From the author
Inspired by Der Tod in Venedig (Death in Venice) at university, I couldn’t help reimagining the tale with Thomas Mann’s innocent Tadzio reappearing as the gay boy ‘Todd’, rampaging through Venice and getting up to mischief.
In Death in Venice Gustav Aschenbach cannot summon the courage to speak to the beautiful young Tadzio - here there are no holds barred and the characters follow their desires, but are they any the wiser?
Agnes, in Venice collecting masks and glassware, yearns after Todd, but is transitioning, (after living as a woman for many years) aided by the mysterious Doge. Todd Ash becomes her muse, yet seems to represent all she is leaving behind - in changing gender Agnes farewells elements of her past, seeking a new identity- beautiful, glittering, elusive, not on firm ground. It requires a death. Ominous gondolas glide over a potentially lethal sea of emotion. If even Agnes’ laconic best friend Michael Bark becomes sentimental, they risk drowning.
Agnes’ attempt to understand the significance of Todd is expressed through transliteration of German phrases, where the characters’ journey is shown to be strangely at the mercy of the text, such that Mann’s ‘Gustav Aschenbach oder von Aschenbach’ becomes ‘Good staff, Ash and Bark; oh dear, fond, Ash and Bark!’