12/17/2011

The Infernal Comedy: Confessions of a serial killer - featuring John Malkovich; Laura Aikin; Aleksandra Zamojska; Orchestra Weiner Akademie (2009) Review

The Infernal Comedy: Confessions of a serial killer - featuring John Malkovich; Laura Aikin; Aleksandra Zamojska; Orchestra Weiner Akademie (2009)
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The 2009 play "The Infernal Comedy" - confessions of a serial killer by Austrian dramatist Michael Sturminger is a "comedy" only in the most dark and ironic sense. Based on the true events surrounding the conviction, release and recapture of Jack Unterweger, this is a strangely compelling vision. John Malkovich created the role and is, essentially, talking to his audience as if they are witnessing a lecture and book signing from the "Vienna Woods Killer", back from the dead. The drama and vision are made more complete and surreal by having a Baroque orchestra accompany two sopranos as a form of commentary throughout the monologue. The arias are chosen carefully for their depiction of various operatic women in abused, subjugated, disadvantaged and mistreated roles. The two sopranos, Laura Aikan and Aleksandra Zamojska, perform wonderfully and also serve to act as if they are but two of Unterweger's many victims. In real life, Unterweger had written a book, gone on tour, exhibiting the same charm that no doubt gave him access to women, all while still executing an additional nine women, only to commit suicide while awaiting trial in prison. The irony and the palpable "deadly charm" that Jack Unterweger probably possessed are carried off brilliantly by Malkovich, who excels at portraying unusual characters in intense ways. The opera extracts and the performances by the sopranos - musically and dramatically - actually highten the mood and make one want to learn more about this strange case. The orchestra, playing period instruments conducted by Martin Haselbock plays wonderfully and this play/opera/commentary makes a fascinating addition to anyone's collection. The "comedy" is present, especially in some of Jack's almost "throw away" dialogue (like his disgust with the laptop computer provided him) but ultimately the realization that this man was real and notorious and scarily unique make the comedy less funny and more - infernal.

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'The Infernal Comedy' is a stage-play for a Baroque-Orchestra, twoSopranos and one actor. It is based on the real-life story of JackUnterweger, a convicted murderer, acclaimed imprisoned poet, pardonedand celebrated author and journalist, notorious womanizer,and prime example of reintegration, who gradually was suspected ofkilling a growing number of prostitutes in Vienna, Graz,Prague and Los Angeles, later vanished from Vienna, fled into theU.S, got arrested in Miami, transferred to Austria, accused and finallycommitted suicide after being convicted of homicide in eleven cases.'If you wear this name, women will love you or hate you - call you a liar or pervert - but they will never leave you alone.'BONUS: inside THE INFERNAL COMEDYThe deceitful criminal history of Jack Unterweger, the prisoner convicted of killing a woman who subsequently became aliterary sensation and was considered to be a model of rehabilitation, is the true source and subject of the musical theatrepiece for Baroque orchestra, two sopranos and an actor. This role is perfectly impersonated by John Malkovich. Observationsat the rehearsals for this unusual and genre-leaping theatre evening are interwoven with historic background information.

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