New York

Martha Clarke, Vienna Lusthaus

The Public Theater

The Lusthaus was a “pleasure pavilion” in turn-of-the-century Vienna’s Prater Park, a libidinous DMZ where primal passions and Hapsburg manners swirled in a Victorian cultural waltz that we now recognize as a seminal source for our own age of discontent. Like the Museum of Modern Art’s “Vienna 1900” show, Martha Clarke and company’s performance was partly inspired by the “Vienna: Dream and Reality” exhibition put on in Vienna last winter. Clarke’s Vienna Lusthaus is a performance complement to the Modern’s scaled-down version of that larger exhibition. Both Clarke and the museum have assembled pertinent, provocative material, a cultural compost ripe to bursting with contemporary implications; but Clarke’s take on Vienna is a drastically reduced version of the Viennese zeitgeist. For Clarke, Vienna circa 1900 equals sex and death, period, and her choreographed dance drama hammers this

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