Emory Report
November 17, 2008
Volume 61, Number 12



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November 17
, 2008
Theater Emory explores Don Juan’s dilemmas

Theater Emory delves into little-known playwright Ödön von Horváth’s “Don Juan Comes Back From the War” as they present Christopher Hampton’s translation of the work from Nov. 13–23. This rarely seen play chronicles the journeys of the timeless lover as he encounters the women of his past. Much changed by the war, Don Juan longs to reunite with his true love. He discovers that when surrounded by female seducers it is difficult not to be the old Don Juan.

Playwright Ödön von Horváth (1901–1938) was the son of a Hungarian diplomat. He lived in Budapest but wrote major works for German and Austrian audiences. He was one of the first artists to recognize the threat of fascism. He moved to Paris to escape Nazi persecution. Horváth died at 37 when struck by a tree limb during a lightning storm. His few works are known for their complexity in every way except for clarity of writing style.

Based in post-World War I Germany, the play explores passion and turbulence in Don Juan’s life, but also reflects the erratic economy and changing government of the time. “Our process is to capture Horváth’s world in the wild behavior of the characters who are reacting to the state of their society,” says director Janice Akers, Theater Studies lecturer. The cast includes James Donadio as Don Juan, with Mirla Criste, Shannon Eubanks, Ellen McQueen, Mary Lynn Owen and student actors.

“Don Juan Comes Back From the War” is presented in the Mary Gray Monroe Theater in the Dobbs University Center. Remaining shows are at 7 p.m. Nov. 19–22, and a 2 p.m. matinee on Nov. 23. For tickets ($18; $14, faculty, staff and discount categories; $6, students) call 404-727-5050 or visit www.arts.emory.edu.