Seven Expressionist Plays

By Oskar Kokoschka, Franz Kafka, Ernst Barlach and Georg Kaiser et al.

Translated by J.M. Ritchie and H.F. Garten

ISBN: 9780714543437

201 pages

RRP: £10.39

This volume contains seven plays, written between 1906 and 1926, which demonstrate the basic forms, tenets and preoccupations of German Expressionist drama, which has been described as the forerunner of Absurdist theatre and is characterized by both visual and verbal violence. These plays, taken together, offer an excellent introduction to the entire movement.

Kokoschka’s Murderer; Hope of Womankind, for example, has that strong ritualistic quality which characterizes so many other Expressionist writings, and Stramm’s terrifying Awakening recalls the threatening absurdities of Ionesco’s theatre. With their visionary elements and their timeless quality, they speak as clearly to audiences today as they did at the time of their creation.

Oskar Kokoschka

Oskar Kokoschka (1886–1980) was an Austrian artist, poet and playwright.

Franz Kafka

Franz Kafka (1883–1924) was one of the giants of twentieth-century German literature. His stories, such as The Metamorphosis (1915), and novels, including The Trial (1925) and The Castle (1926), concern troubled individuals in a nightmarishly impersonal and bureaucratic world.

Ernst Barlach

Ernst Barlach (1870–1938) was a German expressionist sculptor, printmaker and writer.

Vince Cable

Vince Cable was MP for Twickenham for twenty years, retiring in 2019. He was Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills and President of the Board of Trade in the Coalition government between 2010 and 2015. He is the author of several acclaimed books, including the memoir Free Radical, the number-one bestseller The Storm, about the banking crisis, the novel Open Arms and, more recently, the non-fiction book Money and Power. He is a regular columnist for The Independent, and is married with three grown children.