Peter Gill, playwright and theatre director
Tales from Hollywood
Home | Up | News | Pieces | Résumé | Pictures | Studio | Publications | Links

Ödön von Horváth


Bookmark and Share

Tales from Hollywood

by Christopher Hampton

National Theatre

Olivier Theatre, 1 September 1983

Ödön von Horváth (b 1901) was one of the most talented writers of his generation. He was killed on 1 June 1938, in a freak accident on the Champs-Elysées, when a branch of the chestnut tree under which he was sheltering fell on his head.

A colleague, Walter Mehring, who was staying in the same hotel in Paris, went into Horváth's room. On his desk were two half-empty glasses of red wine and a page of notes for the novel (Adieu Europa) Horváth was just starting to write. The first line of the notes read:

"Ein Poet emigriert nach Amerika... "
Christopher Hampton, 1983

Christopher Hampton

When Did You Last See My Mother? (Royal Court and Comedy) 1966, Total Eclipse (Royal Court) 1968, The Philanthropist (Royal Court and Mayfair) 1970, Savages (Royal Court and Comedy) 1973, Treats (Royal Court and Mayfair) 1976, Total Eclipse revised version (Lyric, Hammersmith) 1981, The Portage To San Cristobal Of A.H. from the novel by George Steiner (Mermaid) 1982, Tales From Hollywood (Mark Taper Forum Theatre, Los Angeles) 1982 (National Theatre) 1983
Babel, Marya (Royal Court) 1967 Chekhov, Uncle Vanya (Royal Court) 1970 Ibsen, Hedda Gabler (Festival Theatre, Stratford, Ontario) 1970 Ibsen, A Doll’s House (Playhouse Theatre, NY and Criterion) 1971 Moličre, Don Juan (Bristol Old Vic) 1972 Horváth, Tales From The Vienna Woods (National Theatre) 1977 Horváth, Don Juan Comes Back From The War (National Theatre) 1978 Ibsen, Ghosts (Actors’ Company) 1978 Ibsen, The Wild Duck (National Theatre) 1979 Mnouchkine and Chéreau, The Prague Trial (BBC Radio) 1980 Moličre, Tartuffe (RSC) 1983 Horváth, Faith Hope and Charity (Manhattan Theatre Club) 1984
Able's Will (BBC) 1977 The History Man from the novel by Malcolm Bradbury (BBC) 1981, Treats (Yorkshire Television) 1983
A Doll’s House, 1973 Tales From The Vienna Woods, 1979 The Honorary Consul, 1983

The Production

Tales from Hollywood is presented by arrangement with the Mark Taper Forum of Los Angeles, California, The play was originally commissioned by Gordon Davidson and staged by Center Theater Group at the Mark Taper Forum.

Opening of this NT production: The Olivier Theatre 1 September 1983, before visiting the Bristol Hippodrome 3 to 8 October. John Player and Sons sponsor the NT company's autumn regional visits.

Length: about 2 hours 30 minutes including interval

Act I: 1938-41
Act II: 1942-50
Ödön von Horváth Michael Gambon

Theatre includes in London: The Norman Conquests (Greenwich and Globe Theatres), Zoo Story (Regent's Park), Otherwise Engaged (Queen's and Comedy), Just Between Ourselves (Globe), Alice's Boys (Savoy). With the RSC: When Thou Art King, Henry VIII, The Plebians Rehearse the Uprising, Major Barbara, and most recently, King Lear and Antony and Cleopatra. For the NT at the Old Vic: Hamlet, Saint Joan, The Recruiting Officer, Andorra, Philoctetes, Othello, The Royal Hunt of the Sun, The Crucible, Much Ado About Nothing, Mother Courage, Love for Love, Juno and the Paycock, The Storm; on the South Bank: Betrayal, Close of Play, Richard III, Othello, Sisterly Feelings, The Life of Galileo (London Drama Critics' Award for Best Actor), Much Ado About Nothing. Many TV appearances include: Eyeless in Gaza, The Other One, The Seagull.

Young Man Michael Mueller

Theatre includes repertory at Nuffield Theatre Southampton (Let's Get a Divorce, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Puss in Boots, The Roots of Desire), Sheffield Crucible (Golden Boy). In London: Andy Capp (Aldwych). TV: TV Eye, Marathon, Educating Marmalade, Pope John Paul II.

Johnny Weissmuller Franc Morgan

Theatre includes repertory at Liverpool Playhouse, Swan Worcester, Theatre Royal York. In London: Pericles, The Royal Hunt of the Sun (Roundhouse). Two years with Prospect Theatre Company. TV includes: The Saint, The New Avengers, Minder, Z Cars, Softly Softly, The Professionals, Nancy Astor, Maybury. Films: A Bridge Too Far, Flash Gordon, Reds, Yanks, Lionman, Wrath of the Witch Queen.

Thomas Mann Guy Rolfe

Many film appearances include: Taras Bulba, Nicholas and Alexandra, Royal Hunt of the Sun, Mr Sardonicus, King of Kings, Yesterday's Enemy, King of the Khyber Rifles, The Thief of Baghdad, Young Bess. Television appearances include: The Secret Army, Kessler, Churchill's People, Portrait in Black, Troubleshooters, The Avengers, Space 1999, The Saint, Departments.

Chico Marx Rod Smith

Theatre includes repertory at Birmingham. In London: The Fool (Royal Court), On the Out (Bush), The Jolly Green Soldier (Croydon Warehouse), The Changeling, One Fine Day, Artists and Admirers (Riverside), Waiting (Lyric Hammersmith). Tour of Holland with the American Repertory Theatre, TV includes: Please Sir, No Honestly, Churchill's People, Destiny, Get Some In, Crown Court, Sounding Brass, Over There, Teezer, Angels, Juliet Bravo, Holding the Fort, Getting On. Film: In Search of Gregory.

Harpo Marx Harry Dickman

Theatre includes repertory at Canterbury, Oxford, and appearances in musicals and pantomime. In London: Winnie the Pooh (Phoenix), The Good Old Bad Old Days (Prince of Wales), Beautiful Dreamer (Greenwich). RSC: Nil Carborundum. TV includes: Z Cars, Arrival 2, The David Essex Show, New Faces, On The Fringe, and a comedy series in South Africa.

Greta Garbo Sylvia Rotter

Theatre includes a one-woman show, Sentimental songs of Poor BB (tour to Berlin, Ilford, Croydon, Battersea, Soho Poly and Theatrespace), repertory at Neuss/Dusseldorf; two seasons with Theatermanufaktur, Berlin; played Helene Weigel in Brecht's Women (Northern Studio Theatre tour); directed Bremen Coffee for The Room, then Spice of Life and took over the lead when it transferred to the King's Head. Films: The Draughtsman's Contract, Catch a King. TV: Auf Wiedersehen, Pet, series The Brief.

Charles Money John Bluthal

Theatre: first West End appearance: Fagin in Oliver (Albery, 1962), The Bed Sitting Room (Duke of York's), Kiss Me Kate (Coliseum), Gulliver's Travels (Mermaid), The Friends (Roundhouse), The Real Inspector Hound, After Magritte (Shaw), Treetops (Riverside), the English premiere of Anouilh's The Scenario (Canada), 13 Rue de l'Amour and Hobson's Choice (Australia), The Price (Leicester). TV includes: Never Mind the Quality (series), Justin Thyme (co-author), Mrs Acland's Ghosts, The Cafeteria, Design for Living, Meriel the Ghost Girl, It's a Square World (series), Q series with Spike Milligan, and Home Sweet Home (series in Australia). Films include: Return of the Pink Panther, Help, A Hard Day's Night, Digby, Never Mind the Quality, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, The Great Magonagle, Captain Invincible, Superman III.

Heinrich Mann Philip Locke

Theatre includes in London: Epitaph for George Dillon, The Sport of My Mad Mother, The Knack (all at the Royal Court); Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (Criterion), RSC: Richard III, The Tempest, King John, The Balcony, Enemies, Coriolanus, Julius Caesar, Antony and Cleopatra, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Sherlock Holmes (both the latter also in New York - nominated for Tony Award for Sherlock Holmes), The Bewitched. NT: Oedipus, The Covent Garden Tragedy, As You Like It, Edward II, Love's Labour's Lost, Scrabble, Back to Methuselah, Hamlet (Plays and Players Award for Best Supporting Actor), Troilus and Cressida, Tamburlaine The Great, The Force of Habit, Amadeus. Riverside Studios: The Cherry Orchard. Royal Festival Hall: Every Good Boy Deserves Favour. Opera: A Christmas Carol (Sadler's Wells). Recent TV includes: She Fell Among Thieves, Pennies from Heaven, Butterflies Don't Count, Mill on the Floss, Dead Man's Kit, Dick Turpin, Omega Factor, Oliver Twist, The Disappearance of Harry, Codename Icarus, The Young Delinquent. Films include: Thunderball, Hitler — the Last Ten Days, Escape to Athens, Porridge, Ivanhoe, just completed Fellini's Et Le Nave Va.

Nelly Mann, his wife Billie Whitelaw

Theatre includes in London: Hotel Paradiso (Winter Garden), Progress to the Park (Saville), Alphabetical Order (Hampstead and May Fair), Molly (Comedy). At the Royal Court: Not I, Footfalls, Happy Days. With the RSC: After Haggerty, The Greeks, Passion Play. NT at the Old Vic: Play, The Dutch Courtesan, Othello, Hobson's Choice, Trelawny of the Wells; on the South Bank: Rockaby. Films include: No Love for Johnny, Eagle in a Cage, The Twisted Nerve, Charlie Bubbles (American Critics prize and BAFTA award), Gumshoe, Frenzy, Nightwatch, Start the Revolution Without Me, Leo the Last, The Omen (Evening News award), The Water Babies, An Unsuitable Job for a Woman, Dark Crystal, Slayground. TV includes: The Skin Game, Love on the Dole, No Trams to Lime Street, A World of Time, Sextet (BAFTA Award), The Withered Arm, Happy Days, The Serpent Son, But the Clouds, Eustace and Hilda, Private Schultz, Jamaica Inn.

Salka Viertel Pamela Buchner

Theatre includes repertory at Liverpool, Glasgow, Hornchurch, Windsor, Watford, Lincoln and Nairobi. Toured South Africa in theatre, TV and radio. Work in London includes The Mousetrap (St Martin's), A Provincial Life (Royal Court), The Other House (Mermaid). RSC: one year including Gertrude, for a short time to David Warner's Hamlet. NT: Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, The Second Mrs Tanqueray. TV includes: Dixon of Dock Green, Fawlty Towers, The Gentle Touch.

Walter, the Butler Brian Kent

Theatre includes repertory at Birmingham and Coventry. London: The Man Most Likely To. NT: Hamlet, Tamburlaine the Great, Tales from the Vienna Woods, Julius Caesar, Volpone, The Cherry Orchard, Brand, Macbeth, The Woman, Strife, The Fruits of Enlightenment, Undiscovered Country, Richard III, The Wild Duck, Othello, The Life of Galileo, The Romans in Britain, Amadeus (at Her Majesty's), The Rivals. TV includes: The Newcomers, Johnny Sahib, Crossroads. Films include: Nicholas Nickleby, A Matter of Life and Death, Street Corner.

Lion Feuchtwanger Harry Perscy

Theatre includes repertory at Plymouth, Folkestone, Bath, Lyceum Crewe, New Theatre Hull, Library Manchester. Worked in Europe with the English Speaking Theatre. London: The Tigers are Coming (Hampstead), Inherit the Wind, Waiting for Lefty. Most recently: On the Twentieth Century (Her Majesty's).

Marta Feuchtwanger Annie Leon

Theatre in the West End includes: Portrait in Black, The Rossiters, Angel, My Wives and I, Bred in the Bone, September Tide, Treasure Hunt, The Shadow of Doubt, Tabitha, The Way of the World, The Iron Duchess, Brouhaha. NT: Tales from the Vienna Woods, Strawberry Fields, Sir is Winning, The Lady from Maxim's, The Guardsman, Plunder, Close of Play. TV includes: Sense and Sensibility, The Kindness of Mrs Radcliffe, The Antoma White Quartet, Tales of the Unexpected, Shine on Harvey Moon. Films include: Reach for the Sky, Appointment in London, Carve Her Name With Pride, The Horse's Mouth.

Toni Spuhler, the cook Mary Chester

Theatre includes repertory at Northampton, Birmingham, Cheltenham, Windsor and Richmond Yorkshire. Two seasons at Stratford-upon-Avon. Recently: Da (King's Head and Greenwich), Harvest (Ambassadors). NT: The Long Voyage Home. TV includes: Poldark, War and Peace, Onedin Line, All Creatures Great and Small, Late Call, A Pin to See the Peepshow, A Horseman Riding By, Funny Man, Crossroads, Goodnight God Bless. Radio: drama, children's serials and The Archers.

Katja Mann, Thomas' wife Sylvia Barter

Theatre includes repertory at Birmingham, Bristol, Sheffield and Bath. West End appearances include: Waltz of the Toreadors and Pygmalion. TV: includes: Secret Army, A Pin to See the Peepshow, The Duke of Wellington, The Balance of Nature; recently for US television, Separate Tables.

Helen Schwartz Barbara Flynn

Theatre includes repertory at Birmingham Rep, Crucible Sheffield. At the NT: Plunder, The Philanderer, Early Days. At Hampstead: Short List, The Perfectionist. TV includes: A Family at War, Love on a Gunboat, Murder Most English, Afternoon Dancing, Maybury, The Gentle Touch, Flight Fund, Standing in for Henry, The Bagthorpes, Open All Hours, Lucky Jim, The Barchester Chronicles. Film: Britannia Hospital.

Bertolt Brecht Ian McDiarmid

Theatre includes Galileo, Timon of Athens (Glasgow Citizens); Peer Gynt (Oxford Playhouse); The Wild Duck (Royal Exchange, Manchester). In Paris: six months with the Theatre National Populaire. RSC: Destiny, Days of the Commune, Macbeth, Dingo, That Good Between Us (Plays and Players Award: Most Promising New Performer); Ezra, The Worlds (Half Moon); Every Good Boy Deserves Favour (Mermaid); Mephisto (Roundhouse); The Love of a Good Man, Seduced, Insignificance (Royal Court — SWET Award for Best Actor for the latter). Films: The Awakening, Sir Henry at Rawlinson's End, Richard's Things, Dragonslayer and most recently The Nation's Health, Gorky Park, Return of the Jedi.

Helen Weigel, his wife Sylvia Rotter
Hal, the barman Paul Imbusch

Recent theatre includes leading roles at Bristol Old Vic, Birmingham Rep and the Royal Exchange Manchester. For the RSC: Henry V, Henry VI Part 3, As You Like It, Tis Pity She's a Whore, Saratoga, Othello, Coriolanus. NT: They Are Dying Out (Workshop). TV: The Sporting Club Dinner, Love in a Cold Climate, Strangers, Dombey and Son, Caleb Williams, Reilly.

Angel Belinda Lang

Theatre includes repertory at Manchester Library, Guildford, Leicester, Oxford Playhouse, Manchester Royal Exchange, Northcott Exeter, Bristol Old Vic. In London: Does This Train Stop at Southend?, Herr Puntila and His Man Matti (Stratford East), Aladdin (Lyric Hammersmith), Present Laughter (Vaudeville), Hobson's Choice (Haymarket). TV includes: The Imitation Game, To Serve Them All Our Days, A Brothers' Tale, Cabbage Patch.

Jacob Lomakhin John Bluthal
Robert E Stripling Paul Stewart

Repertory at Leicester, Cheltenham, Wolverhampton, Ipswich, Chester, Crewe, Salisbury, Belfast. In London: Funeral Games (Little Theatre), Sexual Perversity in Chicago (New End), The Portage to San Cristobal of A H (Mermaid), Bedtime Story (King's Head). Spent two years with the Royal Ballet Company's Ballet for All group. His own one-man show The Best of Times is Now was at Brighton and in Ireland in 1983 and will be seen in London next year. NT: Don Quixote, Way Upstream, The Rivals. TV includes: five years as Sergeant Chubb in Z Cars.

Art Nicely David Baron

Theatre includes: repertory at Canterbury, Wolverhampton, Windsor, Nottingham, Bromley. In London: Otherwise Engaged (Queen's and Comedy), Absurd Person Singular (Vaudeville), The Philanthropist (May Fair), All My Sons (Wyndham's). TV includes: The Professionals, House of Caradus, Why Can't I Co Home?, Love Story, Kate, Dead of Night, Troubleshooters, Hine, Brett, Minder, Buccaneer, QED. Films: Tamarind Seed, Double Negative.

With Eve Adam

Theatre includes repertory at Leicester (Once a Catholic, Godspell, Local Affairs), Darlington (Dick Whittington), York (Robinson Crusoe); at Stratford East: Mrs Tucker's Pageant. TV: Squadron, The Fourth Arm.

Audrey Noble

Theatre includes repertory at Coventry, Birmingham, Bristol Old Vic, Exeter, Worthing, Guildford, Liverpool, Cheltenham. Recently Man and Superman (Haymarket and Cambridge Theatres). NT: Harlequinade (and tour to US), The Elephant Man. TV includes: Z Cars, Softly Softly, Public Eye, Leap in the Dark, All Creatures Great and Small, Sam's Christmas Tree, Going Home, Another Drummer, Man and Superman.

Other parts played by members of the company
Musicians Null
musical director/keyboards John White
horn Timothy Caister
percussion John Harrod
trumpet Graham Russell
violin Roderick Skeaping
double bass Roy Babbington
harp Helen Tunstall
Director Peter Gill

Work at the Royal Court, where he was Associate Director from 1970 to 1972, includes A Collier's Friday Night, The Local Stigmatic, The Ruffian on the Stair, A Provincial Life (which he also adapted), A Soldier's Fortune, The Daughter-in-Law, The Widowing of Mrs Holroyd, Life Price, The Duchess of Malfi, Crete and Sergeant Pepper, The Merry-Go-Round (which he also adapted), and his own plays Over Gardens Out, The Sleepers' Den and Small Change. RSC: Twelfth Night. At Riverside Studios, where he was director from 1976 to 1980, directed As You Like It, Small Change, The Cherry Orchard, The Changeling, Measure for Measure, Julius Caesar, Scrape off the Black. Work abroad includes Much Ado About Nothing (Stratford Connecticut), Hedda Gabler, Macbeth (Stratford Ontario), Landscape, Silence (Lincoln Center, New York), Fishing (Public Theater, New York). NT: A Month in the Country, Don Juan, Much Ado About Nothing, Danton's Death, Major Barbara and his own plays Small Change and Kick for Touch.

Designer Alison Chitty

Work includes designing over 40 plays at Victoria Theatre, Stoke on Trent. In London: Old King Cole (Stratford East), Ecstasy, Uncle Vanya (Hampstead), Measure for Measure, Julius Caesar, Plays Umbrella Season (Riverside). Member of the British theatre designers who won first prize at 1979 Prague Quadriennale Exhibition. NT: A Month in the Country, Don Juan, Much Ado About Nothing, The Prince of Homburg, Danton's Death, Major Barbara, Kick for Touch. RSC: Tartuffe.

Lighting Stephen Wentworth

Recently lit shows at Oxford Playhouse, New End Hampstead, King's Head, Arts. NT: Overruled (Young Vic), Crossing Niagara, Bloody Neighbours (ICA), Emigres, Troilus and Cressida (with David Hersey), Bread (Young Vic), Strawberry Fields, Camilla Ringbinder Show, Bow Down, The Passion (with William Dudley), Half Life, Love Letters on Blue Paper, Herod, Don Juan, Much Ado About Nothing, Danton's Death, Major Barbara, Kick for Touch, Small Change. In the West End: Boogie.

Music Terry Davies

Work includes arrangements for Rod McKuen, Robin Gibb, Justin Hayward, Jon Anderson. Theatre: arranging and music directing for Oxford Playhouse, Leicester Haymarket, Hornchurch, Exeter, Norwich, Scottish Ballet, Nottingham Playhouse, Royal Court (Restoration). For the NT: Guys and Dolls (co-arranger and assistant MD), On the Razzle (deputy MD), The Beggar's Opera (deputy MD), Schweyk in the Second World War (assistant MD). TV includes orchestrations for The Squad, Love is Old, Love is New, Oliver Twist.

Staff Director John Burgess
Production Manager Michael Cass Jones
Stage Manager Ernest Hall
Deputy Stage Manager Angela Bissett
Assistant Stage Managers Judith Garrett
Tony Godel
Paul Greaves
Sound Andrew Lillywhite
Assistant to the Designer Rod Langsford
Assistant to the Lighting Designer Archie Jenkins
Scenery and properties constructed and painted in NT workshops
Metalwork NT workshops
Projection screen frames P.E. Kemp Engineering
Swimmign pool equipment Penguin Swimming Pools Ltd
Programme acknowledgements Null

Books quoted and consulted: Aller Tage Abend (At the End of the Day) by Fritz Kortner, Greatness and Misery of Exile by Lion Feuchtwanger, Leben am Pazifik (Life on the Pacific Coast) by Alfred Polgar, Nehmt nur mem Leben (Just Take My Life) by Marlene Dietrich, Photograph of Christopher Hampton © Vogue 1980, reproduced by kind permission of Conde Nast Publications.


Home | Up | Provincial Life | Breath of Life | The Aliens | Hens | Another Door Closed | Semper Dowland / Corridor | Small Change | Importance of Being Earnest | Gaslight | Look Back in Anger | The Voysey Inheritance | Epitaph for George Dillon | Days of Wine and Roses | Romeo and Juliet | Scenes from the Big Picture | Peter Gill Festival | York Realist | Radio plays | Luther | Speed-the-Plow | The Seagull | Friendly Fire | Certain Young Men | Mrs Klein | Tongue of a Bird | Cardiff East | A Patriot for Me | Uncle Vanya | New England | Way of the World | Juno and the Paycock | Marriage of Figaro | Harrison Birtwistle | Mean Tears | New Plays | Fool for Love, Lyric | Fool for Love | Antigone | Venice Preserv'd | Tales from Hollywood | Small Change (1983) | Kick for Touch | Major Barbara | Danton's Death | Much Ado (1981) | Don Juan | Month in Country | Scrape off the Black | Julius Caesar | Measure for Measure | Changeling | Cherry Orchard | Small Change (1976) | The Fool | As You Like It | Fishing | Twelfth Night | Merry-Go-Round | Schwieger Tochter | Crete and Sgt Pepper | Duchess of Malfi | Macbeth | Hedda Gabler | Landscape, Silence | Sleepers' Den (1969) | Over Gardens Out | Much Ado (1969) | Life Price | Daughter-in-Law tour | Lawrence season | O'Flaherty VC | Crimes of Passion | Daughter-in-Law (1967) | The Soldier's Fortune | A Provincial Life | O'Flaherty VC | Ruffian on the Stair | Local Stigmatic | Traverse | Albert Cobb | Collier's Friday Night | Sleepers' Den (1965)

Send mail to with questions or comments about this web site.  Copyright © 1999-2012

Last modified: 2012-03-15