Wednesday, September 11, 2013

How I Found The Key To Writing "Elisabeth"

In the late 80's I was about to give up my project of turning the life story of the melancholic and amazingly progressive Austrian Empress, Elisabeth, into a stage musical. Her courage and her will to break free of traditional limitations fascinated me, I saw clearly that her tale was a metaphor of the challenges, possibilities and dangers of women's lib, and I realized that her personal fate reflected the downfall of an overripe and overbred culture. But how could that be the stuff for a show? I was at the point of putting all the books and documents aside and forget about it when, one late evening, I read a book of Elisabeth's original writings and came across a very sad, almost suicidal poem expressing her wish to die. That woman's yearning for death, I thought, was almost erotic. When I went to sleep that night I dreamed of Elisabeth having a love affair with a good looking, seductive man who turned out to be Death. I awoke from that dream at four o'clock in the morning and knew how I must tell her story. In that moment all my problems were solved, I could see the whole arc of the drama. The story of my main character's life was a complicated love affair with Death.


  1. I can't tell you how happy I am that you wrote that musical! It's why I learned German.

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