US PREMIERE | THE ROAD TO HAPPINESS
FRIDAY, MAR 18 2011, 08:00 PM
The Austrian Cultural Forum New York presents the US premiere of The Road to Happiness, a dark new comedy about relationships written by Ursula Knoll and directed by Markus Hirnigel. Taking cues from Arthur Schnitzler’s La Ronde, The Road to Happiness follows four characters caught up in personal quandaries on their very own roads to happiness – in search of success, beauty, purpose, and fulfillment. Translated by Natascha Hoffmeyer and Charles Finney, and with Samantha Davis as stage manager, the play offers American audiences a glimpse of Austrian mentalities at work.
In this staged reading, Ragini Bhaumik plays Erna, a career driven MBA turned housewife and mother. Margi Douglas plays her friend Brigitte, the proud owner of a designer store. Brady Kirchberg is Andreas, Erna's boyfriend, who loves the outdoors and director Markus Hirnigel plays Reinhardt, a neoconservative businessman. These four protagonists are accompanied by narrator Stephanie Schmiderer, who in the course of the play reveals herself as Josef Goebbels’s wife, Magda Quandt, unveiling dormant fascist traits in the characters and drawing frightening parallels to the ideology of the Third Reich.
Born in 1981 in Vienna, playwright Ursula Knoll studied German Studies, Jewish Studies, and German as a Foreign Language in Vienna and Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. The recipient of the 2009 Thomas Bernhard Grant of the Landestheater Linz, Knoll is currently working on her dissertation about sexuality and ethnicity in the Western European discourse of remembering the Shoah. She is also the winner of the DramaX short play competition. Knoll has participated in the Wiesbaden New Plays from Europe Festival and the Berlin Festival with the original German version of The Road to Happiness (Der Weg ins Glück). Knoll wrote The Road to Happiness within the framework of Wiener Wortstaetten (www.wortstaetten.at), which is an intercultural playwrights' workshop based in Vienna.