THE LAST DAYS OF MANKIND ACT I SCENE 24
Chief of the General Staff’s quarters.
(Conrad von Hötzendorf alone. Pose: arms crossed, leans with weight on one leg, reflective.)
CONRAD (glancing upwards): If only Skolik was here now!
HQ OFFICER 1 (entering): Excellency, Skolik is here.
CONRAD: Skolik? Which Skolik is that?
HQ OFFICER 1: Skolik the court photographer who took that gorgeous photo of you in the Balkan War, with Your Excellency so engrossed in the map of the Balkans. He insists Your Excellency ordered him to come back.
CONRAD: One wouldn’t really say ordered, but I did let drop a hint for him to come, since the man does take smashing photographs.
HQ OFFICER 1: He’s made a request to photograph all the generals.
CONRAD: I don’t like that! Let them get their own photographer.
HQ OFFICER 1: No heads worth talking about, he says. All long shots.
CONRAD: Ah, that’s different. In with Skolik! Hang on – should we be poring over the map of the Balkans again – or maybe Italy for a change –
HQ OFFICER 1: That’s much more fitting now, Excellency.
(Conrad von Hötzendorf spreads out the map and tries out various poses. When the photographer enters, he is already poring over the map of the Italian theatre. The photographer bows low. Conrad stars at the map.)
CONRAD: What is it now? Can’t I have a moment’s - I was just about to –
(The officer winks at the photographer.)
SKOLIK: A little, impromptu photo, Excellency, I beg you.
CONRAD: I’m up to my eyes in this epoch-making task –
SKOLIK: I’m taking this for the Illustrated Week –
CONRAD: I don’t want to end up in there with all the other generals –
SKOLIK: Your Excellency will be portrayed entirely separately. Actually it will be a front page picture. I’ve got to deliver some of the little mademoiselles who model for the Wiener Werkstätte, a few of Treumann’s actresses, etcetera, but after that a piece about His Majesty Kaiser Wilhelm on a boar hunt, you will be right next to something sensational, His Royal Highness with the poet Ganghofer! Your Excellency -
CONRAD: All right, not bad, not bad – I’m actually – I say in confidence, I’m poring over a map of the Balkans – what am I talking about, of Italy –
(The major winks at the photographer, who is about to step back.)
SKOLIK: Perfect –a moment of intense self-composure, we have to seize it. I can see the caption: General Conrad von Hötzendorf pores over a map of the Balkans – I mean the Italian theatre. Can we say that, Excellency?
CONRAD: Yes, as far as I’m concerned – (He stares at the map, the officer, who hasn’t moved from the spot, does the same. They both smooth their moustaches.) Will it take long?
SKOLIK: Just one historic moment – relax, Excellency, keep poring – spontaneous –casual – no, a little unnatural, people might think it’s posed –head – more undaunted! – an air of authority - a memento of these great times – that’s it! – Excellency, a belligerent face! Now – ah, thank you!
 Franz Conrad von Hötzendorf, count (1853-1925), soldier, chief of the general staff, close to some of Franz Ferdinand’s ideas for change; also a determined advocate of pre-emptive war against Serbia; his strategy against Russia and Serbia, in the first year of the war, led to disastrous defeat and huge casualties; as a result the Austro-Hungary armies would never again take the field without German support.
 Charles Skolik, court photographer.
 Originally Rudolf Kundmann, major (1869-1934); member of the General Staff, adjutant to Hötzendorf; he kept a diary of life inside the General Staff; invested in 1918 as Knight of the Order of St Stephen of Hungary, rare order of the Empire’s; knights were supposedly ‘distinguished for virtue, merit, noble birth’.
 The Viennese Workshop, founded in 1903 by artists and designers Josef Hofmann and Kalomon Moser; it was about incorporating modern design and contemporary art into daily life, in jewellery, fabrics, fashion, ornamentation, furniture, ceramics, etc., looking back to the work of William Morris in England and forward to the Bauhaus in Germany. Hofmann and Moser were both members of the Viennese Secession; they and their collaborators took much inspiration from Art Nouveau but their style became characterised by straight lines, geometric shapes, minimal decoration. The Werkstätte closed in 1932.
 Louis Treumann (1872-1943), actor, operetta singer.