It´s premiere night! Here is your chance, but only for a few days, to see a hilarious English play in Vienna, and, while you´re having fun, doing some good for the arts as well. Art For Charity and vienna theatre project are putting on Relative Values by the English playwright Noël Coward at Le Studio in Vienna´s 9th district, starting tonight. I had a lot of fun photographing the actors during rehearsals and behind the scenes — what a great opportunity for theatre-loving me, to get insights into the production process and talk to the outstanding cast.
Art For Charity is a private cultural initiative founded in 2005 by Jeannette Meinl, herself an actress who has appeared in numerous plays, including at Vienna´s English Theatre. Art for Charity puts on theatrical performances to support selected social projects and causes. This time the benefits from ticket earnings will help the Vienna Boys’ Choir (Wiener Sängerknaben) and to facilitate their newly founded girls’ choir. The Sängerknaben have been hit hard financially by the Covid-19 pandemic, as much of the choir´s income is from their tours and they had to cancel more than 500 global tours due to the pandemic. This is why Art for Charity selected them as beneficiary for this year´s production.
The vienna theatre project was founded in 2002 to facilitate high-quality English-language theatre productions at different venues in and around Vienna. It draws from the pool of Vienna-based professional actors living in Austria. The actress Joanna Godwin-Seidl has been managing vienna theatre project since 2006 and also has directed many plays. The vienna theatre project too has had its setbacks due to the pandemic, but has been creative about continuing to perform to the extent possible.
For this production, the director is Dennis Kozeluh, who also stars in it as the indomitable butler Crestwell.
Beyond the witty dialogue, Dennis incorporated some musical interludes that, as he puts it “…move chronologically from the jazz ballads of the early 50’s to one of the very early rock and roll standards which hit the charts in 1956, the year our play is set.”
Dave Moskin and Sophie Kozeluh do a fantastic job of bringing this music to life with loads of musical talent and humour.
This very British “drawing-room” play is full of Coward´s famous wit and includes a good portion of irony, intrigue, spirited discussions, and claims of undying love… just the kind of thing I love. In words the author puts into the “butler”´s mouth, the story is about “an experiment based on the ancient and inaccurate assumption that, as we are equal in the eyes of God, we should therefore be equally equal in the eyes of our fellow creatures.” Make of this what you will… but by all means, go see it! The entire cast is fantastic, and I guarantee you will be mightily entertained.
Getting dressed, checking text, a bit of nourishment… some behind the scenes looks from the rehersal room
I am happy to be able to show you some behind-the-scenes impressions from two rehearsal sessions (some are at the rehearsal room, and some are from the final rehearsal at the theatre).
Getting the stage and actors ready for the final rehearsal
My special thanks go to Alan Burgon for introducing me to the cast and negotiating this photographic opportunity for me. And many thanks also to the entire cast for being so amicable about me lurking around with the camera.
Cast and production crew
Crestwell: Dennis Kozeluh
Alice: Sophie Kozeluh
Mrs Moxton (Moxie): Joanna Godwin-Seidl
Felicity, Countess of Marshwood: Jeannette Meinl
Lady Hayling: Anne Weiner
Admiral Sir John Hayling: Dave Moskin
The Hon. Peter Ingleton: Alan Burgon
The Earl of Marshwood (Nigel): Patrick Lamb / Tom Crawley
Miranda Frayle: Caroline Krug
Don Lucas: Sam Kozeluh
Producers: Jeannette Meinl, Joanna Godwin-Seidl
General Manager: Ine Gundersveen
Set design: Laura D Mitchell
Set building: Hannes Stockinger
Sound: Dave Moskin
Light: Heinz Leitner
If you want to see it:
When: 16-19 November 2021, at 7:30 PM
Tickets: Contact Art For Charity to reserve your tickets