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
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
life
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
Sport
Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
News
Stacey Dooley was the only woman to be nominated in last month’s Grierson awards
mediaClare Balding and Davina McCall among those overlooked for Grierson awards
Voices
Joseph Kynaston Reeves arguing with Russell Brand outside the RBS’s London offices on Friday
voicesDJ Taylor: The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a worker's rant to Russell Brand
News
Twitchers see things differently, depending on their gender
scienceNew study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
News
i100
News
Xander van der Burgt, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
scienceA Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Senior Private Client Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: SURREY - An outstanding high level opportunity...

Austen Lloyd: Construction Solicitor - London

Very Competitive Salary : Austen Lloyd: NICHE CITY FIRM - We are making a disc...

Austen Lloyd: Construction Solicitor - London

Very Competitive Salary : Austen Lloyd: NICHE CITY FIRM - We are making a disc...

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Day In a Page

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick