Monotheatre for one actor playing five roles
Maestro Anatol Liberstein
The Conscience of Anatol Liberstein
Oboist of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Mister Wilson, emissary to the US President Truman
One actor plays all characters.
(Duration – approximately one hour without pause)
Premiere staging in Serbian language
by Gorčin Stojanović
Copyright belongs to the author
As many other Jewish refugees, Maestro Anatol Liberstein, fled the war lit Europe in the late summer of the year 1939. In the United States he became famous and influential, he conducted by the most celebrated American orchetras and in 1948 he even received Roosevelt Award. However, Maestro Liberstein has a secret. He is being haunted by the ghosts of his past, the loudest one is his conscience, enbodied in the character of a young Liberstein who remembers all the events of the prewar Europe - his friendship with the future Nazi ideologist, philosopher Martin Heideger, the weak and sinful Weimar Germany, Hitler's coming to power and his own flight, first to Wienna, then to Praha and finally to Bern. Young Liberstein, the other face of the celebrated and self-assured conductor, most often speaks of his one love. Contrary to what he claims in America, in Europe he had lived with a Jewish girl with whome he later fled from the Nazies. Her name was Matilda Lipmann and she was a doughter to a Dresden Rabbi and the person he loved dearly.
'It was such a love', the conscience of Liberstein will later say remembering Matilda, 'It was a sickness. It was a sad obsession. January the thirtieth caught us unprepared, maybe to indecisive. January the thirty-first we realized we were not able to part our friends and the little things. February the first we fell in love with the streets of Dresden that we strolled constantly, and more than ever, and with the shops where we used to buy these insignificant trifles. Insignificant trifles... Adolph Hitler is now a chancellor for almost a week. We should flee. Now, no time to hesitate. But are we in the position to get away? No, we waited, we hoped. And thus we lost precious time. Later, and that I will find only afterwards, I will also lose my Helena. Little Jewish girl, Helena Lipmann....‘
Nevertheless, Liberstein, the celebrated Liberstein who at the Roosevelt Award in America lies that he still enjoys listening to the voices of the orchestra musicians, goes on, entering deeper and deeper into a deception, at the same time hearing ever louder the echo of his own self. Something has happened; his alter ego, who thus all-seeing hears all the deaths, all the sufferings, is often warning him of that.
‘I fled, I run away from the war, gallantly as coward from the duel, but the sufferings of the millions had over-netted the ocean and over-starred the skies. I know – as the hand of an instrument knows – the smell of the Cyclone-B under the showers. I know. I can feel the Jews entering the ice-cold waters of Danube under the Chain Bridge in Budapest. I know the feeling of the drowning under the blue ice of the blue Danube. I have drowned so many times. I have known everything. I was among the suitcases of Thomas Mann when he left Germany. I was mixed with the luggage of Herman Broh, and among the chests belonging to Stefan Zweig and in the medical begs of the seriously ill father of the Psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud. They fled, they left everything, as did I. But they do not know. I know.’
As the play progresses, the final conflict and the last divulging of a lying artist who used everybody to satisfy his own selfish interests, gets ever more closer. Still, Maestro Liberstein will not be exposed by his musicians whom he pesters at the rehearsals, or by the Zionists who offer him the position of the first conductor of the Israeli Symphony Orchestra, not even by Mr. Wilson who on behalf of Mr. and Mrs. Truman presents him with the Roosevelt Award, but by his own conscience. After that, all the other characters in the play will consider him a mere imposter.
Finally, one big game of life, based on a colossal lie, will come to its end. And the Zionist who invited Liberstein to participate in the making of the country of Israel, appalled by the betrayal of Maestro, at the end of the play will say: ‘Weak Jews, I say, weak Jews, Mr. Liberstein, never seem to find a way to raise themselves above their flaws and vicious impulses. On the other hand, those who are born in the Jewish womb for generations, crossbreed everything that is good in Semites making them better, one generation after another. From the fine violinists even finer are born. From the first rate bankers even better. From the diligent clerks, even more diligent.’
The drama of Anatol Liberstein is in fact the drama of a weak Jew born only to a Jewish father. Even in the family of Rabbi Lipmann, Liberstein is looked at as a weak Semite. Afterwards, the Nazis offer him salvation in betraying a strong Jewish girl and finally, for being a weak Jew, he is deserted by his own people who are making the country of Israel. But whether Maestro Liberstein betrayed Matilda Lipmann because he was a weak Jew or whether he, belonging nowhere, during the years grew so much in love with himself and his art, is left for viewers to decide.