1 the travelogues
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I discovered the first references to Anna Pritzi in Toni Bernhart´s book "Volksschauspiele" (2019). He quotes from a travelogue from 1838 by the writer and theatre director August Lewald. Here Lewald describes attending a performance of a play by Anna Pritzi with an all-female cast and a subsequent encounter with her. He tells she was a shoemaker's widow and reports on 21 plays she is said to have written. Not only Lewald wrote about Pritzi and her theatre in his Tyrolean travelogue, but other literary figures such as the author Karl Immermann also make references to her. Karl Immermann has a special theory about the all-female cast of the theatre. He suspects that the young women were encouraged to do theatre after they had finished fieldwork, as there were many soldiers in Innsbruck at the time. Playing theatre meant that the young women were more concerned with rehearsing their texts and less with meeting the soldiers.
The Viennese writer and civil servant Johann Gabriel Seidl mentions the playwright Anna Pritzi and her theatre in his travelogue of 1840, as does the Viennese Ignaz Franz Castelli in his of 1856. During his stay in Tyrol, Castelli attends a staging of a play in Hötting near Innsbruck that Pritzi is said to have written, entitled "Sohn der Wildniß, oder der Christensclave" (Son of the Wilderness, or the Christian Slave) and even quotes some verses.
All the 19th century reports about Anna Pritzi and her theatre have in common that they were written by men. The male gaze is clearly evident in the descriptions. Besides the admiration for the theatre, the descriptions of the appearance of the women involved take up just as much space. With my research on Anna Pritzi, I want to find out more about her life, the lost plays and her all-female theatre company. On the other hand, it is also an attempt to counter the male gaze from the 19th century with a female perspective from the 21st century.
Toni Bernhart, Volksschauspiele, 2019
August Lewald, Tirol vom Glockner zum Orteles und vom Garda- zum Bodensee, 1838
Karl Immermann, Blick in’s Tyrol, Schriften, Band 2, 1835
Johann Gabriel Seidl, Wanderungen durch Tyrol, 1840
Ignaz Franz Castelli, Memoiren meines Lebens, Band 4, 1861
photo: page from the travelogue by August Lewald