Story of La Ronde by Director Chet Harper
Written in 1897 by Arthur Schnitzler, but, because of its subject matter, was not performed on stage until 1920. It’s first performance, in Berlin, was met with violent critical and popular reactions to the plays subject matter. The audiences found it difficult to accept a play that offered social commentary on how sexual contact transgresses boundaries of class. The Berlin court brought up charges of immorality against the play, which were later dropped, but, Schnitzler was labeled a pornographer. Schnitzler, withdrew the play from production, refusing to allow it to be performed in any Germany speaking countries. In 1982, Heinrich, Schnitzler’s son, released the LA RONDE for German speaking performances.
LA RONDE does not fit the usual format of what one expects of a play. It does not have a beginning, (exposition), a middle, (building up of action and setting up conflicts), or an end, (where everything is tied up in a nice bow). Instead the play is divided into ten scenes or dialogues, with two characters in each scene. who meet, make love, and move on without resolution and without finality. The ten characters begin with a sexual encounter between a whore and soldier, and end with a scene between a count and the whore. By choosing characters across all levels of society, the play offered social commentary on how sexual contact transgresses boundaries of class.