Manker fined €3,200

An appeal court has confirmed a fine issued to director, actor and author Paulus Manker.

A theatregoer took the controversial artist to court for taking her mobile phone during a performance of “Alma – A Show Biz ans Ende” at the former Viennese telegraph office. The Russian woman said she had been unaware of the house rules disallowing the use of mobiles after trespassing the building where the acclaimed play was staged.

Manker was ordered to pay a fine of 3,200 Euros in first instance. The Viennese artist – who organised the performance of the acclaimed play in Italy, Israel and the United States among other countries – appealed the verdict. Manker claimed he did not take the woman’s phone. Now an appeal court confirmed the ruling, according to a report by the Kronen Zeitung from today (Weds).

Manker filed a lawsuit against a former employee of his theatre production for calling him a “bad person” on social networking website Facebook last November. The sound technician – who said in court Manker used to insult him at work – was ordered by judges in Vienna to pay a fine of 120 Euros. The sentence was suspended.

Manker told the press he decided to launch legal action against the 32-year-old man after he had found himself on a Facebook list of the least popular Austrians. It is unclear who created the ranking which also featured World War Two (WWII) Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler and convicted rapist and incest offender Josef Fritzl.

“Alma – A Show Biz ans Ende” was written by Joshua Sobol. Manker, who also starred in various television and cinema productions, is best known for his stage version of the play portraying Alma Mahler-Werfel. The late Viennese socialite was married to composer Gustav Mahler and had affairs with a whole slew of famous artists including painter Oskar Kokoschka. “Alma – A Show Biz ans Ende” is also popular for its lavish midnight dinner for the audience. The play had its world premiere in Vienna in 1996.

Manker received the audience prize at last year’s Nestroy Awards. He admitted being stunned by the honour. The son of late Volkstheater director Gustav Manker and stage legend Hilde Sochor actor said: “You will never find me speechless. But right now, I am as close to it as it can get.” Manker also criticised Social Democratic (SPÖ) Culture Minister Claudia Schmied for not attending the award ceremony which took place at the Burgtheater Vienna in November.