The ‘Twenties in Austria, or Away with Corsets.

Marie Thérèse Escribano  

The ‘Twenties in Austria, or Away with Corsets. The work of Marie Thérèse Escribano, ranging from music to theatre and stand-up comedy, has made her a favourite of the progressive Austrian audience. Falter described her performances in the acclaimed Viennese Dietheater as "... a mixture of pleasant light-heartedness, banal, yet consistent observations of everyday life, and amiably crazy ideas".

What makes her so special, apart from her wonderful and incisive cabarets? It might be the fact that she was born in Paris to parents of Spanish and Belgian origin, and that she grew up in Madrid. Or that she came to Vienna in the mid-50s to study at the College of Music to be an opera singer and that she succeeded in her endeavours. Or that, despite her success in opera, her voice could also be heard from the apartments of the Viennese avant garde. With the work of the Vienna circle (Gerhard Rühm, H.C. Artmann) her solo career began, bringing her to prestigious stages around Europe and the USA under the direction of acclaimed condcutors such as Lorin Maazel, Pierre Boulez and Friedrich Cerha. Later on she founded 'Les Menestrels', an ensemble performing mediaeval music, but soon developd an interest in theatre. In the 70’s, the time of the awakening of the women movement, she performed, under the influence of the Polish theatre guru Jerzy Grotowski, an "ideologically" unconventional piece entitled Would You Like More Femininity? in the Modern Art Gallery.
From then on she has written and directed all of her performances, and on stage, has been accompanied by musicians only. She has developed a unique cabaret musical style, a kind of satirical mini-revue. Endlich wieder..., which takes us to the decadent 20’s and 30’s,  was also created in this manner. If we think of the Austria of today, the extreme right automatically comes to mind. (M.T. Escribano was one of the first to sign the anti-Haider petition Keine Koalition mit dem Rassismus) A similar situation occurred in the years between the two wars which, despite their "sombreness" (or perhaps just because of it), exceeded in humour and laughter. This is the time on which M.T. Escribano's performance is based. In it she discovered "schlager" music, which contains:"... images of whimsically flirtatious women in short skirts and knitwear... back then the hero dressed as a gentle soul and held them in high esteem, willing to die not only for the Fatherland but also for them. Probably without even realizing it, the composers of "schlager" music helped to mitigate the threat the approaching war was about to bring; thus sang the mother "Adieu, mein kleiner Gardeoffizier"...That time was marked by the trend of women's emancipation; women did away with their long dresses and plaits, walked around with no corsets, took up smoking, and, despite the warnings of the Church, swam naked in the Kritzendorfer baths…Later on, while the men were at war, women took over their jobs and still managed to lead a normal life and give birth…After the war, women again assumed their previous role, slaving away in the kitchen to be kept financially dependent. It is up to you to decide whether there are any parallels with the present." -- M.T. Escribano

Marie Thérèse Escribano; piano: Herberth Url

Organised and financed by City of Women
In cooperation with Cankarjev dom


Date and time of event: 
Oct 07th 20:00
Place of event: 
Cankarjev dom