Stanislawa Przybyszewski is recognized as a major twentieth-century playwright on the basis of her trilogy about the French Revolution, of which The Danton Case and Thermidor are the principal parts. The Danton Case depicts the battle for power between two exceptional individuals: the corrupt sentimental idealist, Danton, and the incorruptible genius of the Revolution, Robespierre. Thermidor shows the final playing out of this drama, as Robespierre, left alone with the heroic absolutist Saint-Just, foresees the ruin of himself and his cause, and in his despair predicts that hatred, war, and capitalism will steal the Revolution and corrupt nineteenth-century man.
In Purple Heart, Carla, a Vietnam War widow deep in drink and depression, is living with a troubled son and her controlling mother. One day a stranger arrives at the door, a soldier with one hand who is seemingly connected to her late husband and comes to offer condolences to the grieving family. The soldier's mysterious visit is solved in graphic and bloody detail at the end of the play. Norris uses these quirky and flawed characters to provide a humorous yet very dark view of war and the human condition.
Loosely based on a true story, The Infidel tells of a charismatic and well-respected state Supreme Court justice who is faced with disciplinary action after his out-of-control affair with a young Latina junior staffer. He confers with his friend and attorney as he examines the consequences of his behavior and tries to judge the most difficult case of his life-his own. With dark irony and sharp, cutting dialogue, Bruce Norris explores sexual obsession and the legislation of human behavior.
Two Plays of Weimar Germany offers new translations, by the renowned theater scholar and translator Laurence Senelick, of popular works by the playwright Ferdinand Bruckner: Youth Is a Sickness (Krankheit der Jugend) and Criminals (Die Verbrecher).
Though his fame was later eclipsed by peers such as Bertolt Brecht, Bruckner was the celebrity dramatist of his time, and a new generation of readers is discovering his groundbreaking plays known for their strong cultural critique and unflinching portrayals of social ills, outcasts, and misfits. Youth Is a Sickness (1924) explores the lives of Germany's "lost generation," those who grew up during and after the cataclysm of the First World War, devoid of hope and ideals, lost in a haze of sex and drugs. Criminals (1926) traces several court cases about a failed double suicide, theft, abortion, and homosexual blackmail, controversial topics for the audience of its time and even today. Its innovative staging and interwoven storylines illuminate the imposed social tensions and legal injustice faced by the characters.
In this expert translation, readers can see Bruckner as a public intellectual, a man committed to commenting on the fate of Germany; humane values; and the past, present, and future in his work. With an introduction by the translator, this volume will be the definitive version for readers, actors, playwrights, and scholars.