sophiensäle wien

Blogging daily about Café Prückel I think I can say won’t be happening. Much busyness, running around, long days, inability to concentrate on a screen at the end and write, so…

We — Hans, Anuschka, Harold, James and I — met at Café Prückel for breakfast and to talk over some ideas for the coming week. Hans has been wanting to film a chasing scene in the forest, so after some trials in Stadtpark, we decamped towards Prater, along Marxergasse. Coming around a bend, an old, beautiful and abandoned theatre, the Sofien Saal, boarded up but perhaps perfect for some ominous spectral stalking.

We find the gate in the side street locked with a piece of thin rope, and soon find ourselves wandering the gutted interior. None of the great hall remains, only empty boxes on either side, arrayed towards a view of nothing. The grand entrance and balcony toothless and flapping with shreds of deep red velvet curtain. The floor itself a raked pit, Anuschka identifies as a swimming pool. In the dance season, it was covered, and the acoustics so superb, Decca used it as their primary recording studio for years.

It burnt nearly ten years ago, charred supports around the boxes the only clear sign of this, the blackened surfaces both washed clean and covered with the intervening seasons of erosion. It was strange to find such a place in Vienna, always the city of refinement and finish. Berlin, yes — the Sopiensäle there is a similar arrangement of destitution though with a reconfigured technic, but Berlin and the rubble of the preceding decades is still not unusual.