Fritzl play opens with police at the doors

Hubsi Kramar insists his play, which has sold out, is simply a satire

A satirical play about the Austrian alleged multiple rapist Josef Fritzl opened last night amid a storm of angry protest in Vienna, with the author saying that he would need police protection to enable the show to continue.

The play, originally entitled Pension Fritzl, premiered at the Anatomie theatre simply as Pension F because of the furious criticism the production has provoked.

“Everything you ever wanted to know about the Fritzls” – is how the satire was promoted by the theatre. “In the cellar, under the carpet, you can’t get any lower than that.”

Fritzl is due to go on trial next month, accused of holding his daughter prisoner in a windowless cellar beneath his home for 24 years and fathering seven children with her. Pension F was written and directed by the Austrian actor, comedian and self-proclaimed “provocateur” Hubert “Hubsi” Kramar, whose previous stunts have included trying to enter the Vienna Opera Ball dressed as Adolf Hitler in 2000, after Austria’s far-right Freedom Party joined the government.

The play received an arts subsidy from the Vienna city government, but when news of the project was announced last month, it demanded that the funding be cut immediately and complained that the play was tasteless. Some politicians even suggested that Kramar should be arrested.

The mayor of Fritzl’s home town of Amstetten in lower Austria demanded that the play be cancelled. “This case involves a story of unspeakable suffering and brings satire to its moral limits,” he said.

Kramar said he had received a number of threatening phone calls: “I have had several murder threats over the phone. They told me, ‘I will do to you what Fritzl did to his family’.” In recent days, posters advertising the play had been torn down and locks on theatre doors glued shut, he said. The 60-year-old director insisted that his play was a media satire. “It is a complete media work. At first I thought I would be unable to write it, but in fact the media has written it,” he said. “It’s ridiculous to assume that I would be putting incest on stage.”

He refused to go into any more detail, but added that his co-author, Hermann Fritzl, shares the surname of the most notorious Austrian of the 21st century.

Kramar also called for a continued police presence at the theatre to allow the show – which has sold out for the rest of the month – to go on as planned.

Austria has a tradition of turning out provocative plays. A decade ago, protesters dumped a cartload of manure outside Vienna’s Burgtheater on the first night of Heldenplatz, Thomas Bernhard’s criticism, in a play, of Austria’s failures to face up to its Nazi past.

Some critics have gone so far as to suggest that the Fritzl case is another example of what they claim is the Austrian tendency to ignore rather than expose injustice within society.

Fritzl, who has admitted to being a “born rapist” since he was arrested last year, is charged with rape, imprisonment, slavery, incest, abuse and murder. The trial opens on 16 March. If convicted he will almost certainly be sentenced to life imprisonment. Psychiatrists have already recommended that he should never be set free.

Suggested Topics
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
Southern charm: Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan in ‘Joe’
filmReview: Actor delivers astonishing performance in low budget drama
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
Arts and Entertainment
Up my street: The residents of the elegant Moray Place in Edinburgh's Georgian New Town
tvBBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past
Albus Dumbledore, the headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry has been the teaching profession's favourite teacher
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
Life and Style
Cheesecake frozen yoghurt by Constance and Mathilde Lorenzi
food + drinkThink outside the cool box for this summer’s frozen treats
John Barrowman kisses his male “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
peopleBarrowman's opening ceremony message to Commonwealth countries where he would be sent to prison for being gay
Sir Bradley Wiggins removes his silver medal after the podium ceremony for the men’s 4,000m team pursuit in Glasgow yesterday
Commonwealth games Disappointment for Sir Bradley in team pursuit final as England are forced to settle for silver
Alistair Brownlee (right) celebrates with his gold medal after winning the men’s triathlon alongside brother Jonny (left), who got silver
England's Jodie Stimpson won the women’s triathlon in the morning
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SQL Report Analyst (SSRS, CA, SQL 2012)

£30000 - £38500 Per Annum + 25 days holiday, pension, subsidised restaurant: C...

Application Support Analyst (SQL, Incident Management, SLAs)

£34000 - £37000 Per Annum + excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Lt...

Embedded Software / Firmware Engineer

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Pension, Holiday, Flexi-time: Progressive Recruitm...

Developer - WinForms, C#

£280 - £320 per day: Progressive Recruitment: C#, WinForms, Desktop Developmen...

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform