Our cinema documentation illuminates the stage play „the last days of mankind“ in the staging of Paulus Manker. The stage play plays originally in the time oft he first world war and is a mixture of statements from different personalities of various social layers. Karl Kraus intention is to convey us the brutality and the crime aside the military front in the middle of the life of austrian citizens. Among other things he also shows clearly the manipulative role of the journalists. Our movie shows sections of the performances in the „Serbenhalle“ in „Wiener Neustadt“, as well as interviews with the actors, journalists, Karl- Kraus experts and historians.
The play "The Last Days of Mankind" (orig.: Die letzten Tage der Menschheit) was considered unplayable, all attempts to bring it to the stage did not really succeed - when we heard that Paulus Manker was trying to bring the play to the stage, we were convinced that this extraordinary "theatrical genius" would prove that, firstly, it is feasible and, secondly, that "Alma" was and is not a "lucky punch". The doyen of the feature film cameramen, Univ.Prof. Walter Kindler, brought him together with Paulus Manker and on location, in the impressive Serbian Hall, he experienced an evening of theatre as he had seldom been able to do before.
Almost breathlessly we followed the texts, which we knew since our childhood and experienced how the characters in this effective, emotional and very intense performance took on a new life. The characters are alive, whether at Sirk Eck, in the trenches or in the military hospital, and the audience stands in the middle of it, becomes part of the action.
The documentary, designed by Wolfgang Ritzberger, oscillates between the creative power of Paulus Manker, the uniqueness and the emotions that the performances are capable of triggering, the historical background of the texts and the view of World War I smeared with monarchy kitsch and the search for a new venue for the more than 6 hours long performance.