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Last Updated on July 29, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 353

Schnitzler’s original work, Reigen, upon which The Blue Room is based, suggested that one of the unfortunate things passed along in the ‘‘round dance’’ of loose sexual relations is venereal diseases. Although it is not a prominent feature of Hare’s play, AIDS is the modern counterpart to this worry,...

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Schnitzler’s original work, Reigen, upon which The Blue Room is based, suggested that one of the unfortunate things passed along in the ‘‘round dance’’ of loose sexual relations is venereal diseases. Although it is not a prominent feature of Hare’s play, AIDS is the modern counterpart to this worry, and a couple of characters do express concerns about proper ‘‘hygiene.’’ Research the most recent statistics and medical findings about the AIDS virus. How many people are now affected by this disease? What have governments and physicians been doing to combat the spread of AIDS?

Watch La Ronde, the 1950 film version of Schnitzler’s work directed by Max Ophuls, and compare it with David Hare’s adaptation, The Blue Room. How are the stories and characters similar? How do they differ? What is the effect of Ophuls’s faithful recreation of turn-of-thecentury Vienna as the setting for his film, versus Hare’s ambiguous suggestion that the play simply occur, ‘‘in one of the great cities of the world, in the present day’’? Finally, how have attitudes toward the characters’ sexual looseness changed over the years?

One of the characters in The Blue Room is a playwright, like Hare himself. Examine the scenes involving The Playwright. What is his opinion of the artist’s place in society? How does he feel about his audiences? What is his relationship like with the media? With others in the theatre? How much of The Playwright’s personality might be shared by the author of The Blue Room?

At the turn of the century, Schnitzler’s Vienna was considered a center of European science and culture. Prior to the First World War, two million people occupied the crown jewel of the Austrian Empire. Vienna was the source for the modernist art movement, the origin of Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytical theories, and the capital of European music, home to such famous composers as Joseph Haydn, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and Ludwig van Beethoven. Research fin de siecle Vienna. How did the city manage to become so influential in art, music, and thought? When and why did its fortunes change?

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