Mariedl – Selfies with a Giantess

The Street Theatre Canberra
Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 November 2023.

Austrian star of stage and screen Maxi Blaha (Soul of Fire, Beloved Muse) presents the premiere of the English production of Mariedl, Selfies with a Giantess, a collection of stage tableaux about our fascination with anatomical difference.

Barbie talks to Maxi Blaha about Mariedl – Selfies with a Giantess

Selfies with a Giantess draws on the life of ‘the tallest woman in the world’ to turn a probing eye on how we treat those who are different, on modern celebrities and influencers, and the staging of the human body for the digital space.

Maria Fassnauer, known as ‘Mariedl, the Tyrolean Giantess’ was born 1879 into an extremely poor farming family in Tyrol, Austria, growing to 2.27 meters by the time she was 15. She died there 38 years later. From her small village, her fame spread into the wider world and inevitably people came calling, including a man who became her manager.

Crossing Europe with her sister to be exhibited at theatres including the Hippodrome in London, fairs and festivals, she caught the eye of an Australian who wanted to marry her, a proposal she turned down.

The real Maria was a shy religious woman with a dream of becoming a nun, who worked hard, standing for hours posing and selling postcards of herself, making large sums of money which she gave to her family and charities.

Stepping into the extraordinary life of Tyrolean Maria Fassnauer (Mariedl), Maxi Blaha brings the giantess alive in a contemporary staging. She is accompanied on stage in Canberra by the award-winning Swiss harpist Ursula Fatton (Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Vienna State Opera, Bayreuth Festival Orchestra).