The Physicists: A Comedy in Two Acts

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Grove Press, 2010 - 76 Seiten
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The Physicists is a provocative and darkly comic satire about life in modern times, by one of Europe's foremost dramatists and the author of the internationally celebrated The Visit. The world's greatest physicist, Johann Wilhelm Möbius, is in a madhouse, haunted by recurring visions of King Solomon. He is kept company by two other equally deluded scientists: one who thinks he is Einstein, the other who believes he is Newton. It soon becomes evident, however, that these three are not as harmlessly lunatic as they appear. Are they, in fact, really mad? Or are they playing some murderous game with the world as the stake? For Möbius has uncovered the mystery of the universe--and therefore the key to its destruction--and Einstein and Newton are vying for this secret that would enable them to rule the Earth. Added to this treacherous combination is the world-renowned psychiatrist in charge, the hunchbacked Mathilde von Zahnd, who has some diabolical plans of her own. With wry, penetrating humor, The Physicists probes beneath the surface of modern existence and, like Marat/Sade, questions whether it is the mad who are the truly insane.

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Über den Autor (2010)

Friedrich Durrenmatt was born in Switzerland in 1921 and has long been considered one of the world's leading German-language playwrights. His plays have received international acclaim, with The Visit, Romulus the Great, and The Physicists having been performed on Broadway and in major capitals throughout the world. Dürrenmatt's concerns are timeless, but they are also the product of his Swiss vantage during the cold war: his key plays explore such themes as guilt by passivity, the refusal of responsibility, greed and political decay, and the tension between justice and freedom. Durrenmatt died in December 1990.

Joel Agee is the author of two memoirs, Twelve Years: An American Boyhood in East Germany and In The House Of My Fear. His translations of Heinrich von Kleist's Penthesilea and Hans Erich Nossack's Der Untergang won the Helen and Kurt Wolff Prize and the Lois Roth Prize of the Modern Language Association, respectively. In 2007 he was a finalist for the Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize and received the Alta National Translation for his translation of the Selected Writings of Friedrich Dürrenmatt.

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