Award-winning Austrian star of stage and screen Maxi Blaha (Soul of Fire, Beloved Muse) makes her long awaited return to Australia for the premiere of the English production of Mariedl, Selfies with a Giantess at The Street Theatre, Canberra and The Butterfly Club, Melbourne, this November.
Written by renowned UK-based writer, dramaturg and award-winning translator, Penny Black, who was commissioned to write Beloved Muse, the one-woman play in 2018 about Klimt’s life partner, Emilie Flöge, and performed in English by Maxi Blaha.
Black’s 2023 play is a cornucopia of stage tableaus, illusion and monetisation rooted in the very human fascination with anatomical difference and how society treats those who are different.
Stepping into the extraordinary life of one of the tallest women ever seen Tyrolean Maria Fassnauer (Mariedl), Blaha brings the giantess alive in a contemporary staging.
A favourite in German playing houses, Blaha is a long-time company member of the National Theatre of Austria (Vienna Burgtheater) with lead engagements at the theatres of Coburg, Tuebingen, Vienna, and Linz.
She is accompanied on stage by the award-winning Swiss harpist Ursula Fatton (Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Vienna State Opera, Bayreuth Festival Orchestra).
Maria Fassnauer (known as Mariedl, the Tyrolean Giantess) was born 1879 into an extremely poor farming family in Tyrol, Austria, growing to 2.27 meters by the time she was 15, and died there 38 years later.
Discovered in her small village, her fame spread out into the wider world and inevitably people came calling, including a man who became her manager.
Crossing Europe with her sister to be exhibited at theatres including the Hippodrome in London, fairs and festivals, she caught the eye of an Australian who wanted to marry her, a proposal she turned down.
Behind the marvel was a shy religious woman with a dream of becoming a nun, who worked hard, standing for hours posing and selling postcards of herself, making large sums of money which she gave to her family and charities.
Actor Maxi Blaha is a delight to watch on stage. Her English solo works have played renowned festivals and theatres in New York, London, Paris, Sydney, Auckland, Teheran, Rome, Oslo and Tokyo.
In 2021 Blaha shot the film adaption of Arthur Miller’s The Performance directed by Shira Piven alongside Robert Carlyle and Jeremy Piven and she is currently working on the latest Tatort iconic crime show, Germany’s longest running television series.
Selfies with a Giantess uses the lens of the life of ‘the tallest woman in the world’ to turn a probing eye on our view of those who are different, on the life of modern celebrities and influencers, and the staging of the human body for the digital space. Follow the Tyrolean Giantess as she meets the 21st century gaze.
Mariedl, Selfies with a Giantess
The Street Theatre, 15 Childers Street, Canberra City West
Season: 25 – 26 November 2023
Information and Bookings: www.thestreet.org.au
The Butterfly Club, 5 Carson Lane, Melbourne
Season: 28 November – 2 December 2023
Information and Bookings: www.thebutterflyclub.com
Image: Maxi Blaha as Tyrolean Maria Fassnauer (Mariedl) – photo by Georg Buxhofer