Interview mit Joshua Sobol
What is a Polydrama?
Our experience with the audience
Genesis of the play
Alma - a monster of the 20th century
No creative energy without
sexual energy

Mother figure or femme fatale?
Alma's relation to Judaism
Love at first sight: Alma's men
Alma's sacrifice for Mahler
An epitomy of the 20th century
The curse of Alma's Autobiography
The encounter between
Mahler and Freud


What is a Polydrama ?

A "Polydrama" is a drama which, first of all, doesn´t attribute much importance to a storyline, and disregards the storyline as an important fact. A Polydrama supposes that truth resides in a comprehensive structure of the entire story. And it does not matter in what way you are progressing or surfing through the story. First of all: truth resides in every single moment there. So every episode is as important as the entire story. Every episode is a world in itself, and the order of the episodes is not important. So it supposes or it presupposes that it is not going from A to B to C that is important, but the fact that you have the twentytwo letters of the alphabet in front of you, and that you can do with them whatever you want. You can either put B before A, or C after A, and so on.

I think it all becomes clearer when we are thinking of the Internet as a world in which we are evolving, and we are free to surf in it wherever our interest takes us. In the Internet, for instance, there is no chronological order. It does not matter when a document or a location has been put or opened in the Internet. It does not matter. The meaning of the Internet as a phenomenon is exactly the fact that you can surf through it according to your interest. And by becoming in that way very active - or interactive - with the media. You are learning or finding out or experiencing whatever has a meaning for you, and not a meaning in itself. A Polydrama denies the idea of the meaning in itself. There is no meaning in itself, there is only meaning where someone is looking for meaning. And if someone is looking for meaning, he is looking for meaning from his special individual point of view, and from his own needs. All these premises are putting the fundamentals of the aestetics of a Polydrama.

We are supposing that the spectator who comes to that event, from the very first moment when he is confronted with, let´s say, three different Almas, with Mahler, with Gropius, with Werfel, each spectator will have his inclinations. Someone will say: "I want to follow this Alma, she interests me.", or "I want to follow Werfel, he interests me, this guy", or Mahler or whatsoever. And from that moment on the spectator must trust only his own or her own feelings, her own inclinations, and her own urges and instincts.

In an ordinary, conventional drama or film we are seated very passively in our seat in a theater, and we are confronted with events that are being processed before our eyes. And all we can do is either choose not to look or to look. Sometimes to fall asleep, sometimes to look into a certain corner, and to deny the rest, sometimes we are taken with the entire picture. But we are not allowed to give free and full power to our own instincts. In a Polydrama the difference is that from the very first moment as a spectator, you are invited to become very much yourself, so to speak. And to feel what interests you in that story. And then to follow your own line in it.

I think that it is important in that sense, and may finally make people understand, that the linear way of telling a story or a storyline is the most artificial thing one can imagine. There is no storyline in life. There is no storyline, there are only moments. And the moments are not really connected with one another. - We finish a conversation in a room, we go to the other room, and suddenly the door closes before us, and before we know we are making love with someone. And the person who was a minute before having a very serious discourse about the European Market or the Maastreecht agreements says: "excuse me", he goes to the other room, and he makes love to someone. And I think if you can follow a person to that other room then you get the meaning of a Polydrama.

For me the form that we have found together in that work here is so exciting, because it opens a totally new fields of possibilities for the dramatic expression. It is a new kind of medium. It is not exactly theatre, it is not exactly cinema, it is somewhere between the two. It goes beyond, it transcends both, theatre and cinema, in a way. I feel that with that form of a Polydrama we are tackling some new possibilities, and we have discovered maybe a new form of dramatic expression.