Der Besuch der alten Dame (The Old Lady's Visit)
Premièring 14 January, TheaterLübeck will present Der Besuch der alten Dame, a schauspiel written in 1956 by the Swiss playwright Friedrich Dürrenmatt (1921-1990) under the original title Komödie der Hochkonjunktur (Comedy of Business Prosperity), with music by Dietmar Staskowiak. Der Besuch der alten Dame received the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for best foreign play of 1958-59. The following is a synopsis of Der Besuch der alten Dame:
Money rules the world. But, unfortunately for the city of Güllen, it is bankrupt with little potential for improvement. A sponsor must be found. So, all hope is placed on the return of Claire Zachanassian, who is known throughout the world for her charity. She had earlier left Güllen without possessions and with an illegitimate child. Now a multi-billionaire, the old lady is ready to give her home town one billion. There is one condition — her faithless lover must be killed and placed at her feet. Initially, the people of Güllen are morally indignant; however, their greed is greater. In view of the ailing financial situation of numerous communities within Germany, the work is timely by presenting the question to what extent the alleged welfare of the community justifies the sacrifice of an individual.
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