TITLE: Lying, Stealing, and Other Theatrical Crimes: Molnar's The Devil and the Transnational Trade in Theatrical Commodities, c. 1907-8
SPEAKER: Marlis Schweitzer
EVENT DATE: 2009/11/19
RUNNING TIME: 54 minutes
This lecture draws on material found in the Library of Congress's Minnie Maddern Fiske Collection to offer a case study of the events surrounding the acquisition, translation, and production of Ferenc Molnar's play "The Devil" (Az Ordog) by two rival American theatre managers, Henry W. Savage and Harrison Grey Fiske. In the aftermath of a dismal theatre season following the Panic of 1907, both managers claimed that they had the authorized version of the Hungarian play and the moral right to stage it. And in many respects, both were right. By tracing the competing networks of agents, managers, and translators who participated in the transformation and circulation of "The Devil" as it moved from Budapest to Berlin to New York, Marlis Schweitzer, Kluge Fellow, highlights the complicated personal and business networks that were an integral part of the emerging transnational trade in theatrical commodities.
Speaker Biography: Marlis Schweitzer, a Kluge Fellow at the Library of Congress, has undertaken a pioneering study of the complex history of the negotiations for and productions in the United States around the turn of the century of plays that have had major success in theatrical centers in Europe.