Arbery: Drama and Fiction, Old and New

Death on the Lido

July 24, 2020

Death on the Lido

A 14-year-old boy is troubled - or is he fascinated? - by an old man who never stops watching him.

In Thomas Mann's 1912 novella Death in Venice (filmed in 1971 by Luchino Visconti) the ageing Gustav von Aschenbach becomes obsessed with the beauty of young Tadzio. Although the two never speak, a silent relationship grows between them, a relationship which persists as the old man's health fails and the city is beset by cholera.

Decades later Tadzio remembers that fateful summer. What went through the boy's mind when he realised what was happening? What impact did it have on his adult life? Finally, the silent youth speaks. 
Originally the title story in Martin Foreman's collection A Sense of Loss,  Death on the Lido was later adapted for the stage as Tadzio Speaks with Christopher Peacock ("deeply poetic" Views from the Gods). This audio version with John Vernon brings to life one of fiction's most memorable and least understood characters. 

A Sense of Loss and Tadzio Speaks can be ordered from Arbery Books

Martin Foreman's work appears in several Arbery podcasts on Podbean and elsewhere. martinforeman.com

Title painting: detail from Sir John Lavery: Bathing Hour, Lido, Venice

SFX: zapsplat.com and freesfx.co.uk