Arts & Theater

Elfriede Jelinek’s The Children of the Dead


The Segal Center presents an excerpt from The Children of the Dead, which has been recently translated into English by Gitta Honegger and published by Yale University Press. The excerpt will be performed by Helga Davis and directed by Tea Alagić, followed by a panel with Gitta Honegger, Tea Alagić, Pavol Liska, and Kelly Copper, moderated by Frank Hentschker.

Copies of The Children of the Dead will be available for purchase. To pre-order the book, click the link here.


The Alpenrose is a mountain resort nestled in Austria’s scenic landscape among historic churches and castles. It is a vacation idyll that attracts tourists from all over Europe. It is also a mass burial site.

Amid the snow-topped peaks and panoramic vistas, ghosts haunt the forest: Edgar Gstranz, a young skier who died in a car crash; Gudrun Bichler, a philosophy student who committed suicide in her bathtub; and Karin Frenzel, a widow who (perhaps) died in a bus accident. As the three slip in and out of the hotel, engaging unsuspecting tourists and seeking a way to return to life, the soil begins to crack under their feet as the dead of the Holocaust awaken: zombies determined to exact their revenge.

Scrupulously rendered for the first time in English by Gitta Honegger, The Children of the Dead takes readers on a mind-bending ride through time, space, and memory. Concocted from experimental theater, splatter film, Gothic literature, philosophy, religion, and more, Jelinek’s phantasmagorical masterwork is a fierce confrontation with our fraught legacies in the name of the innocent dead.


Elfriede Jelinek (b. 1946), an Austrian poet, playwright, novelist, and activist, received the 2004 Nobel Prize in Literature. Her numerous works include the novel The Piano Teacher. She lives in Vienna.

Gitta Honegger is the authorized translator of Elfriede Jelinek. Besides her novel The Children of the Dead she also translated her “texts for speaking;“ among them On the Royal Road: The Burgher King; Shadow. Eurydice Says; Rechnitz; Charges (The Supplicants); Fury and her most recent works, the trilogy Sun/Air/Ashes and the biographical text Full Disclosure. She also translated the plays by fellow-Nobel laureates Peter Handke and Elias Canetti, as well as of Thomas Bernhard and is the author of the biography Thomas Bernhard: The Making of an Austrian.

Tea Alagić is an internationally acclaimed, multilingual director. Based in NYC, her credits include off-Broadway, regional and international productions of both traditional theater and devised work. She holds a BFA in acting from Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic, and an MFA in directing from the Yale School of Drama, where she received the Julian Milton Kaufman Prize in Directing. She serves as professor of directing and collaboration at MFA, The New School for Drama since (2012,) from 2016 she is serving as Head of Directing Department at MFA.

Helga Davis is a vocalist and performance artist with feet planted on the most prestigious international stages, and with firm roots in the realities and concerns of her local community. Her work draws out insights that illuminate how artistic leaps for an individual can offer connection among audiences.

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