‘La Ronde’ online performance

On 28th April 2021 we held our historically first online performance! It was ‘La Ronde’ by Arthur Schnitzler, in a new translation / adaptation by our own Ian Gledhill. The play’s structure lends itself particularly well to the online format and our wonderful cast has done a great job playing the characters from the play on the screen. Many of you joined us to witness this historical moment and we hope you enjoyed it as much as we did!

If you missed the performance, do not despair as we recorded it and you can now watch the recording by clicking the button below!

Background information about ‘La Ronde’

Arthur Schnitzler wrote La Ronde in 1897. However, the first performance of the play was not until 1920 in Berlin. While La Ronde still has something of a notorious reputation, the play no longer seems as risqué as it once did.

La Ronde consists of ten interlocking scenes, each involving two people. One character in each scene returns to partner a different character in the next scene, forming a so-called “circle of amorous encounters.” The play seems ideally suited, therefore, to an online performance.

This version of La Ronde is both a translation and an adaptation. The play is originally set in 1890s Vienna but Ian has updated the play to the present day and set it in an unnamed city. Modernising the language results in a script that is hopefully more relevant to a contemporary audience. Updating the morals of the 1890s, however, while still trying to remain as true as possible to the original text, is more problematic.

It’s in this sense that this version becomes more adaptation than translation. For example, one of the characters is usually translated as “The Little Miss” or “The Sweet Young Thing.” This hardly seems appropriate nowadays, so Ian has simply called this character “The Young Woman.” In Schnitzler’s original she is frankly rather wet; by aiming to make her quite feisty, Ian is hoping her scenes will resonate more with modern performers. Sensing that the scope of Schnitzler’s play might have been somewhat broader if he’d been writing today, some liberties have been taken with gender in two of the scenes. In all other respects Ian has tried to remain faithful to the original structure of the play.

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