Schwarzwasser

(Black Water)

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.

Elfriede Jelinek

Elfriede Jelinek

Elfriede Jelinek, who was born in 1946 and grew up in Vienna, now lives in Vienna and Munich. She has received numerous awards for her literary works, which include not only novels but also plays, poetry, essays, translations, radio plays, ...

Plays by Elfriede Jelinek






U: 08.02.2020 Burgtheater (Akademietheater) Wien (Regie: Robert Borgmann)