Leopoldstadt follows the huge, extended Merz family who reside in Vienna, Austria. They have been settled there since Grandma Emilia fled pogroms in the East many years earlier. They are a family of Jewish intellectuals and free citizens of the Austro-Hungarian empire. Moving from 1899 to 1955, the play follows the rise and fall of Vienna’s Jewish community through the lens of one family They face the grief of losing a son and nephew in the First World War, navigating the family business through the depression and the rise of Bolshevism, and the onslaught of Nazi invasion. By the final scene, set in 1955, this huge family has been tragically reduced to just three survivors. Leopoldstadt takes a bold look at what it means to be Jewish for one’s self, but also in the eyes of others, and asks what happens when history catches up with you.
Leopoldstadt guide sections