by Michael Sturminger
"The Infernal Comedy" is a stage-play for a Baroque-Orchestra, two Sopranos and one actor. It is based on the real-life story of Jack Unterweger, a convicted murderer, acclaimed imprisoned poet, pardoned and celebrated author and journalist, notorious womanizer, and prime example of reintegration, who gradually was suspected of killing a growing number of prostitutes in Vienna, Graz, Prague and Los Angeles, later vanished from Vienna, fled into the U.S, got arrested in Miami, transferred to Austria, accused and finally committed suicide after being convicted of homicide in eleven cases.
The initial situation shows the actor (Jack) reading from his brand new novel, from where he drifts into his memories, connected to the melodramatic music of Christoph Willibald von Gluck`s Don Juan. Between his monologues, several scenes will be performed between the actor (Jack) and one of two opera singers. Following the doctrine of the affections of baroque music, each of these scenes and arias will represent emotional expressions as Joy, Hatred, Love, Grief, Desire and Admiration in connection of one example of JackÕs various connections to women, including climatic solo-pieces like "La scena di Berenice" and other pieces by Vivaldi, Handel, Gluck, Haydn and Mozart, which will emerge the emotional background of our story.
A simple table with a glass of water and some brand new copies of a voluminous paperback is all you see on the stage, while the orchestra plays the dramatic journey to hell music of the final Ciacona "L`enfer" of C.W. Gluck`s "Don Juan". After the music has ended, a handsome man of middle age wearing a white suit and dark sunglasses enters the stage and welcomes the public with a brief, charming speech, to the primary reading of his latest and last novel titled "The infernal comedy".
He especially acknowledges the presence of so attractive ladies, because the whole book may only having been written to justify his lost soul to women, who always have been his only determination, his world, his paradise, his desolation and fate. Maybe, he expresses with an ironic smile, this had to do with my name Jack, Johann or Hans in German, that -in Spanish and Italian- translates into Juan or Giovanni. It may seem such a common name, John, but if you wear this name, women will love and hate you, call you a liar and a pervert, but never leave you alone.
Before Jack sits down to start the reading, he highlights the fact, that he wrote this novel after his death and that, although he had been a convicted murderer and acclaimed author of several plays and novels, he had never before written a single truthful word. As far as he remembers, the smallest amount of honesty would have banned him behind bars for the rest of his life. Therefore the following evening will finally reveal his real qualities as writer and performer for the very first time.
Yes and before I forget, he goes on, I will have the pleasure to introduce you to two wonderful ladies, disposed to sing a few nice old fashioned pieces of music, while I will have to clear my throat.
He briefly points at the two incredibly beautiful women in wonderful evening dresses, who make their appearances at both sides of the stage and receive a warm applause. Jack suddenly cuts off the ovations with a harsh gesture, irritatingly different from his charming attitude so far. Somehow baffled the ladies leave the stage, as Jack, all his captivating self again, announces, that those two wonderful women will represent several women of his life and therefore help to underline the impact of the reading...