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Story & History

The History

The year 1416: Tirol's Duke Friedrich IV knew that he must flee from the king. From Constance via Bludenz, Kaunertal and Widum he finally reached the Ötztal as Friedl of the Empty Pockets. In Vent he found a hiding place at the Rofenhöfe farms...

The story

"FRIEDL is staged in the original scenery dating back to 1416, in the weather conditions of 1416, in the completely natural sunlight of 1416. Only the language differs - the original German and the original Ötztal dialect have further developed but the latter is still very close to the former dialect. Maybe the climate has been getting a bit colder over the years, but now it's getting warmer again. Here in this deserted place human traces have been minimal for hundreds of years. Will that change now?

FRIEDL is a road movie telling the story of an adventurous escape - a play amid wild nature: with their own walking power the audience can experience what it feels like to flee from the henchmen, to go underground, to be guided over the main Alpine ridge in secret - with the help of people who dare doing something dangerous and who help those who they love.

600 years of escape: In April 1416, Friedrich - Tirol's Archduke - escaped from Constance across Arlberg Pass to his seat of government in Meran. Until today we still don't know the exact route. But there is a rumor going around that he had lived as a servant in Vent at Rofenhof Farm and had conquered the Alpine ridge with the help of a maid. We staged this hidden drama in an almost untouched landscape of unimaginable size. The three thousand meter high peaks around Vent and Niederes Tal become a play and sound space for a completely new kind of dramatic art that starts with avant-garde music of the 15th century and doesn't fulfill any of the current dogmas. A hike almost to the end of the world.
We would be very happy if you would like to accompany us."

Hubert Lepka (Lawine Torrèn)

By skillful politics of arranged marriage the House of Habsburg conquered the Province of Tirol at the beginning of the 15th century, which from now on should be the center and link of the possessions that have been in the area for some time. In order to restructure Tirol and - at the same time - to withdraw the vast area from the dictates of Tirol's princes and lords of the castles, the young Habsburg Friedrich is appointed Duke of Tirol.

Friedrich doesn't act undiplomatically. He tries to address wider problems and break the private arbitrariness of the Tirolean princes, which leads to significant conflicts that Friedrich could still manage. Only when the new, young Archduke of Tirol fell out with Sigismund - the King of the German-Roman empire - because someone presumably raped one of Friedrich's servants (and Friedrich demanded an explanation), his seemingly firm position begins to sway.

Then Friedrich makes a mistake. Friedrich negotiates (perhaps defying the king) an ill-considered plan with a dubious Pope: to accompany him (for money) to Constance and take care of him when it comes to the unification of the church at the huge council. But King Sigismund wants a new pope.

However, in seeking to hush up his mistake and hotheadly prevent the Pope (entrusted to him) from being disempowered, he attracts the King's wrath: he is arrested and after attempting to escape he is even banned and excommunicated. So anyone can officially kill him now. Friedrich has no choice but to escape again (with the help of his friend Hans). If one believes in legends and myths, an escape that he only survives thanks to the help of "ordinary people" whom he once supported.

Finally Friedrich makes his way to Ötztal, where a peasant takes care of him, while Hans goes back to Innsbruck in order to seek a solution. Also on the farm (Rofenhof near Vent) Friedrich doesn't get some peace. That same morning a mercenary troop is following him (sent by his brother Ernst who wants to rule Tirol himself). The Rofenhof farmer, however, already suspects who "Friedl" is and tells his "niece" Anna ("half stepdaughter, half maid") to lead the "new one" towards the pasturelands.

Although sane and save, this ascent to Ochsenleger area is a torture - at least for Friedrich. And Anna is almost upset: you always rest! When he has to take a deep breath (once again!) they recognize danger - a dark shape who has clung to Anna and Friedl's heels. A grim pursuer who turns out to be a woman - a female hunter who seems to know no fear. The situation soon escalates as the stranger tries to attack the Archduke with a knife.
Friedl remembers. The Innsbruck affair, the rape that caused quarrels. For the sake of etiquette, some "guilty" party ended up in prison where they forgot him. To this day, here and now, when the mother appears to avenge her son - to take revenge with impunity because Friedrich is outlawed.

But once again revenge must be postponed. Suppressing all disgust, they realize that one has to rely on each other to reach the pasture. Up there and far away with the spirit high up in the clouds, all reservations suddenly seem surprisingly unstable - also because Anna bravely stands on the side of this woman. Anna negotiates, advises, fights - and in the end it's not a surprise that Friedrich promises to devote himself to this matter, provided that he ever reached Merano - that's what she got him to do, Anna?

And at the moment of success she doesn't even realize that she herself had this idea that Friedl had to cross the glacier to get to Meran - and as if struck by lightning - she realizes that he will leave anyway and cannot stay at all. And although she wants to take her client, the calmer mother, back to the valley safely, Anna suddenly sets a pace that is almost a danger to the city lady.

Anna knows that Friedl cannot continue without a mountain guide, that he is stuck and that it's only up to her if and when and what she will suggest to the guide: she found the solution! But even before she has to be up there again. Before them at all costs, together with Friedl. Now that time is running out.

She informs the mountain guide and runs off again.

On 30 March 1416, Friedrich escapes from Constance. Afterwards, he beats his way more or less unrecognized with the help of his friend Hans through Tirol for three weeks. However, on 21 April 1416 - about three weeks later - he signs (again officially as Archduke Friedrich) a historically verifiable, handed down document. No detailed records are known what exactly happened in Ötztal.

Joey Wimplinger (Author)

Wandertheater Friedl Vent Ötztal
Wandertheater Friedl Vent Ötztal
Wandertheater Friedl Vent Ötztal
Wandertheater Friedl Vent Ötztal
Wandertheater Friedl Vent Ötztal