW got invited to attend the premiere. 

In the original text by de Laclos Marquise de Merteuil asks her ex-lover Valmont, a skilled serial womanizer, to seduce her young and sexually innocent niece. Even though Valmont is more interested in getting into the skirts of a woman with morals, Madame Tourvel, he takes on this assignment on the side and fulfils it successfully. In Stephen Frears cinematic version Dangerous Liasons’ (1988) with Glenn Close and John Malkovich it is obvious that playing games with people’s feelings ends up in disaster for everyone involved. No one wins and so no one does in Müller’s Quartett. 
 
In Thalhammer’s reinterpretation of Müller’s adaptation all roles are played and switched by two actors: Maria Astl and Maks Suwiczak. As the flow of words sank in, I saw two people who had once loved and desired each other suffering, being frustrated and in such pain.They both hurt one another verbally the best they can. In a desperate attempt to gain mutual understanding for each other’s point of view, they switch roles. Valmont turns into the virtuous Madame Tourvel. Marquise lets out the animalistic Valmont inside her, then slips into the inexperienced niece, losing her virginity to the persuasive Valmont.
 
It is all futile. Love will tear them apart. Again. 
 
Men and women will never truly understand each other. We will always feel the need to play games and manipulate to get what we think we want. We let ourselves be forced to act out the roles society has given us: The man hunts. The woman is the prey. He follows his animalistic urges. She is supposed to want never ending, (s)exclusive love. As she dares to turn the tables, he is not able to understand. 
Valmont: I think I could get used to being a woman, Marquise.”
De Merteuil: I wish I could.”
 
If you are in Vienna this week, don’t miss out on this great theatrical experience! 
 
When: 7th & 8th of December 2017
Time: 20:00 hours 
Tickets18,00 21,00 euro 
Where: Ateliertheater, Burggasse 71, 1070 Vienna
 
quartett heiner müller

‘Quartett’ – Regie: Thomas Thalhammer