Arthur Schnitzler's play "La Ronde" has had somewhat of a turbulent history in its 116 year history — not surprising for a work that so frankly discusses sexuality and class. Set in 1890's Vienna, the play consists of 10 scenes between pairs of lovers, each from various social backgrounds and professions, shown just before or immediately after their sexual encounter. The playwright hoped to show that sexuality knew no class boundaries. Schnitzler printed his play in 1900 solely for private circulation, but in 1903, the work was distributed publicly and became a best-seller. Still, a year later, censors found it scandalous and banned the work. It wasn't until 1920 that "La Ronde" was performed, and Schnitzler was hit with personal attacks — often anti-Semitic — and charges of pornography. He withdrew the play himself from public production in German-speaking countries (although it remained popular in other European cities). Bread & Water Theatre has given the controversial play its Rochester premiere, directed by J.R. Teeter.
"La Ronde" continues Friday, September 30, through Sunday, October 2, and again October 7 through October 9, at Bread & Water Theatre, 172 West Main Street. Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m.; Sundays at 2 p.m. $8-$14 (no patron will be turned away). 538-9684; breadandwatertheatre.org.