Domplatz (Cathedral Square)
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When Hugo von Hofmannsthal warned Max Reinhardt to bear in mind what performances would cost on the cathedral square, Reinhardt apparently said, “I can see [Alexander] Moissi [the first actor to play Jedermann] kneeling in front of the cathedral.” And Reinhardt remained confident, “The money will be found somehow, that is of secondary importance. I am thinking now especially of the treasures we already have: a magnificent play, a location unmatched throughout the world.”
The cathedral in Salzburg was built between 1614 and 1628 according to plans by Santino Solari; it is the largest early Baroque church north of the Alps and also the oldest bishopric in present-day Austria. It provides an impressive theatrical backdrop for the morality play based on a mediaeval model: no stage set can match the overwhelming effect of the magnificent façade with its twin towers of white marble and with Christ as the ruler of the world on the gable between the towers. The closed square between the archiepiscopal Residenz and St. Peter’s Abbey has passageways to the left and right of the façade which can be used for entries and exits. The flat roof over the cathedral arches is an ideal position for the men who shout Jedermann and for the brass fanfares. Opposite the doors of the cathedral rises up the Gothic steeple of the Franciscan church, on which, besides other church towers in the old town centre as well as on the Mönchsberg and Kapuzinerberg, the men stand who call Jedermann to his death. Max Reinhardt left the lighting design to the sun: the play began at 5 p.m. or 5.30 p.m. when most of the square is still bathed in dazzling light. At the entrance of death the shadows grew longer and when the devil came, sunlight had disappeared.
The square seats 2,544 people. Within the temporary stage, there are several trap doors and pits for the actors. In bad weather Jedermann is performed at the Großes Festspielhaus.