WORLD PREMIERE, LEITH THEATRE EDINBURGH, November 10 - 16, 2018
First published a hundred years ago, The Last Days of Mankind is one of the most important works by the uncompromising and fearless Austrian satirical writer Karl Kraus. The play was written in reaction to the horrors of the First World War and to highlight the widespread corruption and hypocrisy that brought an end to the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It used an innovative combination of textual collage, made up of quotations from political speeches, newspaper editorials and responses from the public, together with verse and comic interludes, to depict a society blithely marching on to its self-destruction and urged along all the way by big business, hapless diplomacy and a warmongering press. As an apocalyptic drama it is a fierce condemnation of events at the time, but has remained relevant ever since and has been adapted for stage and screen on many occasions. For the pan-European production at Edinburgh's Leith Theatre the Tiger Lillies were invited to perform alongside the actors, in a theatre space transformed into a turn-of-the-century Viennese cafe, and Martyn has also written new songs inspired by the biting sarcasm and absurdity, the black humour and inhumanity of the original.
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The Last Days of Mankind co-directed by Scottish director John Paul McGroarty and Yuri Birte Anderson from Theaterlabor Germany and performed by a European cast featuring actors from Scotland, Germany, Poland, Serbia, France, Ukraine, Poland, Ireland and England,