Hello Again Again

A film adaptation of Hello Again, Michael John LaChiusa’s 1994 musical, has begun showing up at festivals and limited screenings.

Here’s where things get delightfully complicated.

Hello Again was itself inspired by Arthur Schnitzler’s German-language play, Reigen. In ten scenes, ten pairs of characters are shown before and after having sex. The first scene is about a prostitute and a soldier, the second shows the soldier and a parlor maid, the third features the parlor maid and a young gentleman, and so on, as Schnitzler’s characters move up and down the social scale, ending with a scene between a Count and the prostitute from Scene One. Schnitzler wrote the play in 1897, but it was so controversial that it wasn’t performed publicly until more than 20 years later.

If the plot sounds familiar but you don’t recognize the name of the play, that’s because in 1950, Max Ophüls filmed a French-language version of Reigen under the title La Ronde, and that title is the one that stuck with English-speaking audiences. (And presumably with French-speaking audiences as well.)

Since then, there have been at least four feature films (with four different titles) based on Reigen, and dozens of TV show have stolen the plot and structure paid reverent homage to the play.

Hello Again adds a new twist, by setting each of the scenes in a different decade, with period-appropriate music for each scene.

Should be interesting. Great cast, and the trailer certainly seems intriguing.

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